3/20 Sunflower Project

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:

Sunflower seeds, sprouting and on the march

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 local grocery store has a real gift with sunflower displays

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.

About maryangelis

Hello Readers! (= Здравствуйте, Читатели!) The writer lives in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths and the English and Russian languages, working in an archive by day and writing at night. Her walk in the world is normally one human being and one small detail after another. Then she goes home and types about it all until the soup is done.
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12 Responses to 3/20 Sunflower Project

  1. wendyrud says:

    Love this! I was just sharing with someone who is struggling right now some quotes from Dr. Clarissa P. Estes’ “Notes to a young Activist.” Her words have heartened me through the years and they apply now more than ever as we “remember who we serve.”
    “…Stand up and show your soul: Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

    “What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale…”

    Your blog is always a good reminder and inspiration to me (who wants to “fix the entire world”) that small loving gestures can add up if enough of us “listen to a voice greater…[and remember that] to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater…”

    Namaste and blessings,
    Wendy

    • maryangelis says:

      Dear Wendy, That’s it, exactly! I’ve never read any of her books, but just placed a hold on some from our library. Thank you very much for pointing out her work to me. Very very nice!

  2. Wonderful, I hope they keep growing. 😀

    • maryangelis says:

      Dear Violet, why hello! Yes, Day 10 and they are soldiering on, a good lesson to me right in the kitchen. Today is Launch Day to carry the front runners out to dirt. Vegan Comics! How interesting!

      • Thank you! 😀 Good luck with the front runners.

      • maryangelis says:

        Violet, hello, and Thank you! Alas, all the valiant front runners were pulled up and eaten, probably by a squirrel. That’s family farming — heartache is part of the journey. Will need to devise some other idea. Well, the year is young. Nature will find a way. Best wishes, Mary

      • Ooo, what a shame. At least someone enjoyed them. 😀 I hope you have a nice time deciding what to plant next. 😀

      • maryangelis says:

        Dear Violet, hello and thank you for your very gracious greeting! It turns out that small nesting sparrows and juncoes enjoyed eating the first tender sunflower leaves. Now I’m raising 10 plants indoors on the windowsill and will plant them later. First it would make sense to sprout more seeds for the sparrows. Our songbirds need all the help they can get. Blessed day! M

      • Aw, how lovely that the sparrows and juncoes like them so much! That’s a great idea, sprouting them inside, and also a wonderful idea to plant more especially for the birds! 😀

      • maryangelis says:

        You know, it was a good lesson for me. After all, our wild birds are really not used to a year-round supply of premium high-oil-content sunflower seeds. That is a whole new factor in their ecological balance. What they REALLY need is dead trees and shrubby corners, so they can get the full range of bugs and grubs and such. Hopefully when I sprout the seeds indoors they will get a little more nutritional variety? It sure would be nice if folks would keep their cats indoors. Sigh… I hope you have some nice birds to watch too. 🙂

      • Sorry Mary, only just found your reply. Yes we do, thank you. Lots of lovely ducks hang out here, and pigeons and seagulls, and the occasional swan 🙂

      • maryangelis says:

        Dear Miz Violet, I just took a look at your blog! Especially the banana bread 3 ingredient recipe with no oil. You might, maybe-ish, like knowing that during the long days of Russian Orthodox Lent, the womenfolk bake banana bread using no oil. (The Orthodox fast from all animal products and all oils and fats for 150 days a year, so banana bread with no oil comes as quite a treat.) Anyway, what a sweet and gentle blog!

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