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Succession planting sunflowers

The easiest way to succession plant sunflowers is to grow several single-stem varieties with different days to maturity, planting them all at once, and then harvesting over many weeks. Single-stem varieties are uniform and predictable about bloom times during the main season, and about a week slower in early spring and fall.

Here are the average days to maturity for the most popular single-stem commercial varieties:

By planting some of each variety, you can have sunflowers blooming for a month from a single planting date. Thus, you need to start seeds once a month, rather than every 10 days, as would be required if you grew only one variety. For example, start some of each series on March 1. ProCuts will be ready April 20-30; Sunrich will be ready April 20 to May 10; and Sun Series will be ready May 10-20. Do a second sowing of each variety on April 1 and that planting will begin to bloom May 20 and continue through June 20. By repeating each month, you can have sunflowers ready for harvest all summer.

Lynn Byczynski is the editor of Growing for Market and the publisher of The Hoophouse Handbook.

Articles by

the author:
Lynn Byczynski was growing organic vegetables and cut flowers for market when she decided to create a magazine that would help market gardeners nationwide share experiences and information. Her first issue of Growing for Market appeared in January 1992 and it has been published continuously since then. GFM is renowned in the market gardening world for realistic articles that give growers practical, how-to information about growing and selling produce and flowers. Lynn is now partnering with Johnny's to provide similarly useful information for the website and other publications.

Lynn, her husband Dan Nagengast, and their two children have grown vegetables and cut flowers since 1988, selling through a CSA, at farmers markets, to chefs, grocery stores, and florists. They currently grow cut flowers and hoophouse tomatoes on about 2 acres of their 20-acre farm near Lawrence, Kansas.

Lynn is also the author of several books about market farming:
The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower's Guide to Raising & Selling Cut Flowers; The Hoophouse Handbook; and Market Farming Success

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