Sunflower Progress

japlopper(Z5 Indy IN)May 23, 2004

Just checking in, how's everybody doing?

I got my seedlings in the ground that I sprouted under grow lights, and I planted some seeds in my raised bed garden. I had to reorder P&P seeds, because of a mishap on our deck...high wind knocked some over and killed them.

My seedlings are all around 15 inches. I grew them in plastic liter soda bottles, because it was cold here for a long time. It seemed to work well, because when I transplanted them, they didn't go through bad shock.

Now we are in the middle of a heavy rainstorm and I worry about what's going on outside...

How's everyone else doing? What's doing the best? Right now, my fastest growing is my Ripley's, but my Viva's just got started, so I guess it's too soon to tell.

I'm keeping a spreadsheet of their progress. Anybody else that obsessed?

Please everyone, check in!

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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

I always intend to keep a spreadsheet of the progress of my plants to get a better understanding of how they grow, but I always get lazy and never do it. I usually take measurements of everything at the end of the season, such as height, head width, stem circumfrence, leaf size, etc. I got a late start with many of my plants; so I'm concerned that I might not get as many really large plants as I want. I keep losing plants to pests; so I have to either transplant from another spot, or put one of my potted seedlings out in it's place. Right now my American Giant Hybrid plants are the tallest. The Bott's Strain seem to be doing very well too.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 10:08AM
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japlopper(Z5 Indy IN)

Where did you get the American Giant Hybrids? How tall can they get? Right now, my Ripley's are the biggest - and they are sturdier - the leaves are bigger and greener. I have an area of my raised bed garden dedicated to sunflowers. The soil is excellent. So I planted 4 P&P's, 1 Viva, and 1 Ripley, but I didn't plant them at the same time, so it'll be interesting to see which one wins "the race."

I've lost a couple to critters, and a couple to some kind of disease, but for the most part, considering they were pretty potbound (or soda bottle bound), they are doing pretty well.

My Kong grew 3 inches in three days. (Big rainstorm followed by a sunny day - it's magic).

How many alternates do you keep around? I just put some seeds in the ground, but here in Indiana, we can grow until early October, so I've got time. I still worry what the cicadas will do. I know they don't destroy veggies and stuff, but the sheer number of them that are about to arrive worries me...

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 2:03PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

Tom Heaton, the person who developed Kong, Paul Bunyan, and Cyclops sent me a few seeds to trial of his new variety that he recently developed called, American Giant Hybrid. It should be available to the public in 2005 through Ferry Morse and Burpee.

I have to check my written records on how many individuals I have of each variety. I'll post a listing of which ones that I'm growing. I keep quite a few alternates because I always seem to have some disaster. What I normally do, unless I have a small amount of a particular variety, is to directly plant about 10 or more seeds in a 3 foot diameter circle. I let them grow and every week I remove the smallest, until I'm left with the largest. I don't have a lot of the Craven sunflowers; so I grow all of them in pots, and plant them out within a few weeks of germinating. The varieties I direct sow, I also plant some in smaller pots just in case I need them as a backup in the event I lose the direct sown plants. Similar to you, mine are planted at different times because I've lost some to pests. In fact, I've had to replant a few spots twice. Generally, I try to get my back row in by the first week in May, and wait a week or two before planting the front row.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of American Giant Hybrid

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 4:32PM
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japlopper(Z5 Indy IN)

I'm so jealous that you get to try them this year! I saw those pics before. I can't wait to hear how they do for you. I hope they are record breaking. I hope you'll take lots of pics!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 5:18PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

Best thing I ever did was set up my website. Before, I would have to hunt down people and information, but now many companies and individuals come to me now. I often get free seeds to trial so they can get their flowers reviewed on my site.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 5:46PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

Here is a list of what I am growing this year:
---------------------------------------------
New Jersey:
In my 100x20 foot garden plus my small garden (4 sunflowers) I'm growing:
7 Cravens
4 Botts Strain
6 Diane Strain
3 Ripley's Giant
2 American Giant Hybrid
2 Unwins Giant Single
3 Mr. Fothergill's Giant Single
4 Hemkers

6 Giant Corn (P&P seeds)
6 Giant Marrows (seed from Bernard Lavery)

------------------------------------------------
New York: (mom's house)
7 American Giant Hybrid
4 Kong
3 Skyscraper
? Thompson & Morgan Russian Giant
? Suttons Giant Yellow
? Unwins Giant Single
? Paul Bunyan
(? = row planted; still need to thin out before I know exactly how many I'm growing)

--------------------------------------------------
Pennsylvania: (wife's mom's house)
9 Bott's Strain
3 Ripleys Giant
1 Unwins Giant Single
1 Craven

    Bookmark   May 28, 2004 at 4:05AM
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timde(z7NJ)

I planted aztec golds. First time growing sunflowers!The package said 6ft. it's may 31st and they are alredy
3 1/2ft. I hope they get 12ft tall. will they stay all summer?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2004 at 5:46PM
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Brian_NY_NJ_PA(zone 5/6 NY/NJ/)

There is always a possibility of the aztec golds getting 12 feet, but it's unlikely. I believe they are hybrid variety, and they are generally very uniform in look and growth.

If you want to know how long a sunflower will grow, it's best to look at the number of days to maturity that is usually indicated on the package.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 10:34AM
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