Some of you have been writing and asking where my wife Lois and I get the seeds to grow the 12-foot-tall sunflowers we’ve been growing in our Benicia, Calif., garden. Since you asked:
My husband Jim would like to know what kind of sunflower seeds you buy that grow to 12 feet tall with a stalk of 3-4 inches in diameter and where to purchase them.
Sharon Beckerich, Oakley, Calif.
Dear Sharon (and others):
Garden supply stores and many hardware stores have seed racks that display packets of seeds for growing just about every kind of plant you can imagine, and probably a few you can’t. I’ve found two brands and kinds of tall sunflower seeds:
*** Burpee Mammoth Sunflower (Girasol gigante) grows to 12 feet tall.
*** Lane Valley Seed Mammoth Gray Stripe Sunflower (helianthus annuus) grows to 8-10 feet tall.
Lois and I like to plant the Burpee Mammoth Sunflowers. They’re like trees and when we plant them here and there around our garden boxes, they REALLY spice up the garden and make it a LOT of fun. (The fox squirrels also spend all their time climbing these giants and checking out the sunflower seeds and ignore the rest of our vegetables.)
When the sunflower blossoms dry and the seeds are ready, I cut off the huge blossom heads (I had one that weighed 14 pounds!) and hang them on the fence for a squirrel smorgasbord. The squirrels get what they want, and we get what we want … a vegetable garden untouched by squirrels. /Gary