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Sunflowers Offer Sustenance and Sustainability!

Plant sunflower seeds 1 to 2 inches deep after the last threat of frost. Space seeds 6 inches apart for smaller varieties and 12 inches apart for taller varieties. Once seedlings emerge, be sure to thin out as needed. Rows need to be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart...

Choose a planting site in your garden with fertile soil and ample daily sunlight (the spot should receive at least six to eight hours of light per day). Sow sunflower seeds 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil. Water the seeds with a warm splash of water daily until you see sprouts, which should take about seven days.

As the planet gets hotter and drier, farmers across the globe will lean more heavily on sunflower crops to help hedge against the effects of human-caused climate change. These hardy plants don't need as much water as other crops, nor inputs like fertilizer. Unlike other crops in the case of sunflowers, elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere and elevated temperatures on Carbon Metabolism in sunflower plants is not harmful. Elevated levels of CO2 actually increase the photosynthetic rate of sunflowers; therefore, crop growth and productivity are increased.

Furthermore, sunflowers require less water and fertilizer compared to other crops, making them an eco-friendly choice for farmers. By choosing to incorporate sunflower seeds and products like Sunflower nut butter and sunflower cooking oil into their diet, individuals can support sustainable agriculture and reduce their carbon footprint. Sunflower seeds are a nutritious snack, rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, supporting healthy skin, boosting immune function, and promoting heart health. Sunflower seeds are actually so high in nutrients that they're considered a superfood. Additionally, their high content of essential minerals contributes to improved bone health and overall well-being.

All varieties of sunflowers are edible, but larger, gray and white striped seeds are meatier and tastier than the smaller dark oilseed varieties. Sunflowers are generally produced as either black oil seed or striped seed (also known as confectionary) type. Generally, the black oil seed varieties are used for oil and the striped varieties are mostly used as snack food.“Sunflower is a great companion plant for tomatoes because it attracts stink bugs,”

The wild sunflower Helianthus annuus, one of 70 species in the genus, is found in any sunny, dry open place, often as a weed in cultivated fields of North America, from the Mississippi and Pacific Coast, south to Mexico and beyond.

Growing up to 4.5m tall it has rough, coarsely toothed, leaves and large, flat, ‘daisy’ flowers in branched clusters atop stiff, green stems. Cultivated by North American Indians as early as 3000 BC for oil, medicine and textile dyes, they were introduced to Europe by the Spanish around 1500. By the 18th century, they were popular in gardens and by 1769 were being developed extensively for cooking oil production, particularly in Russia.


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