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sunflower in Mel's Mix

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sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  jimmy cee on 10/23/2015, 10:04 am

This sunflower grew to be over 8 foot high, the main flower after cutting off weighed 4 1/2 lbs.When I tried to remove it by pulling out of the mix I would have pulled at least 4 squares with it. Since peppers were around, I decided to cut it with a saw. This sunflower was not supported by anything. I may try one in the middle of the bed next season
Mel's Mix is amazing.







Middle of the stem was filled with bugs eating away..

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Zmoore on 10/23/2015, 10:28 am

WHOA!
That things a monster.  Awesome Smile
I've thought a couple times about trying sunflowers, mostly for the birds, but then I remember we have 5 cats, so it would become a cat feeder and I don't want that.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  trolleydriver on 10/23/2015, 11:30 am

Wow jimmy that is quite the sunflower.

We grew sunflowers in our regular (non-sfg) garden this summer. One morning as the seed heads were reaching maturity, we came out of the house to find that some creature (I expect squirrels) had removed all of the seed heads and they were nowhere to be found.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 10/23/2015, 2:11 pm

Nice!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/23/2015, 2:33 pm

Heck of a stalk there.

I wouldn't plant sunflowers in my beds. They can give off chemicals into the soil that hurt other plants.

Also, a while back someone here -- capecoddess maybe? -- showed us her sunflowers growing out of the holes in her cinderblocks. So apparently they don't need much to still get big and beautiful. A prime spot in your MM beds may be overkill for their needs.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/23/2015, 4:09 pm

nope, wasn't me, but I remember that.
thinking

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Mikesgardn on 10/23/2015, 5:48 pm

Yeah, sunflowers don't need to be in a SFG.  I plant sunflowers as a border along my neighbor's fence.   I use peat pots.  I simply plant one seed in a small peat pot filled with mel's mix.  Then I just use a bulb planter to just remove enough soil in my yard to set the peat pot in.  I set the peat pot in the hole, and space them about 12" apart.  My yard is all clay,and they still do pretty well.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/23/2015, 10:23 pm

@Mikesgardn wrote:Yeah, sunflowers don't need to be in a SFG.  I plant sunflowers as a border along my neighbor's fence.   I use peat pots.  I simply plant one seed in a small peat pot filled with mel's mix.  Then I just use a bulb planter to just remove enough soil in my yard to set the peat pot in.  I set the peat pot in the hole, and space them about 12" apart.  My yard is all clay,and they still do pretty well.

Good to know, Mikesgarden, I lost 3 packets of various sunflowers to ??? who knows...direct seeded into front (clay) perennial garden. They just disappeared....not one made it. Volunteers from my birdfeeder made it of course, just not my pretty big colorful varieties. Peat pots to the rescue. Again!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  jimmy cee on 10/23/2015, 10:43 pm

My main purpose for listing this was the ability of this flower to stand alone in 6 inches of Mel's Mix.
I only tried it as an experiment as I had a few open squares. It didn't seem to affect the peppers next to it, although I also planted 4 peppers to a square. The could have been better, and could have been worse.
Remember, when I tried to pull it out, it raised  4 squares away in one direction, thus the need for cutting it.
Lots out there question the 6 inches, I did when I first read the book, however it wasn't long before that question dissolved in my mind, even before I planted.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  trolleydriver on 10/23/2015, 10:49 pm

SR ... when we plant sunflower seeds we have to protect them with mini cages (chicken wire) to prevent the squirrels, etc., from digging them up.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  jimmy cee on 10/23/2015, 10:54 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:SR ... when we plant sunflower seeds we have to protect them with mini cages (chicken wire) to prevent the squirrels, etc., from digging them up.
I have many squirrels along with chipmunks, they go after that seed buried below, they smell it.. I have squirrels and chipmunks in my neighborhood trained not to enter my garden area....

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 10/24/2015, 2:21 am

I think Brainchasm in Las Vegas grew tall sunflowers in 6" of MM.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  FamilyGardening on 10/24/2015, 4:39 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:Heck of a stalk there.

I wouldn't plant sunflowers in my beds. They can give off chemicals into the soil that hurt other plants.  

Also, a while back someone here -- capecoddess maybe? -- showed us her sunflowers growing out of the holes in her cinderblocks.  So apparently they don't need much to still get big and beautiful.  A prime spot in your MM beds may be overkill for their needs.
HI Marc I believe that was me Very Happy last year in 2014 we planted sunflowers up front in our new SFG herb beds......

here is the top of the beauty!



second half Smile



close up of the bottom of the sunflower



happy gardening
rose.....who has heard of sunflowers producing something in the soil that can interfere with growth of other plants but so far....tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, onions, peas, cole crops, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, radishes & sorrel, have all grown fine in areas that have had or are growing sunflowers...there could be a link to carrots though....so far in our son's container carrots refuse to grow well after sunflowers have grown in that container....??....but I cant say for sure that sunflowers is the problem..... Wink


Jimmy....that sunflower is AWESOME!!! .....I love seeing how thick those stalks can get!!!....but the worms....yuck!....I wonder if my hens notice those when we give them the flower heads & stalks....may have hubby cut one open next time! Razz

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/24/2015, 8:21 am

Rose, I love that idea! And maybe the cinder block protects the rest of the bed from the chemicals?

OK, Jimmy, how do you train your squirrels to stay away from your garden, do tell? I have a whole herd of squirrels, grays, and they are cute but do eat my seeds and get all into my birdfeeder all winter long. I even feed them corn cobs in a holder!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/24/2015, 8:22 am

@trolleydriver wrote:SR ... when we plant sunflower seeds we have to protect them with mini cages (chicken wire) to prevent the squirrels, etc., from digging them up.

I believe it, TD. They are tenacious!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  AtlantaMarie on 10/24/2015, 9:15 am

Jimmy (and all), thanks for posting this.  

I was considering putting sunflowers in the corners that are hard to get to, but think I'll do 5-gal buckets or in the ground instead...  I do NOT want to have to pull roots from the things out of 4 squares....!

And it looks great, btw, Jimmy.

What I'm planning on is that when the flower forms, I'm going to go ahead & cover it with a muslin bag so the squirrels & birds can't get to it.  I'll make it big enough so that it can spread as normal.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/25/2015, 4:37 am

@FamilyGardening wrote:
HI Marc I believe that was me Very Happy last year in 2014 we planted sunflowers up front in our new SFG herb beds......

You were my second choice? Oh, this time-addled brain ... Knew it was a femme, knew cinderblocks ... and that was the end of the knowing.

Pretty great results from such restricted circumstances. Because of your pics, I bought some sunflower seeds a couple months ago to try next year. They seem like such fun plants.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Scorpio Rising on 10/25/2015, 9:20 am

Interestingly, my volunteer sunflowers from the birdfeeder weren't the big flower type, just yellow, one had a fairly big flower onit though...these were MAGNETS for the honeybees, especially the honeybees, and other pollenators. I was really surprised by that!

Then, the goldfinches came and helped to pick the seed head clean, it was pretty cool to watch the plant's contribution to the ecosystem. Good ole volunteers Very Happy

I am definitely planting more next year! Maybe I can get some bargain seeds....

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 7/17/2016, 2:52 am

I have some sunflowers that seem to be forming flower buds, mostly at the top, but some at the leaf nodes along the main stem. If I remove some of the flowers, can I get larger flowers to showcase over the top of the fence? It will be interesting removing them this fall from what some of you have written!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Judy McConnell on 7/19/2016, 10:13 am

I'm "doing" sunflowers for the first time this year so have no direct experience in removing side buds to form larger terminal flowers but I did find a couple of articles where this does produce larger terminal flowers:

"Some gardeners prefer to remove side shoots to direct energy into producing one large terminal flower. Stake these plants individually. Others prefer to grow shorter, broader plants that produce multiple, smaller flowers. To do this, pinch out the growing point when the plants reach 1m high. With dwarf cultivars pinch out the terminal bud when they reach 0.5m. Traditionally, pinching was practised where sunflowers were bedded out in island beds in lawns, or at the back of mixed perennial borders. For extended flower displays, regularly remove dead flowers."


The above came from:
https://www.organicgardener.com.au/blogs/super-sunflowers

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 7/19/2016, 2:02 pm

Judy, Thanks for replying. I just was just wondering if anyone on the Forum did it without bad results, like the plant falling over!

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  Judy McConnell on 7/20/2016, 8:43 am

I've had to stake mine to keep them from falling over.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 7/20/2016, 9:03 am

Thanks for the warning. They are next to a rail if I have to tie them to it.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  sanderson on 7/27/2016, 3:14 am

So far, total success with these Lemon Queen seeds that Baker was giving away as Free Gift!  I removed the 2nd and 3rd flower buds wanting the top flower to be big. Some kind of wanna-bees were going crazy. They looked like bees, but were pretty zippy. The tallest are about 9' tall, and today I was able to see them looming over the fence when we drove down the side street.

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Re: sunflower in Mel's Mix

Post  AtlantaMarie on 7/27/2016, 8:44 am

Great way to fill that space, Sanderson!

Are you going to eat them or leave them for the birds?

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