I do notice that the places where the seed hulls have fallen heavily from the birdfeeder is pretty bare, but the areas where it was scattered more thinly are lush. Hulls are not the same as plant roots either.
Does anyone have experience with planting sunflowers and squash together?
This season I had sunflowers in a 'three sisters' bed with pumpkins and drying corn/beans. Everything grew ok, not great. It was a terrible summer though...so many variables
the answer that jumps out now is "Don't have too many"
It's true that I've grown many sunflowers in the past, but the only time I've grown a lot were the three sisters garden or when I filled a small garden in an old apartment yard with nothing but sunflower. Usually I just have a few here and there.
Another related question- since even the stalks are allelopathic, do people use them as mulch?
Also, I was reading some research fromt he middle east where farm researchers were using solutions of water that had sunflower plant parts soaked in it for herbicide/weed deterrent. Has anyone done this?
Many treat their sunflowers as cover crop and treat them like 'toxic waste' after maturation, disposing of them offsite.
I would not include them in a guild you intend to be productive in all facets. : )
Good luck out there -
Saybian Morgan wrote:I'm not grasping the sunflower alleopathy, is this general to the helianthus or is this a specific type of sunflower? Jerusalem artichokes don't ravage the soil and they grow huge when they have the resources to and small when they don't. I can't find any ill effects this year where I had towering helianthus last year, but that's not sunflower's per se. Corn is a mean resource hog and it's what the 3 sisters is all about, I can't see a sunflower taking more than corn, but then again I don't grasp what long island cheese is.
It's a pumpkin, bro.
The thing with allelopathy is not so much that it competes for nutrients, but that it has phytotoxic compounds in it that inhibit growth.
Thanks so much for the "toxic waste sequestration" idea, that makes me feel better! I will revise my plan.
during the middle of the day, the pumpkin leaves would always wilt, even if there was plenty of moisture in the dirt. we looked into it, and it turns out that the Cucurbita genus suffers from photosaturation. that is to say, if there's too much light hitting the leaves, they can't really take it and sort of shut down until the sun isn't so direct. so during the middle four or five hours of the day, they weren't photosynthesizing or growing at all.
when we added the sunflowers, though, they provided just a little bit of shade for the pumpkins. it was just enough to keep the pumpkins going strong right through the day without the wilting. so though they were getting less sun, they actually grew more. there weren't a lot of sunflowers. maybe one sunflower to five to ten pumpkin plants. and these were the big sunflowers.
so, I won't argue that sunflowers don't exude allelopathic substances, but in some cases they're still a good idea.
on the other hand, there's no reason it had to be sunflowers in with the pumpkins. they looked good, and folks liked them, and they're easy to grow. corn probably works just as well or better and is probably an easier crop for most folks to use. many other plants could fill the same role with different useful products.
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