Friday, 11 September 2015

September on the allotment: super sunflowers and losing the battle against the weeds

September on the allotment: super sunflowers and losing the battle against the weeds
Alongside vegetables and fruit crops, many people like to grow flowers on their allotment. Cut flowers from the supermarket can be expensive & often flown halfway around the world. It's nice to be able to cut a few flowers to take them home with your veg. My Mum had the great idea of growing a row of sunflowers on our plot so that we could cut them to have in a vase at home.
giant sunflowers on our allotment plot
However, it didn't turn out quite as planned, we have had a couple small enough to put in a vase, but most of the sunflowers have grown to a massive size. The seed packet didn't say they were giant sunflowers, in fact the actual plants are pretty short, about hip-height, but the flower heads are huge!
It doesn't matter that we haven't been able to take many home to put in a vase because the bees have loved them. Vegetable crops can survive without pollinators, so we've been more than happy to see bees all over the sunflowers. Also, if you leave sunflower heads to dry, birds like to eat the seeds too. Spot the bee in the photo below!
giant sunflowers and pollinating bees
Whatever the size, I love sunflowers. You can't help being cheered up by their sunny yellow petals. I also love the intricate pattern of the seeds in the flower head.
intricate pattern of seeds on a giant sunflower head
a row of sunflowers to cut and put in a vase at home
beautiful sunflowers on our allotment plot
My Mum seems to think the sunflowers have grown so huge due to the volcanic ash she put into the soil last year. Whatever it is, the flowers and the vegetables have done well. But, so have the weeds. I always say that as long as we are getting more vegetables than weeds, then we're ok, but we're on the verge of losing the battle. This Summer has been really wet with burst of warm sunshine inbetween the downpours. Not great for camping or picnics in the Summer holidays, but the plants have loved it. We only need to turn our backs for a few days on our allotment plot and the weeds become rampant.
I think we need to have a major weeding session soon and then cover the unused parts of the plot for Winter. We do still have parsnips, purple sprouting and kale growing and they will stay in over the colder months. I can't wait to try my first ever home-grown parsnips, even if some of them look like curly ram's horns...which will make for an interesting time when I peel them.
sunny sunflowers from our allotment plot

I'm linking up with Country Kids over on www.coombemill.com, Whatever the Weather over on www.lifeunexpected.co.uk and monkeyandmouse.co.uk, Point + Shoot over on youbabymemummy.com and www.snowingindoors.com, Image of the Week #IOTW over on www.trulymadlykids.co.uk and Let Kids be Kids over on letkidsbekids.co.uk.

I'm also linking up with How Does Your Garden Grow over on the beautiful mammasaurus.co.uk

Mammasaurus

18 comments:

Coombe Mill said...

What a beautiful allotment, the bright yellow of the sunflowers really does brighten it up a lot. Sunflowers are always beautiful and I'm sure Magoo loves the colours and watching as the bees come to pollinate them. I hope your home grown parsnips taste great! Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

thejoyoffive.com said...

How wonderful to be able to grow your own produce. Must be so much more rewarding than popping to the supermarket.
I can't believe the size of those sunflowers!! #IOTW

Vicky Charles said...

What beautiful sunflowers. I remember growing them when I was little, but ours grew super tall with small heads. We used to save the seeds to plant next year. I love the photo with the bee as well - a great shot! #IOTW

Aby Moore said...

I love sunflowers, I was so jealous of people who went to sunflower fields this year. Great pictures. Thanks for linking up to #PointShoot x

Chloe Ciliberto said...

They really are super sunflowers. I love sunflowers, they're such a happy flower and really make me feel summery. I can't believe how big the heads are on these! They're incredible! It's so lovely that they're bringing the bees into the allotment. Happy bees = happy garden! Good luck with the parnsips and the weeding. I'd love to have a little allotment one days. It's such a brilliant idea and a great place to take little ones to learn about where food comes from and how to look after things. Thank you so much for linking this to #whatevertheweather. x

Caro Davies said...

Gosh — what a HUGE sunflower!! I love them too — you're so right — they make you feel happy just looking at them don't they? We've just taken on an allotment. I'm so looking forward to spending some time down there! #CountryKids

Jenny Eaves said...

I am amazed by the size of your sunflowers! They are fantastic! I tried planting some with the boys this year but they didn't grow at all, it was so wet that the slugs seem to have eaten most seeds, got better plans for next year. Love how huge these are, are you going to plant the seeds from them for next year? Well done on encouraging more bees, they are definitely in need of some help. And thanks for reminding me to check where I am on the allotment list too, I was offered a plot last year just after my littlest was born and asked if they could move me down the list a little bit as I couldn't do enough at the time. Hoping to be offered again soon! :)
Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

Me, You and Magoo said...

We can't believe how big they've grown either :) We had one growing at home & it was chewed to bits by slugs...but at the allotment, they have been indestructible! I think we will save some seeds & see if we have the same luck next year.

Michelle Ashmore said...

Wow, I don't think I've ever seen sunflower heads so big! They're wonderful :)

Sara HandyHerbs said...

Wow! What wonderful pictures!! Love sunflowers (yellow and sunny) and that one is so big! Good luck with the parsnips. We love growing things here too. Thanks for sharing #LetKidsBeKids

Sara Murray said...

Oh my goodness, those sunflowers are massive! Fabulous :) #letkidsbekids

Karen Bell said...

Sounds like you've been doing well on the allotment. Those sunflowers are beautiful, I've never seen one as big as a head before! I bet your daughter's enjoying it.
Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

Truly Madlykids said...

They are magnificent! Well done for growing such beauties! Thanks for linking up to #iotw

Eco Gites of LĂ©nault said...

I am definitely losing the battle with the weeds but my overwintering regime of manuring and covering them with weed suppressing fabric gets me back on track by spring. As for those sunflowers - they are amazing. Mine were numerous this year but all small.

Happy Homebird said...

Goodness, huge sunflower heads! Love them! I grow sunflowers on my plot for the bees but mainly to annoy a sunflower hating man on the allotment - he, he, he :)

chickenruby said...

wow those sunflowers are huge. after 3 weeks in the UK i've returned home to a sand pit full of weeds, i'm amazed at how well the weeds grow despite the lack of water

Me, You and Magoo said...

How can anyone hate sunflowers Happy Homebird?! You should definitely keep growing them just to get on his nerves :)

Mammasaurus said...

WOAH! MEGA! I did a double take at that first photo!

I do regret not planting any this year - though one of Ozzys from last year came up this year and sprouted 15 smaller heads on the one stalk - bonkers!

That's a lot of seeds you are going to have there now.

Happy happy colours - glorious - and thank you for joining in again x

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