Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Plant Sunflower Houses!

Dear Folks,

If you have children or grandchildren and a spot in the garden, it is time to plant a sunflower house in the desert garden (wait about a month for other areas).

I've mentioned sunflower houses and teepees in other posts and writings.  I first read about them in Susan Lovejoy's wonderful book "Sunflower Houses" a wonderful gardening / teaching tool for children.  You can order the book here.  Either of these "hideaways" will delight your budding gardener.

a) Create Tee Pees using 8-foot garden bamboo poles bundled and tied tightly 1 foot from the top. Prepare the ground for the garden. Spread the legs of the Tee Pee and anchor in the ground. Plant pea, cucumber, or other edible vines at the base of each pole, and allow them to grow and cover the teepee.

b) Sunflower Houses are created using the growing sunflowers for the poles of the house. Prepare the planting area and decide how wide and long you want the house to be  ex. 4' x 6'  and draw the dimensions in the soil, leaving an opening for the 'door.'  Mammoth sunflowers (those that grow over 6 feet) are best for this. Plant the sunflower seeds 2 or 3 to a hole, about 1 foot apart all along the 'walls' of the house. In between the sunflower seeds, sow edible vines like peas or cucumbers. Given the water requirements, creating a trench for the walls will allow flood watering for the growing plants. These houses can be as elaborate as you and your children wish. Plant flower or strawberry beds along the outside walls; herb and flower ground covers inside for a 'carpet' are limited only to the imagination. The vines grow up the sunflowers and if they are enthusiastic enough, will even grow over the top of a narrow room creating a ceiling.

c) do teach the children about bees, leaving them alone and avoiding them when they are "working" the flowers.

I truly believe that if you teach your children to garden they will always have options in their life regardless of jobs or economy.

Have a wonderful time 'springing' into the garden!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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