First Sunflower

There are many things that I’m learning through our first year of having a real garden, and the over arching bit of knowledge is that if there is a rookie mistake to make with a garden… I’ve made most of them. Making the plot too large, over planting, watering at the wrong time of day, watering the wrong parts of the plant, planting tall plants that block sun light and water from shorter ones, and the list goes on. But I’ve been lucky that the garden is amazing and I’m having a blast feeding ourselves and extended family from our garden, as well as trying to figure out how to save our harvest for the upcoming months when the garden will be but a dream for next season. It’s been eye opening to realize how much I care for that little plot of ground. A plant suffers and I’m obsessed with figuring out why. Is it wrong that I’ve already started dreaming about next year’s garden? Probably…
In the meantime, we are moving fast to keep up with the plants and trying to be creative to make our favorite greens delicious for our 3 year old. Oy! I welcome any ideas.

20140728_153514For today I want to share the pictures of our first blooming sunflower. This one was right at my eye level when it bloomed, and I’m 6′ tall. The rest are all well over my head, which means they are of dinosaur proportions for Little Man. That is part of my inspiration for the garden for next year… a dinosaur part of the garden for Little Man to play in… We’ll have to see how it works out next spring.

CenterI love these flowers.  Not only do they dwarf me, but it’s one of those things where I’ve seen pictures of them for as long as I can remember yet I’ve never had one of my own.  I’ve seen them in bouquets and in the distance, but not growing in my own yard.  I love the bumble bees that dance around centers, and the way that the petals glow when back lit by the sun.  Now I’m starting to wonder if the seeds of this variety can be eaten…  Hmm, now I know my homework for the evening…

Retro Sunflower

12 thoughts on “First Sunflower

  1. Malinda

    I went to a garden recently that had a sunflower teepee with beans climbing up the sunflowers. With some hay or something on the ground in the inside, it made for a cool little hideaway. I am going to try it next year, I think.

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      That sounds so cool! Years ago (like Binghamton times, I think…) I’d read about someone making a sunflower playhouse in their backyard. Sunflowers were planted in a circle, and then as the sunflowers got to about 6 inches in height morning glory seeds were planted in between the sunflowers. As the sunflowers grew the morning glories were trained up and between their stalks. Then when the morning glories reached the top of the sunflowers string was attached between the flower heads to train the morning glories into a type of ceiling. I think I want to do something like that for Little Man next season, but use scarlet runner beans instead of morning glories. I hadn’t thought of the hay on the ground… That’s a great idea. 🙂 I love seeing your garden pics and posts!

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      Ha! 😉 Great. You know, I think I originally caught the gardening bug from you. I’d never heard of a salsa garden before you guys planted one. Now I’ve read of a pizza garden, and I’m “plotting” how to pull that one off. The example I read of was a 6 foot circle with wheat grass as the crust and then individual slices were all the different ingredients ranging from bell peppers to garlic, etc. I love the idea, but don’t want to sacrifice that much space. So, yes… more plotting about my plot.

      1. Mr. Bright Wings

        Garlic is an over-wintering vegetable. So you could do that without sacrificing its slice-worth of space. 🙂

      2. TheSheepAreOut Post author

        That’s one of the plants that I’m interested in planting for the winter. I just received an email from the city about which plants tend to do well here over the winter. I need to read it over again, but it sounds like my kale should be fine and I’ll likely replant some chard. It also looks like Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes) do well here. Now I just need to track some down for my garden.

  2. Megan

    Nanaimo Food Share has canning/preserving classes. Dehydrators are going in our neighborhood – there’s even a solar one at the neighbours! One poor neighbour was walking around with a giant bowl of cucumbers trying to give them away 🙂 Plant in successive weeks, to spread out the harvest. We have herbs if you need some (rosemary, chives, oregano).

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      I hadn’t heard about the preserving classes. Thanks for sharing that! I’ll have to check them out. Our farmer landlords just got a dehydrator, so I’ve been trying to think of ways to utilize that too. And I’ve now learned the wisdom of successive planting. We have an over abundance of greens (still), even after freezing a whole bunch. We’re going to do another freezing session soon, but I also want to see if Loaves and Fishes (or another food pantry type of organization) accepts fresh garden produce. I can easily drop off a couple of bulging bags of greens if they are. And thanks for the offer of fresh herbs. I might just be taking you up on that! 😉

  3. Mr. Bright Wings

    FYI, Marie, all sunflower variety seeds are edible. But some are better than others. And the smaller the seed, the less worth your time they are. One site gave the general rule of thumb that striped shelled seeds are good for eating, while shells without stripes are better for oil. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me since I’d think you’d want your oil to taste good.

    1. TheSheepAreOut Post author

      Hmmm… Interesting… All I know right now is that my gigantic sunflowers are starting to tip under the weight of their seed heads. I was just reading up on how to harvest the seeds, and tying the paper bags over the heads to save the harvest from the birds. Now I just need to find some place where I can get such large paper bags. Otherwise I’d have to use pillowcases, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. 🙂

      1. Mr. Bright Wings

        Are birds a problem for sunflowers in your area? They didn’t bother mine last year. Once the head bows down, it doesn’t go back up, and it’s hard for birds to get underneath it to get at the seeds. ‘Til they fall, anyway. But you can harvest them before they fall.

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