By now, a lot of you have your ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds in the ground and some of you have sent in pics of them coming up. Here’s a pic from one of my neighbors who is using a real “six pack” strategy for getting his sunflowers started.
To make this handy-to-carry seed starter, just take a six pack carton from your favorite beverage, line each of the six compartments with wet newspaper, fill with potting soil and set in your sunflower seeds. Keep them watered and you’ll see them sprout in 7 – 10 days. I’ve found that some of the ‘Lemon Queen’ seeds sprout at different rates, so you’ll get some early and some late ones.
If you started your seeds in containers, and you have at least one set of true leaves (the longer fuzzier kind, not the smooth rounder ones that come out first) plant them where you can see and observe them over the summer. Mine are usually 5" tall at when I plant them into the garden.
When putting your starts into the ground, select a sunny spot and amend the bed with some good organic garden soil. I sometimes cage mine with strawberry baskets (the green plastic kind) or with a plastic water bottle with the top and bottom cut off, so it makes a "sleeve" to keep critters at bay.
Unless you live in the Rocky Mountain states or Alaska, night time temperatures in your area should be above freezing by now and any chance of frost is past, so you should be good to go. In other areas, those of you who planted your sunflowers early in the season are enjoying blooms and sending in bee observations already. If that’s your garden (and I know who you are), why not plant a second crop so you can extend making observations all or most of the year?
For lots more information on ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers and other “Bee Magnet” plants, check out Your Garden Show’s site http://www.yourgardenshow.com/citizen-science-calibration-plant-profile-025