Sunflowers Under Cover

A few years back, I had to plant my sunflower seeds three times.  The first crop, lovingly planted with my son, disappeared.  I’m not naming names, but I saw this little fella in the neighborhood around the same time.

grey squirrel

Doesn’t he look guilty?

I planted the second batch indoors, then transplanted them, but they were leggy and weak.

Refusing to be outsmarted yet again, I came up with a solution after wandering around the hardware store.  I bought small screens, designed to be placed in windows for about $6 a piece.  Any money I saved buying seeds instead of starter plants went out the window that year, but since then, they’ve proved to be an investment.  I even loaned them to a friend off-season to rabbit-proof one of her plants.  You can read my screen saver tutorial here.

This year, I simply planted the seeds and immediately covered them.  Within two weeks, they’ve sprouted and grown.  Once they’ve set true leaves, I’ll uncover them and off we’ll go.

mouse on deck screen savers

Screen Savers protect this year’s crop

They’re not pretty, but they get the job done and they are only there temporarily. Mouse keeps a close eye on things.

screen savers

Screening allows air and water to circulate

sunflower seeds under screen saver

Budding sunflowers

I planted two varieties this year, both from Botanical Interests®: Sunflower Snacker and Sunflower Florist’s Sunny Bouquet, both Helianthus annuus (hybrid). The Snackers, planted in the back row, will grow 6′ – 8′ tall (1.8 – 2.4 m). The Florist’s Sunny Bouquet are a shorter variety, reaching 4′ – 5′ tall (1.2 – 1.5 m).

Please pop by again for updates. Meanwhile, how do you outsmart the foragers in your neighborhood?