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What about sunflowers?

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 255
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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So, I made my usual search before creating a new post, and I found nothing about sunflowers.

No one among you has any experience with sunflowers? Tips? Nothing?

I got the seeds, I sprout some for eating, but when I plant them they don't do that great. It could be the variety (I just got a non-descript bag at a feed store), but I remember the flower to grow as big as a frisbee, while my biggest one (or rather, the only one who made it out of four experimental seeds I had planted in a Hügelkultur) was a bit smaller than a CD.

Anyway, feedback welcome. I'm trying to increase the number and variety of alkalizing veggies as one of us was diagnosed with cancer.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Native sunflowers (the species of all sunflowers) do quite well here but their seeds are small.  Improved cultivars don't do as well.  I think they need rich soil and plenty of water to grow well. Just a guess.

I'm planning to try to grow Maximillian sunflower, a perennial sunflower.  They seem to do very well in the area, in the right location (slightly moist). But their seeds are even smaller than the species annual sunflower.   

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 255
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Oh, there's a plethora of treatments, but I'm a freak about web hygiene, and this is not a thread about cancer treatments!

Anyway, suffice it to say that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment, so an alkaline diet, oxygenation through conscious breathing (that gets the lymph system flowing and purifying the blood, together with regular activity), and proper hydration, which shouldn't be a problem with the alkaline diet (raw fruit and vegetables, alkaline water, etc) will just give cancer no way to thrive.

I'll just post a link with cool info, then you can google or youtube "alkaline" and "cancer" and see what comes out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7k-GlLhpp8
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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I generally have a variety of sunflowers..besides my sunchokes.

I have the ones the birds plant from sunflower seeds (or the squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, etc.) and then I generally pick up a packet of multicolored ones, and had some great ones this year.

they always grow well for me
 
Richard Nurac
Posts: 50
Location: north Georgia
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I grow in north Georgia and I love sunflowers and have planted them the past 4 years - both the giant variety, which are greater than 8 ft, and the smaller multi-stemmed variety.  I plant the giant sunflowers around the posts which support the cables for my muscadines and blackberries and raspberries.  Attracts lots of birds and my thought is these birds may also be insect eating birds and, if not, it may distract the birds from my muscadine and berry plants. 

I have no difficulty growing them, though I always start them in 2" soil blocks and them insert the blocks in the ground and they almost always grow.  (If interested you can read about my soil blocks at www.nutrac.info).  A mistake I made this year was placing them too close to new blueberry plantings - I believe they competed with the blueberries for nutrients and the blueberries suffered because they have small root structures.  I also keep some of the sunflower seed for the following years flowers and to spice up life at the birdfeeder.
 
Brian Bales
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Native sunflowers (the species of all sunflowers) do quite well here but their seeds are small.  Improved cultivars don't do as well.  I think they need rich soil and plenty of water to grow well. Just a guess.

I'm planning to try to grow Maximillian sunflower, a perennial sunflower.  They seem to do very well in the area, in the right location (slightly moist). But their seeds are even smaller than the species annual sunflower.   




I'm growing maximillian too. Seeds are really small but they can supposedly be used as an oil seed. I'm thinking they could also be used in place of flax seed in some recipes. I'm also going to try and cross them with black oil sunflowers and see if anything comes of it.
 
Melba Corbett
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Location: North Carolina
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SergioSantoro wrote:
So, I made my usual search before creating a new post, and I found nothing about sunflowers.

No one among you has any experience with sunflowers? Tips? Nothing?

I got the seeds, I sprout some for eating, but when I plant them they don't do that great. It could be the variety (I just got a non-descript bag at a feed store), but I remember the flower to grow as big as a frisbee, while my biggest one (or rather, the only one who made it out of four experimental seeds I had planted in a Hügelkultur) was a bit smaller than a CD.

Anyway, feedback welcome. I'm trying to increase the number and variety of alkalizing veggies as one of us was diagnosed with cancer.


Sergio,
The ones from the feed store here in the US are usually the black oil seed sunflowers, which don't get very large.  Try getting seed from the confectionery type which can get quite large.

The best alkalinizing foods are from grasses, like barley green or wheat grass juice, or green leafy vegetables.  It has been said that the folic acid in dark green leafy vegetables is equal to chemotherapy and without the side effects. 

Red Cloud
 
                              
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Native sunflowers (the species of all sunflowers) do quite well here but their seeds are small.  Improved cultivars don't do as well.  I think they need rich soil and plenty of water to grow well. Just a guess.


Sunflowers of all kinds grow here (Northeastern Colorado), but what you're looking for is something like the Russian Mammoth. The seeds seem kind of expensive to grow, but considering how many you get in return, they're really not and you only have to buy them once.

Did you know that you can eat the buds and leaves of sunflowers, too? I don't know, but would imagine that every part of a sunflower is alkaline.

I hope it's all right to post a link. There's more information on sunflowers here: http://factoidz.com/how-to-eat-a-sunflower/
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 255
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Well, that's great news about the oil. Does anyone know how to produce sunflower oil (or, if you do, even coconut, avocado, mustard, corn)?

Also good to know you can eat all parts of a sunflower. Apart from rhubarb, and eggplants, peppers, potatoes, it's pretty much the case: if you can eat the root, you can eat the leaves, fruit, etc.
Or so they told me.
 
Jonathan Byron
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In general, seeds are not the most alkaline of foods. Anything with protein tends to increase the acid load of the diet, while fruits, tubers, leaves and stems tend to be alkaline because they have more potassium and other alkaline elements.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 255
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Well, it's good to have sunflowers/seeds in general.
As far as the alkaline diet, any sprout is alkaline. I meant to sprout the seeds for salad, or you can make a sunflower seed butter by grinding the seeds as soon as they poke out the sprout. Kind of like malting, but without the roasting.
 
                              
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Jonathan_Byron wrote:
In general, seeds are not the most alkaline of foods. Anything with protein tends to increase the acid load of the diet, while fruits, tubers, leaves and stems tend to be alkaline because they have more potassium and other alkaline elements.



Thank you!
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
Posts: 488
Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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PapaBear wrote:
I'm growing maximillian too. Seeds are really small but they can supposedly be used as an oil seed. I'm thinking they could also be used in place of flax seed in some recipes. I'm also going to try and cross them with black oil sunflowers and see if anything comes of it.



One way to get more out of little seeds is to sprout them - love sunflower sprouts more than the seeds anyway. 

Would be very interested in the results of any perennial breeding experiments.  Wonder if sunchokes could be bred to produce good seed as well? 
 
chad Christopher
Posts: 290
Location: Pittsburgh PA
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Sunflowers thrive and want to live on the forest edges. So do chix. Forget about the fields of suns you see, they want edge. Sunflower harvest is picked clean, because they are in fields a ND not edges.
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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Seeds aren't all you can eat. With wild sunflowers they aren't even worth the effort to me, I let the wild birds have them, and harvest the rest for next years crop.

Check out this thread for more info on eating leaves, buds and roots. As I say in the thread, the buds of Maximilian's are good, on the same vein as brussel sprouts flavor wise. the leaves are decent, worth getting used to considering the nutrition and ease of growth.

The wild ones I initially harvested Seeds from were from a forest edge, but I planted them in rocky poor soil and they all came up very nicely. If you can find wild it's the way to go in my opinion.
In my project thread I have some photos and details of the plants I grew with the sunflowers.
 
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