Friday, August 22, 2014

A Sunflower Forest

I believe this is the 5th year of my garden, though it expands every year.  Three years ago I planted some sunflowers and the last two years, I haven't planted any, but they keep multiplying and multiplying 
(thank you, birds).  
This year, they popped up everywhere and I'm too sentimental to pull them out or transplant them into nice neat rows.   I ended up calling my garden "the forest".  Matt called it ugly.

The sunflowers ended up 10-12' tall.  Their roots spread quickly through the top few layers of mulch but that meant they weren't anchored very well in the soil.  A few strong storms and some started to lean pretty badly.

Look closely to see all those lovely pollinators!

They grew in single stalks and with multiple branches containing multiple heads.

 This is all from one stalk!

One main stalk with multiple branches

Some were not so pretty, but this was an enormous head, which meant lots of seeds for the chickens (free food!) as long as I could harvest it before the finches got to it.

The chickens love it when a hang a few stalks on their fence.

The sunflowers really provided too much shade for the vegetable garden so as soon as each stalk died off, we pulled them out.  The root balls were so massive that we ended up just chopping them off.  I threw them into the chickens so they can scratch off the dirt and bugs.  I'll burn them once they dry out.  

She did it!

Some were as big as my head!

And of course they offered wonderful embellishments for our girls' swords!
Essie even tried to glue it on.

AJ mulched up the stalks and the chickens had a ball scratching threw their new bedding.
p.s. The wonder of using power tools has worn off on this boy (dang it!) & now he just complains about working (typical American tween!)

There are multiple reasons I love sunflowers.
                                                 1) They attract pollinators
                                                 2) Free food for the chickens
                                                 3) They are beautiful!
                                                 4) I didn't plant a single one

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