Around The Farm: One Sassy Sunflower

Stop and smell that sunflower…it has a lovely fragrance!

There’s a volunteer sunflower growing close to the duck coop. It was probably a stray seed that the fowl missed, a seed that luckily landed in the damp soil where it wasn’t spotted and then germinated. This sunflower turns its face to the sun in the morning, as if to greet the new day. I like sunflowers, and I especially like the ones that just pop up (seemingly) out of nowhere.

I once had a patch of volunteer sunflowers grow in an area where a chicken tractor had been. It was such fun watching the plants grow, completely on their own – you have to marvel at their resilience. These plants put out really interesting flowers: some were the typical single flower heads, but others had multiple small heads. We mowed carefully around them to ensure that they weren’t damaged.

Unfortunately, the fowl had other ideas; the ducks, in particular, began to eat the sunflowers before the seeds could ripen. They, along with the chickens, ate the stalks and leaves, and finally decimated the heads. They did the same thing to volunteer oats that had also grown from treats the fowl had missed. Clearly, edible volunteers aren’t safe around the fowl.

This sunflower is partially protected by avian netting, so I think it has a good chance of producing mature seeds…and then, the cycle can begin again. Those fowl have sharp eyes, though, and I won’t be entirely surprised if they figure out a way to get to this sunflower. In the meantime, though, I’ll enjoy its cheery countenance. With some luck, this may morph into a “farm foraging” (harvesting?) post someday.

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