sunflowers/garden : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I planted a bunch of sunflowers this year. Most of them are "normal" but one has on it about 10 blossems in bloom now and at least 8 flower buds. The largest flower is 10"-12" in diameter, the rest smaller. Am I correct in believing that if we save the seed and plant them nxt yr we will likely get more sunflowers with multiple blossems?

BTW< Goat people---can I dry the flower heads and feed them whole to the goats?

-- john leake (, August 18, 2000


Thats one strange sunflower. We plant these every once in awhile actually was a gal on the west coast who had an article in Countryside and improved her goats pastures by spreading wild bird seed, that started us growing them. You simply cut the heads off and stack them in an insect free place to dry, to feed them just break them apart, heads, seeds, petals and all. My does love them. We plant the black oil sunflower seeds. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, August 19, 2000.

A few years ago I planted some black oil sunflowers that were sold as bird feed. Most of them had multiple flowers, but the biggest was 5" or 6". This year I've planted lots of them--also seed sold as bird feed. The only one that had more than one flower was one I accidently knocked the top off of. It had 3 or 4 small blooms.

I would guess that the multiple heads are probably genetic. You shouldn't have anything to lose by saving some seeds to plant. Cross pollinating may mean that next years crop goes back to singles heads, but if you save the seeds from it, the multiple heads may come back in other years.

BTW: I find sunflowers to be a very versatile plant. I plant them in flats, so tickly the seeds almost touch. From the time the first leaves turn green until the second set of true leaves grows, the plants can be used as a salad green. They get tough and unpleasant tasting quickly after that. I don't know of a quicker way to grow greens though. In good soil and with the right amount of water you can start thinning them out and get the first greens in less than a week. After they get too old for me to eat, I thin them out more and give them to the chickens--they love them. After they start getting even bigger, the thinnings go to the rabbits. I get grape boxes from the grocery store and line them with a plastic trash bag and fill with 5" or so of good dirt. Works great for sunflowers and other greens.

-- paul (, August 20, 2000.

I recently read an article about how much dairy cow production was increased by mixing corn and sunflower silage. It seems that it was in Small Farm Today Magizine,but I cant find it now. It was really interesting, the production went up by quite a lot. I believe they talked about alternating sunflowers and corn as row crops. I just wondered how they would use the stalks, they are so thick and heavy. If by just chopping them they would be edible. I think they were using large head sunflowers too, not the small multiples.

Tami in WI

-- Tami Bowser (, August 20, 2000.

Absolutely save the seed! I had a "sport" that did this over 20 years ago. I saved the seed, and did so selectively for several years. I now have a sunflower that produces a main head of about 10 to 12 inches, and up to 50 smaller heads that are 2 to 4 inches. Nearly got a grower to buy it from me. I have seeds if anyone wants some, but cannot fill more than a couple of dozen orders. GL!

-- Brad (, August 21, 2000.

I can't believe how well my sunflowers grew this year. They are at least ten feet tall if not taller. I brought a picture to work of me standing in front of them and one lady swore that I had a doctored picture and they weren't really that tall. Another lady said she was afraid of my sunflowers because they were towering over me so much they looked like they were going to grab me. I can hardly wait to pick the flowers and harvest the seeds to fill my birdfeeders for the winter. Yippee.

-- Colleen (, August 22, 2000.

I planted about 1/4 to 1/3 of a 50# bag of sunflower "bird" feed in a plot just east of the house this year - wanted something pretty to look at. Not only were the sunflowers beautiful while they were blooming; but they are full of bees and butterflies and goldfinches and mourning doves - and a whole bunch of other birds. I had some heads up to 12" across (not counting petals) and others with smaller or multiple heads.

My buddy, Mike, tells me that I can harvest them with the bean head on his combine. I may just leave them standing for the wildlife - not too sure, as I want to plant sweet corn in that spot next year... I cut off a head and toss in the chicken coop - boy do the girls fight over that!!

I read somewhere that sunflowers have alleopathic (I think that's the word) properties - that they exude something from their roots to discourage other plants from growing around them. I have to admit that the part of the field that they're in sure is clean of weeds. I've got an old strawberry patch that grew up in weeds this year (Pop wouldn't plow it down this spring - "We might get a berry or two off those plants"), that Unc plowed up the other day - I'm planning to put sunflowers in there. Maybe it'll help clear out some of the weeds.

Pop is threatening to put all our tillable ground (maybe 18-20 acres) in sunflowers - says you can't make any money on anything else and at least they're nice to look at! Don't know of an elevator around here that accepts them, and we don't have a bin and can't afford to buy one, though. I'm thinking maybe winter wheat into hay on the tillable ground, but I'm going to keep a big patch of sunflowers growing up near the house from now on, just for the birds.

-- Polly (, August 22, 2000.

ohh Brad can I have a couple seeds? Have a small back yard so 3 or 4 would be great.

-- kathy h (, August 25, 2000.

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