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Colossal Sunflower Contest Williamsburg Farmer’s Market!

by | Apr 22, 2011

Want to grow the biggest and best Sunflowers ever?

Follow my tips to win!

•    Plant your seeds after the soil has warmed up- sunflower seeds do not sprout when they are cold. In the Williamsburg area I would say May 15 or later.

•    Enrich the soil deeply with lots of organic matter. Compost and/or dehydrated manures (all available at your local independent garden centers). I would work in 3-6″ of organic matter and break open the subsoil so the roots can go deep for water and nutrients.

•    Mix in some dry organic fertilizer while preparing the soil- sunflowers are heavy feeders- they love organic fertilizers. View ours

•    Plant your seeds in a large depression to make watering chores easier. I would make a dinner plate size depression and plant one seed in the center.

•    Plant seeds 24″ or more apart for maximum flower size. Cover with 1/4-1/2″ of soil. Water in well.

•    To protect seeds and seedlings from rabbits, squirrels and the drying wind, cover your seeds with a floating row cover for  the first 3-4 weeks. Floating Row Cover Information

•    If not covered with row cover- water daily. With a row cover you may be able to water every 2-3 days. Water when the soil is dry.

•    Install a strong stake (galvanized pipe, rebar, other really strong material) 8-10′ tall. Pound into the ground two feet deep next to your young seedlings. Attach the sunflower using plant velcro, panty hose or other material to the stake as it grows. The sunflower stalk can grow to 3-5″ in diameter, it will be thick and incredible heavy at 12 feet- this is why you need the stake next to each. It only takes one late afternoon rain storm in August to knock over your beauty.

•    In addition to the dry organic fertilizer added at planting, we water with fish fertilizer weekly according to directions on the bottle. Sunflowers are like teenage boys- hungry all the time!

•    Mulch your seedlings once they are over 12-15″ tall to preserve moisture, prevent weeds and protect roots and keep them cool in the heat of summer.

•    Water once weekly, deeply after the plants reach 24”.

Good Luck and I hope you win!!! Enjoy your sunflowers!