Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunflowers find new homes

On Monday we repotted the sunflowers and sent them home with each child.
Sunflower growing instructions

In a hot summer it can take only 60 days from sowing the sunflower seeds to the flowers blooming! How tall can you grow yours?

You can either plant your seeds directly into the garden from April or, to get really tall plants you could plant them earlier indoors – anytime from March onwards. This is what we did in our school. The weather however was very cold at times in April and early May. This stunted the growth of our seedlings and indeed everything in the garden.

To sow outdoors
Sow thinly, 12 mm (1/2 inch) deep in drills 30cm (12 inches) apart

The soil should be well composted and raked finely

Germination takes only 21 days

When large enough to handle – thin the seedlings to 30cm (12 inches) apart

To sow indoors – for earlier flowering
Use 7.5cm (3inch) pots (yoghurt pots would be ideal) and a good sowing compost

Plant one seed per pot – about one inch deep

Add some water to the pot

Cover with polythene to retain the heat

Remove the cover when leaves appear

Instructions for Children Replanting the Sunflowers
When the seedlings are large enough to be handled re-pot them, or plant them outside when all risk of frost has passed. The seedlings would prefer to be acclimatised gradually to life outside. They prefer a sunny open site, but will grow in most sites and soils.

To really thrive they will need plenty of direct sun and good drainage

When the 2nd set of leaves appear you can feed them once a week for three weeks and then once a fortnight

All your sunflower plants will need to be staked, and tied so that they grow tall and strong. To do this, tie them every six inches with soft ties with bamboo stick or similar.

Remember – your plants can grow up to 12 inches every day

Happy growing!