Welcome to my website about growing ornamental plants organically. Few gardens work well without flowering plants, and in an organic garden where insect activity is encouraged, they are vital. My flowering plants bring pleasure by filling the air with wonderful fragrances and stimulate the senses with their beauty............................................John Ashworth 26th December 2015.
These giant daisies are a great feature if carefully placed in your garden.
I grow mine in my vegetable garden to attract birds and pollinating insects.
The seeds are edible, and if pressed produce a tasty oil which can be used in salads.
They grow well in heavy clay soil containing lots of organic matter.
Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure.
Although they are perennial, I grow mine as annuals.
They grow best in full sun and are extremely hardy in hot dry weather. However, they do benefit from regular deep watering.
Feed the Soil.
the soil in July where the sunflowers are to be grown. Removing
any spent mulch or other organic materials from the surface of the soil.
Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost and cover it with fresh straw mulch.
Leave for 4 weeks to build up worm and microbe activity before planting the seedlings.
To propagate sunflowers allow a few plants to go to seed in winter. Collect the dried seeds and save them for the following season.
I put mine in a sealed envelope and keep them in my seed box in the fridge (not the freezer). They stay viable for years.
In July sow
sunflower seeds in mini pots under glass. Using a good organic seed raising mix sow the seeds about 5mm deep. Soak the mini pot in a tray containing water about 10mm deep for an hour. Transfer the pot into a mini Ecobed propagator under glass.
Transplant them into the prepared bed when they are about 100mm tall. Space them 500mm apart.
monthly foliar spray of aerated compost tea was a spectacular success
last year with no sign of powdery mildew on any of my plants.
solution of 1 part cows milk to 9 parts water makes a reasonably
effective organic pesticide against powdery mildew. However, it needs
to be applied early before this fungi gets well established, and
frequently to keep it in check.
foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of sunflowers by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.
These microbes defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made
compost boosts the community of beneficial
microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.