Sunflowers

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At the Cupp farm we plant a very big garden.  Not only do we grow food for ourselves, but we also provide food for members of our community.  When Farmer Mike plants the garden, he put everything in rows.  The potatoes, corn, green beans, onions………….all the vegetables grow up in nice long rows.  Sometimes, there will be seeds that come up voluntarily from previous years in the middle of a row that we have planted.  So, we might have a squash or a pumpkin or some other type of vegetable grow up in a row of beans, for instance.  We call these vegetables that spring up “volunteers”.  There is one type of “volunteer” in our garden that we love to see and that is the beautiful, bright sunflower.  Farmer Mike’s dad planted the original sunflowers years ago and each year the plants come up voluntarily all over the garden where the seeds have dropped from the previous years and where the birds have spread them.

Sunflower seeds are the seeds favored by most seed-eating birds, some 40 species including cardinals, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, house and purple finches, American goldfinches, brown-headed nuthatches, and red-bellied woodpeckers, to name a few. One of the neat things about sunflower seeds is that even the birds that can’t break open the sunflower’s tough seed coat eat sunflower seeds. Birds like dark-eyed juncos often feed on the bits and pieces of sunflower meats left by larger birds.  ~ Information taken from The Best Seeds for Backyard Birds written by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

 

 Sunny Sunflower

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Sunflowers all different sizes

Line a garden wall.

Some are short and cheery

Others strong and tall.

Starting as a tiny seed

Growing quickly like a weed.

Whatever size they are, you see,

Each is special

Just like Me!

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 Interesting Facts about the sunflower:

*Sunflowers attract birds who like to eat the seeds.  (The seeds are good for boys and girls to eat as well!)

*Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants. They can grow 8 to 12 feet tall in rich soil within six months. (It require only 90 to 100 days from planting to maturity)

*Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base.

*A well-known sunflower characteristic is that the flowering heads appear to track the sun’s movement, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.
 
*One sunflower can have up to 2000 seeds.
 
*There are two types of sunflower seeds:  black and striped.  (Snacks are made from striped seeds.  Oil is made from black seeds.)
 
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Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers

 

A very famous artist named Vincent Van Gogh created paintings of Sunflowers.   You can find out more about Mr. Van Gogh at this link where you will also find pages you can print out and color, art projects and other fun things to help you learn and remember this well known artist.  And here is link to a page with additional crafts, snacks and activities for children to learn about sunflowers.

And finally, here is a link to A Kindergarten Life For Me where you can find instructions for using hand print painting to make a sunflower design.

Note:   (Photo of Analia Cruz taken in our garden by Miscellaneous Media Photography )

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