The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 04-29-04 Printer-Friendly Version
Howdy Gardening Enthusiasts!
With the kiddos getting out of school soon, there are many gardening projects you can get the little ones involved in, and more importantly keep them occupied for several weeks out of the year. (Oh yeah! It's somewhat educational to boot). One of the best, and easiest projects is to have them plant and maintain Sunflowers.
Most sunflowers are heat and drought tolerant, and very easy to grow - which of course for Houston makes them perfect. Related to Native American prairie plants in the daisy family, they need full sun and prefer well-drained soil. But keep this email tip handy throughout the next few months, and anyone can grow Sunflowers with some of these helpful tips to growing Sunflowers from the Old Farmer's Almanac.
Plant the large seeds no more than one inch deep and three to four inches apart in well-dug, loose soil after it has thoroughly warmed, from mid-April to late May. Experiment with plantings staggered over five to six weeks after your last frost.
Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out. Make rows 30 inches apart and thin seedlings to 12 to 18 inches, leaving just the strongest plants.
If you see birds scratching around for the seeds, spread netting over the planted area until seeds germinate
Water plants deeply but infrequently to encourage deep rooting, and feed plants only sparingly; over-fertilization can cause stems to break in the fall.
Cut the main stem before its flower bud has a chance to open to encourage side blooms.
Gather flowers for bouquets early in the morning, when the buds first start showing color and are just beginning to open.
Arrange sunflowers in tall containers that provide good support for their heavy heads, and change the water every day to keep them fresh.
Here are some other helpful internet links for Kids & Gardening this summer. One of them comes from Texas A&M and is called KinderGarden - Get it?
< http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/kindergarden/kinder.htm >
< http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/interest_your_kids_in/gardening.html >
< http://gardeninglaunchpad.com/kids.html >
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.