Sunflower is a plant of the Aster family. The culture is grown for oily seeds. On the gardens there are also ornamental species. At dachas, it is better to grow not oilseed, but a special rodent sunflower with large seeds.
Sunflower is a good honey plant. The plant attracts a lot of bees and other pollinating insects to the site.
Modern varieties of sunflower unpretentious. However, knowledge of the technology and some biological and agrotechnical features of the culture will be useful to anyone who is going to grow it.
Preparing for landing
Sunflower - an annual plant up to 5 meters high. On each stalk one or several baskets ripen. The fruit of the sunflower seed is called. In the seeds of modern varieties and hybrids there is a shell layer that protects the kernel from damage by sunflower moth.
A site for sunflower is dug up in the fall, so that moisture formed by melting snow could accumulate and remain in the loose soil. Dig as deep as possible, at least on the spade bayonet. In the spring, before sowing, they carry out minimal tillage — they are leveled with a rake, and, if necessary, they pass through the Fokin's flat-cutter to destroy the shoots of perennial weeds.
Before sowing, seeds are seeded by clearing phytopathogenic fungi that cause rot from spores. The most effective drug Fundazol. This systemic and contact fungicide protects against powdery mildew, spotting, root and gray rot. Disinfectants work during the week after sowing.
Seeds for 3 hours immersed in a solution of fungicide - 10 gr. funds diluted in 0.5 liters of water. Instead of Fundazol, you can use Maxim. Treated seeds are stored no more than 2 days before sowing.
Growth regulators increase seed germination, accelerate the growth and development of plants. Sunflower seeds are soaked in a solution of Appin or Zircon. The growth regulator should be chosen depending on the region’s climate. Epin gives the plant resistance to cold, Zircon - to drought.
Treatment with regulators can be combined with dressing. Together with the treaters, you can use another growth stimulator - Humate Kalia. For seed treatment, it is diluted with water 1:20.
Sunflowers grow well on chernozem and meadow chernozem soils, preferring soils with a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction. The plant does not like clay soils, giving maximum yield on loams and sandy loams.
Where to plant
Sunflower suffers from diseases and pests, therefore it is demanding for crop rotation. The best precursors of sunflower are maize and castor oil. Plants return to their former place no earlier than in 5-6 years, in some cases in the fourth year.
Sunflowers are not placed after crops that have common diseases with it:
You can start sowing when the soil at the depth of seed placement warms up to 10 degrees. At this temperature, the seeds start growing quickly and amicably, their germination rises. If you sow earlier, in cold soil, they will not germinate for a long time and some will rot in the ground, which will lead to a thinning of the landings.
The standard sowing depth is 4-6 cm. In arid climate, seeds are sown deeper - by 6-10 cm, and on clay soil in a cold damp spring it is enough to lower the seeds to a depth of 5-6 cm.
How to sow
Sunflower sown in rows. The distance between the rows is 70 cm. This planting pattern allows you to manually weed weeds and provides each plant with sufficient feeding area. When thickened, the conditions of nutrition and illumination deteriorate, so the baskets will be small and the seeds will be puny.
The sunflower root system is able to use water that is inaccessible to other cultivated plants, as it penetrates deeper. Nature has endowed sunflowers with the ability to maximize the use of rain and irrigation water, sucking it with small roots, located in the upper part of the fertile soil layer.
Even a small amount of rainwater will not pass by the plant, but will roll down the leaves to the stem and moisten the soil in the area of small roots. The presence of small roots next to the stem must be remembered during loosening, since at this time the small roots are damaged.
Despite adaptability to drought, sunflowers need to be watered, and the plant needs moisture at all stages of growth. Culture makes a lot of nutrients out of the soil, especially potassium. As for the removal of potassium, it has no equal at all.
Sunflower has to be fertilized at all stages of agricultural technology:
- before sowing;
- when sowing;
- to feed during the growing season.
Plants absorb nutrients unevenly. Before flowering, when roots and above-ground parts are actively growing, a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus are consumed. When baskets appear, phosphorus intake drops sharply. Potassium is needed for sunflowers from the beginning to the end of the growing season, but especially a lot - before flowering.
Nutrients act on the sunflower differently.
- Nitrogen - enhances growth, helps the plant to form larger baskets. Excess lengthens the growing season, contributes to lodging.
- Phosphorus - necessary for the development of the root system and fruiting. With a lack of baskets, many empty cells are formed. Phosphorus is important at the beginning of development - up to the fourth pair of leaves. Phosphorus nutrition helps plants consume better moisture, which is why they suffer less from drought. Enhanced phosphate nutrition reduces watering.
- Potassium - contributes to the formation of tasty grains and increases yield. On soils poor in potassium, the stalks of sunflowers become brittle and thin, young leaves turn into brown patches, growth slows down. To do without such problems, it is necessary to apply a sufficient amount of potash fertilizer to the soil.
- Boron - can not be synthesized in the plant, so it has to be made with complex fertilizers. With a lack of trace elements, growth points begin to suffer. Sunflower is more sensitive to boron than most agricultural plants. With acute shortages, growth points die off completely. If the boron is not enough for the late development of sunflower, the baskets will be filled with empty flowers and there will be little seed.
Fertilizers are applied in the fall under digging or in spring in the ribbons simultaneously with the sowing. You can not use the tuki in the spring apart, as this leads to the loss of nutrients. It is better to apply phosphate fertilizers in the fall in rows, and nitrogen and potash fertilizers fall asleep in the spring when sowing.
If desired, during the growing season spend liquid fertilizer mullein. Organic matter does not need to be carried away, since an excess of nitrogen makes plants less resistant to drought and disease.
A serious problem in sunflower crops are weeds. The sunflower will have to be weeded at least three times. Weeds not only interfere with the growth of young plants, obscuring the sun, but also compete with them for water and nutrition.
After the end of pollination, when grains are poured in baskets, birds can cause damage: starlings, pigeons, sparrows. To protect against feathered heads wrap with several layers of gauze.
When to harvest
The sunflower is removed when the back side of the basket turns yellow, reed flowers wither and fall off, and the seed color will take on the standard intensity for the variety. On a sunflower, most leaves should dry out at the time of harvest.
In the garden sunflower ripens unevenly. Therefore, cleaning is carried out in several stages, selectively.
The best regions for landing
Sunflower is a typical plant of the steppe and forest-steppe strip. More than 70% of the world crop is grown in Russia and Ukraine.
The best regions for growing sunflower:
- The Volga region;
- south of Russia;
- Rostov region;
- Krasnodar region;
- The central part of Russia.
Most sunflower is grown in areas (descending):
- Altai region;
- Krasnodar region;
- Stavropol region.
Summer residents of these areas can plant sunflower without fear of crop failure. In the more northern climate - the North-Western District, the Urals, Siberia, the Far East, sunflowers for personal use are grown through seedlings or sown in the open ground the most early ripening varieties - Buzuluk, etc.