For several years I planted sunflowers in our raised bed. But my gardening skills weren’t equal to the task, and the plants didn’t grow at all. Nevertheless, sunflowers came to mind again with an episode of “Off Grid with Doug and Stacy.” In this episode below, Stacy shows us how to plant sunflower seeds in a snowbank. (Snowbank? Yes, apparently the seeds are fine sprouting under snow. Besides, that way the crows won’t get them all.) Stacy adds in minute 6:16 that the leaves are edible for various uses. The clip adds that the plants condition the soil; then after the flowers grow, the stems can be dried and used next year as tomato stakes.
(Here’s Stacy! And her sunflowers!
Well, that sounded like a good reason for giving this another try. Sunflowers grow fast and are very showy. That is what the neighbors like to watch, and neighbors are the whole point of having a garden.
So last week I went to our neighbor who feeds goldfinches. She very kindly donated a whole cupful of seeds for the garden. They soaked in a bowl of water overnight. Then the seeds spent four days in a covered strainer with frequent gentle misting with water. After four days there was no sign of life. It was disappointing to conclude that they must have been specially treated to keep them from sprouting.
But on Day 5, the first day of spring, all of the seeds showed white shoots:
Then yesterday, Safeway supermarket observed the first day of spring with an especially pretty bright display — a whole wall of sunflowers. Here is just one little snippet.
The Safeway flower display grew a whole new idea. One news story mentioned that in Ukraine there are now 10 million displaced people. Well, what if any of those people come to our town, and even to our own apartment complex? What if they see sunflowers growing, and it makes this new home look even a tiny bit more welcoming?
Well, that alone would make it worthwhile to try and learn how to grow these flowers. So yesterday in a nice healthy rain I took 40 of those sprouts and planted them in a row all along the whole bed. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I noticed a quart of special succulent/cactus potting soil, donated by Miss Rose, and a large seedling flat donated by Captain Wing. So the next 40 sprouts went into those flats, covered with misted paper towels. If they grow, I’ll take them around to the neighbors and offer to plant them outside their doors. What if they actually grow? What if we could have sunflowers all around the apartments?
We’ll see. Day at a time. That’s what gardening is all about.