Greening

Join our sunflower competition!

Now that spring is here, we’re inviting anyone who loves gardening and plants to join in with our sunflower growing competition. 

You can sow whichever type of sunflower you like, either straight into the soil or in a pot. You’ll need to protect young shoots from slugs and snails and give it plenty of room – the tallest sunflower in the world was over 9m high! We want to see who can grow the tallest sunflower, the biggest flower head and the most flowers.

You’ll need:

  • Sunflower seeds – the seed packet will tell you how tall that variety could grow to
  • Either a pot (2L at least) & compost 

OR a sunflower sized patch in the garden

  • Label & pencil

Instructions:

  1. Prepare for sowing either by weeding and raking your soil or filling a pot with fine compost.
  2. Sow your sunflower seeds between now and the end of May, either in-situ (straight into the soil) or into your pot of compost. 
  3. Push the seeds into the compost so it’s about 1cm deep (same for outside). It’s a good idea to sow some spares.
  4. If you want to grow a row of sunflowers, draw a drill (about 1cm deep) then sow the seeds along the drill about 10cm apart, thinning out to about 50cm apart.
  5. Label your seeds.
  6. Protect young shoots from slugs and snails. Instead of using slug pellets, try crushed eggshells; copper wire; coffee grounds; beer traps or wool pellets.
  7. As the sunflower grows taller you may need to support it by securing a tall cane next to the stem and tying the plant loosely to the cane. Even smaller multi-headed varieties may need extra support – they can produce so many flowers that they start to fall over!
  8. Enjoy growing your sunflower! See how many bees come to visit your flower. 
  9. After you’ve measured and photographed your sunflowers leave them out for the birds to eat the seeds, eat them yourself or save to grow next year!

We’d love to see photos of your saplings, your plants as they grow and the final flowers. Remember, for your final entries we’ll need a picture of your whole sunflower and a tape measure so we can see how big they are.

Please share your photos on both our Facebook and Instagram pages @staustellgardenfestival, let’s get growing!

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