My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Planting Sunflowers

Yesterday evening, when it had cooled off a bit and was nearly dark, I planted the little sunflower seedlings. Growing in soil blocks in the shade they had gotten a bit lanky but I was very careful of their tender stems. If you break the stem of almost any seedling below it's first leaves, it is pretty much dead. So be Careful.

I used my post hole digger to make a nice deep hole in damp soil. Here you can see the hole and a sunflower seedling on the tray, waiting to go in it's hole.

Then I gently set the seedling into the deep hole. By using a deep hole and by not filling it all the way with soil, but leaving a bowl shaped depression two things happen. First the plants roots are farther from the surface and therefor stay cooler. Second, the bowl shape concentrates any water or rain around the roots, helping the plant get off to a good start and saving water, since in the beginning I only have to water in the bowl. (Later as the plants grow and their roots spread out it will be important to water the whole area, but until then I can just concentrate it around the plants).

Then, gently propping the lanky stem up out of the way I fill in around the root ball and part way up the stem, still leaving a good size 'bowl' to hold water.

Then I fill the bowl up full of water once or twice, depending on how dry the ground was to start with.

But I'm not done just yet.

The last thing I have to do is to protect the seedlings from birds, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and such. Right now it has been months since there has been any rain and it has be 106+ this week. Even the native critters are panting for lack of water. So I have to cover up any lush green stuff or it will be gone overnight.

If I were planting early in the spring, when water and food are abundant for the wild life, it would not be so bad. But this time of year without protection the critters will take it all.

I use anything handy that will let light, air and water in and help keep animals out, like these old nursery flats.

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