Friday, July 23, 2010
The Sunflower house that wasn't
We dug out a trench in the yard in a sunny spot and planted the seeds. The squirrels then ate more than half of them. I replaced a bunch and the squirrels ate a lot of those too. I improvised a fence from what materials I had on hand in the shed (plastic sheeting and random poles). The plants grew and we had the semblance of walls. As the temporary wall started to fail though, it became prudent to replace it with something better. I thought chicken wire would work well. I was short on chickenwire and improvised on the last corner until I could get to the store.
But we started to lose sunflowers immediately. They'd get knocked over at the base and break. If they were only bent I staked them up hoping to help them survive. I blamed the squirrels (except for the one Munchkin accidentally tackled.) Then we saw the birds sitting on the chicken wire and going after the sunflowers. This is before there are any semblance of blossoms! So squirrels, birds, possibly rabbits for all I know attacked our sunflowers and slowly there were less and less of them.
The sunflowers also stopped growing taller. I guess the early hot weather and not enough water are mostly to blame but the "giant sunflowers" that survived never surpassed 3 feet. We did get a few small blooms. The moonflower vines that were supposed to grow up the sunflowers and make the roof had nothing to grow on in most spots and just tangled up in the grass. When we were down to 3 sunflower plants in just one corner and it was mid June I gave up. I mowed it down except for that corner and tried to protect that corner. The beasties got them in a few days and now all that remains of the sunflower house we attempted are 4 poles hammered into the ground in the yard.
I have a friend who was growing a sunflower/corn house. Hers did about the same as mine. Amusingly the sunflowers that ended up planted next to her house were 10+ feet tall. The ones in the sunflower house? 3 feet. I'm not sure what to tell you but Sunflower houses aren't as easy to grow as they sound.