I had a successful day today - I planted 6 annual sunflower seedlings! There was a lot more to the day's work, of course, but by the time I planted the sunflower seedlings, I felt I was done.
For starters, the temperature reached 88.5F according to my 2 different brands of digital wireless outdoor thermometers*. In April. In the shade. And I didn't spend much of the day in the shade.
My PRIMARY desire for the day was to plant the sunflower seedlings. For some reason, I sow 6 sunflower seeds every Spring, and never get around to planting them before they are too leggy and weak to thrive. They are always "last on the list". Partly, I never have a really good spot to put them. Well, this year I did.
I have mentioned before that I set up 3 edged beds in the back yard. One is for wildflowers, one is for Spring bulbs and daylillies, the last is for bee/butterfly/hummingbird flowers.
In the center of that last (middle) one (only 10' in diameter), I wanted to plant sunflowers as a centerpoint.
But I had trimming to do first. I mowed the lawn 2 days ago and the more constructed beds I create, the more trimming there is. My new Ryobi 40 battery-powered string trimmer does a grand job! But you have to USE it, so I did that first to get it out of the way. It was a lot more work than I expected. The trimmer battery last about 40 minutes; I used that up and set it to recharge.
While I was waiting, I took my hedge-trimmer and dead-headed all the Spring bulbs, and I have more bulbs than I used to (when I could do that with my sheep-sheers).
Still with time before the string trimmer fully charged, I caught up on making more plant labels. I found a great deal on metal plant labels last Fall and got 120 for 50 cents each. Plastic labels just don't last. After that was done for all my existing crops and some specimen hostas, I went back at trimming the yard with the string trimmer. It takes longer to trim than to mow the whole yard! And I was using it to cut down an invasive vine, an invasive self-sowing spreading loosestrife (Lysimachia Firecracker) shipped to me in error as a Coreopsis, and some self-sowing Salvia(?) perennial I regret ever planting. I'll keep cutting them down until they all die!
I was pretty much used up for the day, but remembered the sunflowers. I HAD to plant them, sweaty and tired as I was. My idea was to set a 1' diameter 2' tall wire cage in the center of the bed and plant the sunflowers around it attached to the cage. I measured out the center and set the cage there with some stakes to hold it in place firmly and used an auger to drill 6 holes around it. It was awkward reaching around the cage to set the seedlings in while not stepping on newly-emerging hummer/bee/butterfly seedlings, but I managed it.
I have a couple hundred plant clips (another good deal I found, and endlessly useful), and supported the sunflower seedlings to the cage with the clips. The clips are about 1" around, so they wont restrict the stems.
Support 2' high should help the sunflowers stay upright, but if not, I can attach a 2nd cage on top of the 1st. Yes, I should have just planted the sunflower seeds directly and they would have been sturdier. But I always try to rush the season by starting them indoors. Next year, I will sow them direct.
But for once, they are planted and have a chance.