Archive for gardening
Description: Another Fall favorite are roasted sunflower seeds. In the past year or so, they have become the rage. You find them everywhere, ball games, parties, outdoor activities or just an evening snacks. Such a great taste. It’s hard to believe how something this good can also be good for you.
|1 cup||Sunflower Seeds|
Note: For salt free sunflower seeds, rinse seeds and go straight to step # 7.
- Add water and salt in a pot or saucepan.
- Rinse sunflower seeds and remove any plant and flowerhead matter.
- Add sunflower seeds.
- Bring water to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
- Simmer 1 to 1/1/2 hours.
- Drain on a paper towel until dry. Do not rinse.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spread seeds on a cookie sheetand bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Stir frequently.
- Remove from oven when they turn slightly brown.
How To Grow Sunflowers
How To Grow Sunflowers
Charles T. Behnke
Sunflower is the common seed name for the genus Helianthus. The sunflower is native to North America, and was used by early North American Indians for food and pressed to make hair oil. Meal from processed seed has been used for livestock feed. Today, whole seeds are used for oil, bird seed and snacks. The seeds are a rich source of calcium plus 11 other minerals. The 50 percent fat composition is mostly polyunsaturated linoleic acid.
As a garden plant, the sunflower is valuable for forming a background screen. A rapid grower, it reaches a height of 8 to 12 feet in rich soil.
This rapid growth could cause competition with other garden plants, especially by shading. Sunflowers can be planted between groups of shrubs, particularly where these form a background. For smaller gardens, the multi-branched species are more suitable. Dwarf forms of 24 inches in height make a spectacular bed by themselves.
When growing sunflowers for bird food or human consumption, select the confectionery types over the oil types.
Sunflowers do best when grown on soils with adequate water-holding capacity, internal drainage and proper fertility. They will tolerate a wide range of soil types; however, one that is too high in nitrogen encourages excessive plant growth that will check maturity of the flower heads. Adequate levels of phosphorus and potassium are recommended, and, as with any garden activity, frequent soil tests are recommended to get good results. The plant’s roots go deep and spread extensively, so the sunflower can withstand some drought and nearby cultivation. Sunflowers should not be water stressed during the critical period; about 20 days before and after flowering.
Plant seed into moistened soil one to two inches deep, but no deeper than three inches. Space seed 12 inches apart in rows spaced 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart. Plants grown for large heads should be spaced farther apart or scattered around the garden.
In Ohio, planting can take place from early to mid-May. Seed bed soil temperature must be between 42 and 50 degrees F with temperatures above 50 degrees F preferable for germination to occur rapidly. Depending on variety and environmental factors, germination will occur in 7 to 12 days. Plants will mature in 80 to 90 days.
For the home situation, seed can be started in four-inch peat pots and transplanted outdoors. Transplants may grow taller and flower sooner than seed started plants. They should start to flower in ten weeks.
Weeds can be a problem for sunflowers. Weed control is practiced for the first four to five weeks after seed emergence. For the home garden, hand weeding and mulching are the best methods.
A common disease of sunflowers is Sclerotina or white mold, which causes stalk and head rots. Disease spores can live for many years in the soil. Other common diseases are downy mildew, rust and verticillium wilt. Sanitation and crop rotation should be considered for control in the home garden.
The sunflower head moth is the major insect pest. The moth attacks at flowering time with the larvae feeding on floral parts and tunneling through developing seed. Aphids and whiteflies also can be a problem.
Birds can be troublesome near harvest time. Seeds are exposed and the large flower head serves as a feeding perch. To deter birds, use frightening devices and human activity in the immediate area before damage is expected. Flower heads can be covered with plastic netting or cheesecloth.
Harvest begins in mid-September and can run into October. A check of the flower head will indicate maturity; florets in the center of the flower disk are shriveled, heads are downturned, and a lemon yellow color is on the backside. Pull a few seeds and split them with a knife to check if seed meat has filled. Poorly filled seeds may be due to a lack of pollinating insects.
To harvest, cut the seed head with about a foot of stem attached and hang in a warm, dry, well-ventilated, rodent and insect-free place. A paper bag with holes or cheesecloth can be placed over the heads to catch falling seeds as they drop during drying. Seed heads can be allowed to ripen on the plant, but cheesecloth or nylon netting will be needed for bird protection. Once the seed is dried, it can be rubbed easily from seed heads. Humidity levels must be kept low to prevent spoilage.
Raw mature seeds may easily be prepared at home by covering unshelled seeds with salted water (2 qts. of water to 1/4 to 1/2 cups salt). Bring to a boil and simmer two hours or soak in a salt solution overnight. Drain and dry on absorbent paper.
Put sunflower seeds in a shallow pan in a 300 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Take out of oven and add one teaspoon of melted butter or margarine to one cup of seeds. Stir to coat. Put on an absorbent towel. Salt to taste.
Common Sunflower (H. annuus) – Includes the cultivars H. bismarkianus‘s, single yellow flower, 6 to 8 feet tall; H. citrinus, primrose yellow flowers, 6 to 8 feet tall; H. giganteus, Russian Giant, large, single yellow flower grown mainly for seeds, 10 to 12 feet tall.
Silverleaf Sunflower (H. argophyllus) – Stems and leaves covered with silky gray down, especially on younger growth. Flowers golden with purplish brown center, plants 5 to 6 feet tall. Silvery leaves used in fresh and dried flower arrangements.
Cucumberleaf Sunflower (H. debilis) -Four-foot plants with multiple branches. Excellent for cutting. Three-inch flowers have a purple disk and yellow rays.
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet Horticulture and Crop Science 2021 Coffey Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43210-1086
N.D. mulling bill to control blackbirds
| 3/22/2007, 1:44 a.m. EDT
By BLAKE NICHOLSON
The Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Demand for healthier sunflower oil for potato chip frying is spurring a debate about whether millions of blackbirds should die to make it easier to raise the crop.
Demand is rising for NuSun, a sunflower variety that produces oil with less saturated fat and no trans fat, said John Sandbakken, international marketing director for the National Sunflower Association. Saturated and trans fats help clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
One reason for NuSun’s increased popularity is the decision by the Frito-Lay snack food company to use NuSun oil to cook its major brands of potato chips, Sandbakken said. The company announced the switch in May 2006, and sunflower plantings need to rise by 600,000 acres next year to meet the new demand, he said.
But a roadblock to increased sunflower production is blackbirds, which feast on the oilseed crop.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the birds cause about $10 million in damage each year to sunflowers in North Dakota, which produces about half of the nation’s sunflower output. Last year’s North Dakota sunflower crop was valued at $158 million.
The North Dakota Legislature is considering a bill to spend $79,500 to help in a federal effort to control blackbirds. One of the methods would involve baiting and killing the birds.
“We’re looking for any and all possible silver bullets out there to deal with this problem,” Sandbakken said.
State Sen. Terry Wanzek, a Jamestown Republican, saidhe once grew sunflowers, but hasn’t done so in a decade because blackbirds can eat away a farmer’s profit.
“We’ve surrendered,” he said. “The birds won.”
The money would pay for part-time workers, hired by the North Dakota Agriculture Department, who would help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency with blackbird
The project would include common methods, including noise cannons that scare the blackbirds, as well as a new one — poisoning blackbirds with bait along gravel roads. The birds land on gravel roads to get the grit their gizzards need to help digest food.
Supporters of using poisoned bait say other control methods only move blackbirds from one field to another, while opponents say the poison will kill more than just blackbirds.
Research in Louisiana and Texas of a similar blackbird baiting method in rice fields found that mourning doves and meadowlarks were most affected of all non-targeted birds. Both birds are prevalent in North Dakota, and the western meadowlark is the state bird.
“The chemical will interact with mourning doves and meadowlarks in Texas identically to a meadowlark and mourning dove in North Dakota,” said Kevin Johnson, an environmental contaminant specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency, which has opposed blackbird baiting programs in the past, does not take positions on state legislation, spokesman Ken Torkelson said.
The National Audubon Society is opposing the bill, said state director Genevieve Thompson.
“It just seems like a more integrated approach that does use nonlethal methods does make more sense,” she said.
George Linz, a research wildlife biologist at USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center in Bismarck, said blackbird control involves methods which include noise cannons; removing cattails, which provide habitat for blackbirds; and seeding small “decoy” sunflower plots to draw birds away from larger fields.
Poisoning migratory birds is illegal, but Fish and Wildlife allows the killing of blackbirds without an agency permit if the birds are damaging or are about to damage crops, Johnson said.
The blackbird baiting program would include monitoring of other bird species. Linz said the bait would be put in trays, using woven wire to screen out pheasants, doves and other birds.
Sun Flowers from Wikipedia
the free encyclopedia
The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant in the family Asteraceae, with a large flower head (inflorescence). The stem of the flower can grow up to 3 metres tall, with the flower head reaching 30 cm in diameter. The term “sunflower” is also used to refer to all plants of the genus Helianthus, many of which are perennial plants.
What is usually called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous flowers (florets) crowded together. The outer flowers are the ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors, and are sterile. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets.
The florets within this cluster are arranged spirally. Typically each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in 1 direction and 55 in the other; on a very large sunflower you may see 89 in one direction and 144 in the other.
Sunflowers in the bud stage exhibit heliotropism. At sunrise, the faces of most sunflowers are turned towards the east. Over the course of the day, they move to track the sun from east to west, while at night they return to an eastward orientation. This motion is performed by motor cells in the pulvinus, a flexible segment of the stem just below the bud. As the bud stage ends, the stem stiffens and the blooming stage is reached.
Sunflowers in the blooming stage are not heliotropic anymore. The stem has frozen, typically in an eastward orientation. The stem and leaves lose their green color.
The wild sunflower typically does not turn toward the sun; its flowering heads may face many directions when mature. However, the leaves typically exhibit some heliotropism.
Cultivation and uses
Sunflowers are native to the Americas, and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. The Incas used the sunflower as an image of their sun god. Gold images of the flower, as well as seeds, were taken back to Europe early in the 16th century.
Sunflower “whole seed” (fruit) is sold as snacks and can be processed into a peanut butter alternative, Sunbutter, especially in China, the United States, the Middle East and Europe. In Russia it is probably the most wide spread snack. It is also sold as food for birds and can be used directly in cooking and salads.
Sunflower oil, extracted from the seeds, is used for cooking (but is less cardiohealthy than olive oil), as a carrier oil and to produce biodiesel, for which it is less expensive than the olive product.
The cake remaining after the seeds have been processed for oil is used as a livestock feed. Some recently developed cultivars have drooping heads. These cultivars are less attractive to gardeners growing the flowers as ornamental plants, but appeal to farmers, because they reduce bird damage and losses from some plant diseases. There are also new breeds of sunflowers which are transgenic, so that they are resistant to some diseases. Sunflowers also produce latex and are the subject of experiments to improve their suitability as an alternative crop for producing hypoallergenic rubber. Additionally, the stem of a dead sunflower can dry out open wounds.
For farmers not intending to grow it, the sunflower is considered a noxious weed. The wild variety will grow unwanted in corn and soybean fields which can have a negative impact on yields.
- The sunflower is the state flower of the U.S. state of Kansas, and one of the city flowers of Kitakyushu, Japan.
- The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosa) is related to the sunflower. The Mexican sunflower is Tithonia rotundifolia. False sunflower refers to plants of the genus Heliopsis.
- Scientific literature reports, from 1567, that a 12 m (40′), traditional, single-head, sunflower plant was grown in Padua. The same seed lot grew almost 8 m (24′) at other times and places (e.g. Madrid). Much more recent feats (past score years) of over 8 m (25′) have been achieved in both Netherlands and Canada (Ontario).
- The sunflower is often used as a symbol of green ideology, much as the red rose is a symbol of socialism or social democracy
Sunflower – Prado Red
F1) Prado Red is one of the first sunflowers to bloom, making it an ideal choice for home gardens and for cut flower production. A multi-branched variety, Prado Red produces 15-20 beautiful deep red flowers per plant. It grows 5 1/2-6 feet tall, and each 14-21 inch branch is graced with a 5-6 inch flower. Slightly more sensitive to cold temperatures than other varieties, so wait until all danger of frost is past to plant.
I found these at the
They have another variety which is almost totally red as well.
Sunflower – Double Dandy
and yet another that is red with a very small yellow band just out from the seed pod.
Sunflower – Red Sun
There is yet another one called:
Sunflower – Floristan
Italian White Sunflower
“Italian White’s” flowers are actually pale yellow to creamy white in color. Its 4 to 5 inch blooms are borne on branching stems making it an ideal cut flower. A unique heirloom addition to the flower garden.
The long, pale yellow petals of the Italian White lead to a chocolate-brown center making a strinkingly beautiful contrast. Multi-branching stems of this mid-size sunflower bear multitudes of 3-4 inch blooms. Strong, sturdy stems enable a longer blooming season than that of the typical sunflower. Cut flowers just before they open for a beautiful, long lasting bouquet.
Select sunny location with well-drained soil and plant after all danger of frost is past. For earlier blossoms, start indoors 5-7 weeks before last frost. Cultivate soil and firm over seed, keeping it moist.
Do not over water and do not fertilize.
10-20 days to germination.
H. cucumerifolius Creamy white blossoms surrounding a dark brown center make this variety unique. Although thought to be an heirloom variety brought to the US by European immigrants, it has also been observed as a wild desert variety. Regardless of its origin, Italian White’s multi-branching habit and 4 foot height offer a charming counterpoint to other sunflowers in your garden.
Special Directions for Short Season Climates
SOWING: Sow seeds directly outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Seeds can also be sown earlier indoors in pots, 3 to 4 weeks before setting out. Cover seeds with ¼” fine soil. Provide indoor started seedlings with plenty of light.
THINNING & SPACING: Carefully thin or transplant young 2 to 3 inch seedlings to about a foot apart to allow for eventual growth.
GERMINATION: 10 to 20 days. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.