Sunflowers beautify our world with their brilliant colour and stately grace. Their enormous flowers (45cm/18 inches) move and follow the sun across the sky throughout the day.
In springtime choose a sunny location and sow seeds directly into the ground 5mm-1cm (1⁄4-1⁄2 inches) deep after last frost. Germination 10-15 days. Sow three times more seed than the number of plants you want. When seedlings are 5cm (2 inches) high, thin to 0.75-1m (2-3 feet) apart.
Water a little or water a lot, you do you! Sunflowers are easy to get along with, they are drought tolerant but also like water. Likewise with fertilizing. Taller plants may need staking due to the weight of their huge heads.
Let the seed heads dry on their stems if possible. If needed put a paper bag over the head to keep birds away. Don’t pick too soon, when the plant dies back it needs time to develop the seeds within their hulls. When the head is facing down, the petals have fallen off, and the back of head has turned from green to yellow, cut the head off leaving 30cm (12 inches) of stem attached. Dry indoors for another 2-3 weeks in a cool, dry place.
Remove the seeds by rubbing 2 heads together. Roast or eat raw, or save the seeds to plant again next year.
Plant with: lettuce, squash, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, peas, beans