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  • Donna

Our Field Experiment

This spring Paul challenged me to grow a field of sunflowers. It was a hectic spring and I was doubtful that I'd get anything accomplished, but little by little, I planted a few. My thought was that if I could just plant a few rows successfully this year, maybe next year we could do the whole field. That ambitious endeavor may require a larger tiller but hey, TSC loves to see me coming!

With my trusty little 4" rototiller, I managed to plow 4 rows about 50' long. I got that tiller back at the old house under the engine-expertise of my neighbor John. He told me to only buy 4-stroke engines so that I didn't have to mess around with gas/oil mixtures. I've followed his advice ever since.

Anyway, I ordered a big bag of sunflower seeds from my favorite seed vendor, American Meadows. It took me a while to choose between the giants and the dwarves and the in-betweens. Once the seeds arrived, I couldn't remember what size I settled upon. Turns out they aren't giants nor dwarves. They are somewhere in between.

The first two weeks, I was certain that the birds, deer, and rabbits would be the doom of our crop. Protectively, I hung string and foil ribbons to deter them all to leave my seeds and then seedlings alone. I was so proud to show off my little rows of bright green plantings. Slowly they grew a little taller each week.

Good farmers know how to space their seeds to promote the best growth. I am not a good farmer. I shoved as many seeds into the row as possible and then refused to thin out the weak ones. Who am I to decide which plant lives or dies? I put them there, they should get to live. So, my seedlings grew taller and taller. I was still doubtful that anything I planted would actually come to maturity. It was at this point that I told Paul if I get 5 flowers from these 4 rows, I will plant the whole field next year. That's how uncertain of success I was.

It looks like the whole field will be planted next year!

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