VICTORY GARDENS: On Sunflowers & What You Could/Should Be Doing With Them Now

by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | Sunflowers are magnificent. They come in all sorts of varieties, shapes and sizes ((heirloom, too). Aside from their beauty, they’re packed with Vitamin E, making them one of the most nutritious of the edible flowers. They also have a multitude of uses, from biodiesel to phytoremediation, which is a big word attached to the process of removing toxic materials from the soil via plants.

There may be a misconceived notion that sunflowers are only for gardens with a lot of space. Not true. West Coast Seeds has a “Short Sunflower Blend” that is perfect for container, patio, and small space gardens. And what about rogue sunflowers? Since 2007, May 1st has been claimed “International Sunflower Guerilla Gardening Day”. Some of us may have missed it (it originated in Belgium), but now is the perfect opportunity to stash a pack of seeds in your pocket and sow them in unexpected places in your neighbourhood – like a back alley perhaps – and see what transpires.

If you’re into birding, sunflower seeds attract the widest variety of bird species. When they are are ready to harvest, simply cut and hang them upside-down as feeders. And go ahead, eat them yourselves. Simply roast them with salt or add some tamari or cayenne. Sunflower seeds are also excellent in homemade coleslaw as an accompaniment to a summer BBQ, too.

When to grow: Now is the time to direct-sow these into your garden (or obscure spot of choice). Sunflowers are drought tolerant and the seeds sprout in 10-14 days.

Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.

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Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.

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