Monday, July 15, 2019

Sunflower Challenge 2019 #sunflowerchallenge2019

For the past two years my brother has entered Emma's Spareroom Toolmaking Competition which he's built some amazing creations. This year I found out about the sunflower challenge hosted by Nick's Allotment Diary so I decided I too would participate in a YouTube creator challenge for my area of expertise. Nick's challenge runs until October of this year, so even though I've been way behind on my gardening, I still have plenty of time to catch up thanks to the climate of my area. Let's get my seeds started for #sunflowerchallenge2019.

There are three categories in this competition, tallest plant, biggest head size, and most unique sunflower. For the variety of sunflower seeds I own, I would be going for the first two categories.
These seeds I am planting are a variety called Mammoth Russian. This variety produces large heads and can grow over 12 feet tall. I first grew these seeds last year at my buddy's house and as you can see from this photo, they grow really tall. From those heads I harvested several bags worth of seeds from the heads. I made sure to save a bag to regrow because these seeds were quite delicious.
The sunflowers from last year
So not only will this competition be a fun opportunity to compete, I will also get to see if all the seeds I saved can germinate. Here I have a flat of 6 cells which I will be sowing two seeds per cell. A little water now and we'll see if they germinate.
4 days later, all the seeds I have sown have germinated. I let them grow indoors for a few days before I put them outside. They should be much taller and ready to transplant once I return from a weekend vacation.
Once I returned from vacation, I came back to find all my seedlings dead. Most unfortunate, looks like I'll need to restart and keep them inside longer.

After restarting my seed, a week later, I've got a new flat of sunflowers! But I haven't really thought through where I would be transplanting them...
First I thought I could sow them in these two gallon containers, but I had transplanted all of my tomato plants into them. I didn't really want to go out and buy more either. I remembered I had a spot in my blue bin where I planted some beet seeds where I hoped to get some beets to make a second batch of beet wine out of, but they never took off. I had some lettuce seedlings there, but the sun had burnt their leaves. I decided to yank those lettuce seedlings and the remaining radishes in my blue bin and sowed several of my sunflowers.
So here we have my sunflowers, this is about two weeks after transplanting. Some of them are doing great, already more than 6 inches tall. Remember though my sunflowers are growing in a container so I expect their growth to be limited without amble amounts of fertilizer. When this arugula is done I'll rip those plants out and potentially plant some sunflowers in directly. If these sunflowers do grow really tall, I'm hoping that they don't fall over. It would be hilarious to see them grow tall enough to hit the awning above this bin but my head might be in the clouds.
Check back next month for an update and see how tall they grow!

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