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Saturday's Backyard Bounty: Giant Russian Sunflowers

We are loving our sunflowers! Of the two varieties we chose to grow this year, Giant Russians are the favourite.

Giant Russian Sunflower seeds can be purchased from The Lost Seed company. Our packet has lasted us a couple of years already, and there are still seeds left. They are also easy to save as you can just dry a sunflower head, put the head in a plastic bag, tie the bag, shake it hard, and store the seeds that fall out of the head.

You can see our corn cobs in this picture. We are hoping to eat our first cob this week!

Today I learnt that slugs seem to be attracted to corn cob tassels. We went out after rain and we found slugs and snails all over them!

While we love our garden, it is also hard work to keep up with it when we have tiny children. Most days it is hard to get the laundry and washing up finished, let alone planting and harvesting. Still, we love getting out in the garden. This week we harvested lots of beans for blanching. We also love to eat them steamed with butter, salt and pepper. Sometimes we chuck a home grown carrot in the pot as well. Simple, quick and delicious!

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Anonymous –   – (February 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM)  

Hi Sherrin,
I admire what you can do with your hands so full! Do you harvest the sunflower seeds for eating, or just grow them for their beauty? If you do eat them, how do you dry them first or are they dry enough as is?

Sherrin  – (February 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM)  

Hello Jenny,

We can only thank God that we were able to get most of the garden in before Mercy's birth. It is certainly more of a challenge in these newborn days!

We are mainly growing the sunflowers to feed to the chooks. Before we had chickens I did a lot of research into what we could do with the seeds. However, shelling them sounded very time consuming!! Dave suggested making our own sunflower oil but I wasn't up for that :)! One thing you can do is to roast them with shells on and have with salt as a snack. We have not done this, but I read about it.

To dry the heads we simply hung them in the shed for a while. The only problem with this was that the back of the head got a bit mouldy in some cases. However, the seeds still dried and stored well.

Praise God that he creates things that are both beautiful and useful!! We see his amazing power around us all the time.

Anonymous –   – (February 22, 2011 at 8:48 PM)  

Thanks Sherrin,
I love to see your beautiful plantings, I'm in Brisbane, so the little patch I have has been alternately drowned by torrential rain, burned by the hot sun, eaten by possums and eaten by grasshoppers. At the moment I have only self sown pumpkins and celery of all things! (I love a sunburnt country.. of droughts and flooding rains!) You inspire me to keep having a go, perhaps in spring when the weather is milder! One of my sons is interested in gardening, so that is a lovely pursuit we can share!
thanks, Jenny

Sherrin  – (February 25, 2011 at 2:41 PM)  

So sorry to hear that you have been having so much garden trouble! It can be very discouraging when things don't grow like you imagine . . . or don't grow at all!
It sounds like lots of fun to share gardening with your son.

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