2 Feb 2014

Sprouts


Not of the brussels variety, but sunflower sprouts!  Seedheads were cut off the sunflowers in the autumn of last year and, as usual, left out to provide winter food for wildlife. Cue one exceptionally mild and extremely wet winter - and this is the result.

The seeds have sprouted!  ...which demonstrates nicely why seeds should be grown in a relatively nutrient poor compost - all they need to get started is contained in the seed itself. So clever. Sunflowers don't like being transplanted so, if I'm to make use of these little plants, I'll have to act quickly to get them potted up.  Or I could eat them.  Sunflower sprouts are deliciously crunchy and nutritious in a salad but only at this sprouting stage before the first true leaves are formed.

During previous colder winters, all the seeds have vanished; I know there are plenty of sparrows, tits, starlings and a couple of wood pigeons (as well as the urban sky-rat variety of pigeon) flapping around the veg gardens so I conclude that the winter has been mild enough for them to forage elsewhere for food. Presumably on the berry-laden shrubs nearby.

Amazingly, today being Sunday, the sun is shining - and for the second morning in a row! Raspberry canes were cut back yesterday and I'm about to do more work in the veg garden today. I have the rather onerous task of clearing the beds of fox/cat poo, clearing off all the top soil because of that, topping up the beds and netting them off with chicken wire. Hopefully that will keep animals out because, frankly, I don't fancy eating root veg grown in what's in there at the moment.  Eeeeuuuwww.

Back later with an end of month round up.

24 comments:

  1. An unpleasant task ahead of you. It is lovely gardening weather here too, I'm hoping to get out to finishing off weeding a border later on.

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    1. Unfortunately, it's a task I've become very accustomed to. :-( I daren't hope that the sunshine will last, plus the gardens are shaded in the afternoon and very chilly, so need to get out and get on with things! It's all go from here on in!!

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  2. Shows how mild it is that those seeds are sprouting. We had a patch underneath the bird feeder where all sorts of things were sprouting. Really feel for you on the poo front. I have that job waiting for me at some point. It's the main reason why I stopped growing edibles in the garden. The cats even use pots. The sun is out here at the moment but it never lasts very long before another black looming cloud dumps yet more rain. Still it'll give me time to get my bulb and seed order done. Enjoy your Sunday. :)

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    1. I've also noticed lots of orache seedlings popping up and little polemonium plants (the Jacob's ladder ones) sprinkled all around the parent plant. Everything is definitely bursting into life but I'm too realistic to think that spring is here just yet! You have the right idea of using the wet down time to carry on with indoor tasks - would be interested to know which bulbs you're ordering!

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  3. I don't envy you today's task. It's amazing how sunflower seeds have sprouted already, it just goes to show how mild it's been. It's a lovely sunny day here too today, it makes such a change for it to be bright, it's been so dull just lately.

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    1. Sunny days always inspire me to get more done, Jo. I've loved being outside today although it's been to the detriment of other things getting done. We've really been let off lightly this winter, although there's still time for cold weather. Hope the aphid problem isn't too awful as a result!

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  4. Interesting. Yes the mild winter has made a difference for the birds.
    I enjoyed spending a couple of hours on a rather soggy plot this morning. Flighty xx

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    1. The wet soil is my excuse for not weeding yet, Flighty, but there's plenty more to be done so I feel as though I've had a most productive day having spent nearly all day outside!

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  5. We always find sunflower shoots under the bird tables where seeds have been scattered too. I think maybe field mice climb the sunflower stems to access the seeds too.

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    1. My neighbour who overlooks the veg garden told me that she's seen squirrels running up and down the sunflower stems last summer taking the seeds from the flower heads! This year I cut the flower heads off as I had lots of seedlings popping up among my veg last year!

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  6. In view of the cat poo problem, I'd be wary of eating those sunflower sprouts! We've had a brilliant weekend weather-wise too, so I have got a lot done in the garden. It's so nice to be outdoors in the sunshine for a change.

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    1. The sprouting sunflower seeds are in a raised basket off the ground Mark but even so I prefer to sow sunflower seeds in a seed tray for micro green eating! I'll be changing the soil and netting off the beds immediately after soil change before I'm tempted to eat anything grown here - how on earth do allotmenteers manage, I wonder? I also had a day outside (albeit in the shade) and it felt really good to be outdoors getting things done, especially since more rain is forecast!

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  7. Quite a unique after effect of a mild winter, that the sunflower seeds didn't disappear and they had the chance to sprout!

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    1. Indeed! I was quite stunned when I saw them and, as the cases have now softened nicely, I'm thinking to do a bit of guerilla gardening around the flats! I expect this mild winter has suited your lovely tropical garden very well, let's hope spring really is on the way!

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  8. The perks of a mild winter making themselves evident Caro :) I noticed today that my hardy fuchsia has retained its leaves which is something that has never happened before. I managed to potter for an hour or two this afternoon despite the cold winter and felt so much better for it. Glad to read that you've had a productive weekend apart from the not so pleasant jobs on your to do list.

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    1. Oh, it's been great to have an extended potter in the garden - in my view, it's what Sunday afternoons are for! I layered up well yesterday (Sunday) and managed to get loads done by staying out for over 4 hours … bliss! Amazing that a slightly warmer winter will allow hardy shrubs to stay evergreen, and rather nice too!

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  9. Cats are a mixed blessing - good for keeping the mouse and rabbit population in check, but clearing up after them is a horrible job. Your sunflower seedlings are looking healthy, and free plants are always good... well, except the weeds of course.

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    1. Lovely to meet you via the Garden Share Collective, Gardendeli - thanks for visiting and commenting! I was about to say that I don't get rabbits, being in an urban area, but I have seen rabbits in the long grass by the railway line adjacent to our flats! Foxes are my challenge so cats really just present their problem side to me. I'm hoping that netting is the answer!

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  10. Interesting. It usually happen on my zinnias. I have planned to grow sun flower on my garden, but too much rain make me canceled.

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    1. Oh, try anyway, Endah! Sunflowers are such gorgeous flowers, I grow them every year, many of them self-seeded and the seeds survive all the winter snow and spring rains. This year I'm growing shorter sunflowers in the veg garden and sprinkling seeds of taller sunflowers around the other gardens! ;)

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  11. I'm very impressed with your sprouting sunflowers, it just proves that it really has been mild this year so far. I hope you manage to keep some of them going for flowers later in the year.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny- yes, me too, I love to see sunflowers growing around the gardens here, they always bring a taste of summer sunshine with them!

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  12. Well, you live and learn eh??? Sprouting sunflower seeds are edible...gosh! Don't they look good sprouting away like that.....our winter really is very mild this year. Oh good luck with the clean up, yes you wouldn't want that in your soil.xxx

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    1. Yes, they are - and very tasty too, nice and crunchy! Not so nice once they've got their first true leaves though so you have to be quick! Having got through December and January with mild weather, we'll all start expecting bad weather in February now, eh?! Clean up is underway - first bed done and safety net holding against intruders over the past week - hurray!

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