10 secrets of a rich sunflower crop
Sunflower native to South America. Interestingly, initially its seeds went only to livestock feed. But soon people tried the seeds, and they became a cheap treat. But the sunflower oil began to be extracted only in 1840. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and polyunsaturated fatty acids. True, so that they bring maximum benefits to the body, you need to eat them in a thermally unprocessed form. My secrets of a rich harvest of sunflower I will reveal in this article.
There is a misconception that a sunflower always turns its head after the sun. But this is only partially true. Only young plants turn their heads. Adult sunflowers with already ripening heads do not rotate them, but keep them in the same position throughout the day. Most often they "look" to the east.
1. Sunflowers - the sunniest place!
The sunflower is annual, or Oilseed Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) Is a very photophilous plant, and for successful growth and development it needs good illumination. Therefore, I chose for sunflowers the sunniest place on the site, which does not shade for a whole day.
2. Preparation of soil for sowing
The ground must be prepared before sowing the sunflower. Immediately after harvesting the previous crop, the soil should be loosened shallow to a depth of 10 cm. I do this (or rather, my husband) with a cultivator, we have a nozzle of 20-30 centimeters in height. Then, in the fall, once again the husband goes through a cultivator.
A week before sowing sunflower in the spring, we again loosen the soil. Thus, it becomes very soft, loose, saturated with oxygen. Maybe a lot of work, but for a rich sunflower crop, it's worth it.
3. Food for sunflower
Sunflower is a very large plant, so it needs large amounts of nutrients. It must be provided with a sufficient amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Therefore, before the autumn loosening of the soil for future sunflower crops, I scatter humus with compost heaps and ash. So I bring in nitrogen and potassium. Sunflower receives phosphorus from the mineral fertilizers that I bring during the last loosening of the soil, a week before sowing.
During the growing season and flowering 1 time in 10 days I feed the sunflower with infusion of weeds. Thus, I provide my sunflowers with everything necessary.
4. Correct crop rotation
Sunflower should be involved in crop rotation. He can return to his old place only after 5-6 years. Moreover, it is best sown after cereals, for example, corn. In order not to get confused about what, where and when I grew up, I keep a notebook where I sketch a diagram of my garden by year. By the way, in the same notebook I keep a tablet with a schedule of watering and feeding.
And another secret - I always plant corn (the precursor of sunflower) with peas, so the soil is supplied with nitrogen, which the sunflower is very fond of. Sunflower will grow well on virgin soil, where nothing grew before, but the soil still needs to be prepared in advance.
5. The choice of the date of sowing seeds
The minimum hatching temperature of sunflower seeds is +3 ° C, and the maximum is +28 ° C. The optimum temperature for good growth and development of the plant is + 20 ... + 25 ° C. At air temperatures below +15 ° C and above +25 ° C, the synthesis of oil in the seed is reduced.
My sunflower grows in open ground, so I can hardly affect the weather. However, to select the timing of sowing seeds, it is very important to consider the temperature of the soil and air. If you sow the seeds too early, they can simply rot. Too late sowing dates (high temperatures) inhibit the normal development of the plant. I measure the soil with a special thermometer. When it warmed up to +8 ° С ... + 12 ° С, I sow sunflower seeds.
6. It is necessary to sow sunflower with a margin
I sow a sunflower with dry seeds, I put three seeds, because not all sprout. In the event that a few seeds hatch, then I cut off the extra with scissors. The distance between the seeds is 25-30 cm. The depth of sowing is 5 cm. Usually I make grooves of the required depth, I do not tighten them strongly (with a narrow edge of the plank, for example) and spill them with water properly. Then I spread the seeds at the right distance and gently sprinkle with earth.
7. Abundant watering when building green mass
As the sunflower builds up green mass, it needs good watering. But at a time when seeds are already pouring, the sunflower is drought-resistant and does not require additional moisture. Adult sunflower has a deep developed root, which is able to produce water on its own. Therefore, while my sunflowers are growing, I water them abundantly with warm water almost every day (conditions of the south), and when the heads begin to ripen, watering only during drought.
By the way, if you are planting a sunflower on your site as an ornamental plant, it is best to choose a place closer to the water.
8. Care and disease prevention
If the plant develops well, it does not need to be tied. But sunflowers definitely need regular weeding! If spring is very rainy, then I spray twice with a fungicide to prevent diseases. The first time - during the appearance of buds, the second - at the end of flowering.
9. Bird Fighting
Birds are the main pests in the cultivation of sunflower, they can leave you completely without a crop. Therefore, you have to put all kinds of "scarers." For example, old CDs can be tied to sticks, hang long bright ribbons of fabric on high sticks, and sometimes you have to drive the birds away from sunflower plantings. I once drove past a house in a car, where women’s stockings were pulled onto the heads of sunflowers so that the birds would not bite.
In our south, sunflowers ripen in late August and early September, when black seeds begin to fall. Ripe heads can be cut off and then strung back onto the stem, so the head will dry well in the sun. But at the same time, it is likely that the birds will take the crop. Therefore, I cut off the heads of sunflower and take it home. There, on a glazed veranda, they lie with me and dry perfectly.
Dear readers! Adhering to these simple rules for growing sunflower, you will always be not only with a large crop, but also enjoy the contemplation of its sun-like heads.