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darrenperrett 

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Anyone know anything about sunflowers?
I have two 1/4 acre pig paddocks that I rotovate and plant when not growing bacon. Last year I planted swedes for the pigs, this spring i might grow some sunflowers but there seem to be so many varieties, many without pollen, I don`t know which to choose. Smaller (or lower) would be preferable so they don`t get blown over.
Any suggestions?

Darren.
 

MJBee 

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:iagree: The black seeds are the way to go, the white sunflower seed produce plants up to 8 feet tall which cannot cope with wind and finish up as a tangled mess which doesn't ripen. The black ones do produce both nectar and pollen, the honey is the colour of custard:) and very tasty.
:cheers2: Mike
 

darrenperrett 

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Thanks Mjbee and HP.
I`ll pick up some black seeds over the next few weeks.
 

plumber 

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go out and buy your own the ones in the dish are the rabbits
 

Hombre 

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If you want a great abundance try the petshop. They seem to have stopped selling loose of late, so you get to buy a kilo, instead of the 50g you really wanted.
 

darrenperrett 

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Thanks everyone for the info. I usually just think of something to plant as ground cover before the next pigs go in the paddock. It just got a bit confusing when i started looking at all the varieties.
I think I`ll get some seeds from a petshop and see what happens. Maybe I`ll mix in a handful of borage seeds for luck.:nature-smiley-014:
 

MJBee 

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Quote I think I`ll get some seeds from a petshop and see what happens. Maybe I`ll mix in a handful of borage seeds for luck unquote

Your bees will love you - borage yummy.
 

Hombre 

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The Pet City(?) at Oldbury Green got re-branded/taken over and the loose seeds got replaced by whacking great packets at whacking great cost. :ack2:
 

peteinwilts 

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I planted several hundred sunflowers near one of my hives of about a dozen different varieties to see which would work best.

The rabbits took quite a few when they were less than a foot tall, and ate many of the smaller variaties almost to extinction (on the farm anyway!).
Once too high, they were left alone, but they did need protecting from the slugs.

The sunflowers started coming out at the same time as the wild mint. Although the sunflowers attracted hundreds and some REALLY massive bumblebees and lots of butterflys, the honeybees were not interested in the slightest...

they stayed locked on the mint throughout.

for me, other than seeds for the parrot, the exercise did not really work with the constant battles with slugs, rabbits and deer. I probably made it difficult for myself as in the early part of the summer, as i watered and fed them on a regular basis as they kept wilting and going pale.
Overall, in my circumstances, they were a lot more trouble than they were worth...

I am trying a few thousand lavender plants this year!! hopefully rabbit, deer and slug proof and they drink very little!! :hat:
 

admin 

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My bees were covering wild mint last year,they seemed to go mad for it.
 

Norm 

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I am trying a few thousand lavender plants this year!! hopefully rabbit, deer and slug proof and they drink very little!! :hat:
Which type of lavender are you going to plant? I have Lavender Multifida growing wild all around my apiary. It flowers constantly throughout the year except for the height of summer. Bees love it.

There is a photo here
 

peteinwilts 

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Which type of lavender are you going to plant? I have Lavender Multifida growing wild all around my apiary. It flowers constantly throughout the year except for the height of summer. Bees love it.

There is a photo here
that is french lavender, isn't it??... if so, it is the fussier of the genus so you are doing well!

I have a few hundred cuttings of different types already rooted which I have begged, borrowed and stole, but am buying a few thousand seeds from a commercial supplier to bulk out and was going to try a few different types. I will definetely include this one!!

i'll buy by latin name just in case!

cheers
Pete
 

peteinwilts 

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Sounds good to me, my allotment is surrounded by patches of wild mint
Mint loves the damp. One of my hives is near a stream and mint covers a couple of hundred yards of the bank... the bees seemed to ignore everything else!
 

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