SUNFLOWERS

I just fell in love with sunflowers 3 years ago. I got some seeds for tall ones, short ones, red ones, orange ones, you name it. On a lark I put them in my raised garden beds just for visual interest. I was thrilled to see gold finches feeding on them for the better part of last summer so of course I needed to add even more this year.

Last year I saved many of the seeds so that I could plant oodles of them this year. I planted some early in the veggie beds, and saved most of them for a couple of projects, one being a sunflower house and another being to plant them all around the perimeter of the pony pasture fence. Well the tiller broke at the most inopportune time and was gone for 3 weeks at the shop. The fence planting still hasn’t occurred, and the sunflower house was planted late.

I was glad to see that just a couple of days after the first sunflower blooms appeared, so did the butterflies. This one was so drunk on the nectar he was sucking up that he let me get my camera less than a foot from him.

The green beans are happily climbing the sunflower stalks

This year I had an official REASON for planting sunflowers in the veggie beds: to create a “pole” that the green beans can climb. Here’s a photo – can you see the beans hanging down from the vine that’s entwined around the sunflower stalk?

(I’m also trying to grow black-eyed peas on a few corn stalks that are mixed in amongst the squash – the “3 sisters” method of companion planting – but without much success; the monster squash plants shaded the corn and has stunted its growth.

Now, just a week later, some of the sunflowers have reached better than 10′ tall. Stupid me, if those beans climb to the top of the sunflowers there’s not a chance I’ll be able to reach them. However, I’m always pleased when a plan comes together.

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