Growing giant sunflowers
Now is a good time to plant sunflowers. Russian Giant sunflowers are especially easy to grow and will grow up to 3metres/10 feet tall if given plenty of room - Jack and the beanstalk proportions! They are a beautiful variety of sunflower with huge yellow flowers 30cm/12inches in diameter. The seeds are also delicious and can be eaten as a snack by you (toasted with a sprinkling of soya sauce) or by birds in your garden.
At this time of year you should be able to plant them directly where they are to grow outside, however if you're worried about frost at all, you can plant them inside until it's a bit warmer.
What you will need:
Packet of Russian Giant sunflower seeds
If planting indoors - small plant pots (roughly 7.5 cm/3 inches wide) with moist seed compost in them
Bamboo poles or stakes once the sunflowers grow taller and have been planted outside
1. If planting directly outside, sow the seeds around 45cm/21 inches apart or if planting indoors, sow the seeds individually into each pot. Make a small hole in the soil with your finger (around 12 mm/ .5 inches deep) and then push two or three sunflower seeds into the hole and cover it over with soil. If indoors, place the pots on a sunny windowsill. The seedlings should appear within 7 - 14 days. Give them a small amount of water each day.
When planting outside choose a sunny spot where the sunflowers will be facing the sun, so they don't end up with their backs to you!
2. If you've planted them indoors, wait until the plants have grown a few inches tall and they look healthy and strong before planting them outdoors.
3. The sunflowers can be attached to a stake or bamboo stick once they grow a bit taller using string or soft garden twine.
4. Water them regularly. If you add a nitrogen liquid feed to them, every two weeks or so it will help them flourish, however this is not absolutely necessary.
5. You could have a competition to see who grows the tallest sunflower!