Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunflower - Ring Of Fire

Sunflower - Ring Of Fire
Helianthus annuus
These beautiful flowers greet the morning sun with gleaming bicolored petals that are dark red toward the center and tipped golden yellow outside. They are visually striking in the garden and in a vase in your home. The 5-6 inch diameter flowers grow on long side stems, perfect for tall arrangements. Grows a manageable 4 feet tall. Germination code: (4)

Seed Depth: 1/2"
Soil Temp for Germination: 65-75°
Days to Germination: 7-14
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Thin Plants to: 10"-18"

Helianthus annuus: Sunflowers are impressive both in the field and in the vase, and the seeds make for pleasant eating; at least the birds think so!

CULTURE: All sunflowers do best in areas with full sun. Sow seeds April through May. Optimum soil temperature: 65-75°F. Days to germination: 7-14. Sow 1/2 inch deep, 3-4 inches between plants, and 30 inches between rows. Thin to 12-18 inches, leaving the strongest plants. To promote deep roots and strong stems, water deeply but infrequently. One to two cups of our complete fertilizer per 10 row feet in the spring is adequate for the year. Over fertilization may cause stems to break in the fall.
DISEASE AND PESTS: Watch for cutworms and weevils in the spring. A Rotenone powder, dusted or sprayed, works well for control. Avoid wetting the foliage to help prevent rust. Bird netting will discourage birds.
HARVEST: Cut flowers in the morning just after they open. Use a clean knife, a clean vase, and a few drops of chlorine bleach in the water, along with Floralife Cut Flower Food, to help maintain freshness. Cutting the mature central flower head will promote side-shoot flower production. Black-hulled sunflower seeds, like Sunseed, are a favorite with seed-eating birds. Harvest the heads when the bracts begin to shrivel, and hang the flowers upside down in a barn or shed. For seed-eating gardeners, gray and white striped sunflower seeds, such as Giganteus, are the leading choice for munching raw, or roasted and salted. Harvest these the same way.
SALTING: When dry, rub the seeds off the heads and soak overnight in 1 gallon of water with 1 cup of salt added. Drain, and then dry in a 250°F oven for 4-5 hours and store in an airtight container."

PURCHASED: .5g from Territorial Seed Co. via Portland Nursery for $2.70
STARTED SEED: Good Friday 04/10/09.

2008 Garden Pictures:



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