Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Update - sunflower house and coldframe

Here is the newly dug sunflower house - look at that rich soil! I also added a dozen shovelfuls of aged organic manure and loosened the earth to about a foot - we want HUGE sunflowers.. We started the seeds indoors to get a jump on their growth and planted 'Kong' (often up to 15-feet tall!), 'Van Gogh' (the classic sunflower from Van Gogh's paintings) and 'Teddy Bear' (a dwarf double type to help 'fill in' the lower portion of the sunflower house). I still need to finish cleaning up the sods I removed, but it's ready to plant! Now, all we need is some sunshine..

It's been 2 weeks since I seeded cold frame #1 and the seedlings seem to be doubling in size every day! So exciting.. The arugula (in the middle) is ready for baby greens (2 weeks!) and the purple pak choi is in the 4th leaf stage.. Even the carrots sprouted after only 6 days - they usually take at least 2 weeks to emerge when planted in the garden.

This shows just how much a cold frame can impact a garden in the spring, fall and winter. I think I'll tuck some hot peppers in here during the summer - keeping the top up, but this spot will allow the peppers to maximize the amount of sun and heat they receive..

Oh, and in cold frame #2 - seed 1 week ago, the radishes are growing like they're on steroids! I hope to break my record for the first radish! Old record is 23 days.. new record is ?? I'll let you know in a week or two..

Happy Gardening!


  1. Super tall sunflowers seeds might be found(although maybe earlier in the year) at by posting at the seed exchange on the message board. Botts strain comes to mind as a record holder.
    Great day for weeding since the ground is quite thoroughly wet!

  2. I can't wait to see this sunflower house! Keep us posted. Glad your greens are zipping right along as well. Time for salad!

  3. Thanks for the ideas Pete - I'll check Bott's out! sounds fantastic..

    And thanks for your kind comments too on the sunflower house, Gardeningbren.. I'll post on it's progress all summer long.. the kids are thrilled, but I think I'm even more excited! :)

  4. One thing about sunflowers,and not readily available information,and you may have a different view,but when I planted sunflowers next to cukes one year,the cukes suffered.Yet,some garden sites claim they are companion plants. Here is a quote about what I am trying to say from a web site:
    "Important to bear in mind with sunflowers are their allelopathic qualities. Allelopathy is the ability of a plant to create chemicals which deter other plants from growing near them. These chemicals are most often deployed underground where they will affect the root systems of competing plants. Walnut trees and their close relatives are probably best known for this ability, but all plants use allelopathy to one degree or another. The allelopathic chemicals produced by sunflowers are nowhere near as potent as those of the walnut, but they're respectable enough to be taken into consideration." All I know is from personal experience,but info about where and when to plant sunflowers usually omits this info.I wonder if anyone else has ever come across this.


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)