Sunflower Plateau


Sunflowers on South Field Plateau

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. Especially the Mammouth variety which can grow to 12′, taller than our cottage. I plant them around the cottage every year and they shade our windows in the hotter months.
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The sunflowers pictured above are black oil sunflowers out on the south field. These are soaking up nutrients from the winter paddock where some of the pigs spend the cold season. During the warm months these areas are gardens where we grow food for the following fall and winter to feed the livestock.

The air (CO2 & N2) feeds the plants feed the livestock who feed the plants who feed the livestock who feed customers and us.

Outdoors: 72°F/57°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/64°F

Daily Spark: You know you’re farming when your tractor costs over 10 times the value of your home.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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12 Responses to Sunflower Plateau

  1. jaz says:

    my sunflowers are about 2 feet tall and skinnier than a pencil. what the h? i am doing something wrong!

    • It could be a bunch of things. If they can’t get enough nutrients they would be like that. Lack of root space, too small a planter, compacted soil, shade, lack of water are all possibilities. Are they in dug ground, a pot or hard ground? The ones in my compost piles do the best. They’re giants with thick stalks, huge dark leaves and big heads of seed. The compost piles are soft soil and highly nutritious. The high organic content holds water well so they’re never thirsty.

  2. Ender says:

    How do you ever plant so much? Or keep it all weeded? I have a little 10 by 20 garden and I can’t even keep up with that.

    • Most of our plantings we don’t weed. Instead I plant things that out thrive any weeds and are in the winter paddocks which have few weeds to begin with. The pumpkins, sunchokes, sunflowers, beets, kale, etc are great competition for weeds. Realize that “weeds” have a lot of feed value too so that works out well since we’re growing for the livestock and they’ll harvest the food themselves.

      To plant, we mostly do broadcast seeding with the frosts, storms and mobs. This cuts down on the labor and means we don’t have to run tractors on our steep hills. Some of the plateaus are now large enough that I may try using the tractor to rake in seed next year as an experiment. We also do some pokey seeding for some things in small areas, a few acres, but the broadcast seeding is what we use for most of the farm.

  3. Johan van der Merwe says:

    Hi Walter, do you use the sunflower also to feed the pigs?

  4. Erika says:

    Hi Walter – A little off topic of sunflowers but along the feeding conversation – do you finish your pigs with whey? I do goats whey on my American Guinea Hogs but have heard from people to not finish them on the whey as it will leave a bitter taste to the meat. I am not sure i believe this, plus i have been a long time reader of your blog and I am not quite sure i remember you mentioning that.

    • Bogus. Whey gives the meat and fat a wonderful sweet flavor. We feed whey from before weaning right up to finishing and to the breeder adults.

      • Erika says:

        Thanks for the info – its incredible really how many “myths” are out there about pigs.. Well at least it has been my experience.

        • After hearing so many different myths, not just about pigs, I suspect that the way in which a lot, perhaps most, of the myths develop is that people have or hear of an anecdotal incident but don’t understand it and they assign values to the wrong parts of the evidence coming to a conclusion that creates a myth. Fortunately, most of them are pretty easy to test scientifically to verify if they are true or not. A little science goes a long ways. Teach your kids the scientific method of investigation, logic and reasoning!

  5. Nicola says:

    I have grown sunflower to feed my chickens in the winter (amongst other things). We do get mice in the barn so I was thinking of drying the heads in the sun then storing them in onion sacks that I can hang from the ceiling (there are a lot of hooks on the ceiling already). To feed them should I just give them a whole head or take the seeds off the head after their dry and store them in a bucket? Thanks Walter!

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