Triad -- Have your kids hit a mid summer lull? The new has worn off and back to school mania hasn't kicked in yet. How about a garden project - for kids?
They can grow their own sunflower fort while learning about gardening. They'll learn how to see a project through to the end and find that putting in the effort can bring HUGE rewards!
Here's what you need to do. First, find a spot. It needs to be a sunny one on the north side of other plants. Sunflowers get tall and you don't want them to shade something else that likes sun. Also decide how big you want it to be. A 6'x6' square may be a good starting place. You may want it a little bigger if you have lots of kids, but you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.
Next, mark off the area and plant the seeds according to the package. Extension Agent, Mark Danieley says to make sure you choose seeds that will mature in 60 days. Since it is late in the season, if it takes any longer, the first frost may endanger your fort too quickly.
Make sure the kids water the plants regularly and care for them according to the seed package directions. Sunflowers are fairly drought tolerant but they still appreciate water.
When the sunflowers mature in the fall, you can harvest them for a snack. According to the Burpee plants website, they will be ready when the back-side turns from green to yellow-brown and the larger heads start to nod down. Just cut them off with about a foot of stem and let them dry for a few weeks.
Burpee says sunflower seeds are about 25 percent protein. That's just slightly less than an equal weight of ground beef. Plus they have twice the iron and potassium.
Eric Chilton asked on the Good Morning Show if you had to replant sunflowers each year- or if they keep coming back. These need to be replanted every year.
Burpee Plants, Extension Agent Mark Danieley