Friday, March 22, 2013

Pooka's sunflowers vs. Commercial ones

Last year we tried saving sunflower seeds. Thinking this would be a good test and we wouldn't be out much. We had planted commercial sunflowers, but the volunteer sunflowers (the ones that grew from seeds left there by previous plantings) seemed to have done better. Being that we didn't want to discriminate, we harvested all the seeds. Some Pooka and I roasted about half of them and saved the other half. 

The Pooka's sunflowers
Pooka's sunflowers as we have come to call them have been given away. They were in the goodie bags for Pooka's party and some were given away at our impromptu seed swap. But the real reason to keep some were to start our own seeds. Maybe one day I can stop buying sunflower seeds.

Well, this year I wanted to see the difference between a Pooka Sunflower vs. the mammoth sunflowers that we had planted last year. Being the scientists we are, the experiment was born to test for differences. First Pooka's sunflowers and the Mammoth sunflowers were planted in the same seed starter (next to one another) and both were given 9 cells with 2-3 seeds per cell.

Mammoth sunflowers vs Pooka's sunflowers
On first glimpse, you can see there is a very large difference in the germination rate between the Mammoth ones vs Pooka's. The Mammoth ones (seen on the left) almost all sprouted and grew quite well. The Pooka sunflowers only about 3 of the cells sprouted. Or so we thought.

Given a few days, a few more sprouted. All have survived their transplants into the pots. They don't stand as high due to the bit of a light issue we have (aka, they are doing alot of reaching towards the sun).

Pooka vs. Mammoth sunflowers
At this stage, the Pooka sunflowers have now reached 4 pot which holds the sunflowers from 6 of the 9 cells as compared to the 8 pots that holds 8 of the 9 cells from the Mammoth sunflowers. The Pooka ones are smaller, and there are fewer in the same spots. The mammoth ones are growing fast and seem to be doing very well. The real test comes when we put them outside and see how they do and how they flower. But for now, I think the Pooka sunflower's are doing okay for a first attempt.

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