Don’t Cut Down Those Sunflower Stalks!

I learned a neat gardening trick at the Huntington Ranch this weekend:

1. Grow tall sunflowers.
2. Harvest the heads but don’t cut down the stalk.
3. Use the decapitated stalk as a trellis for beans, peas etc.

Depending on your climate, they could last a couple of seasons. As simple as lather, rinse repeat. 

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  1. d’OH! I have put my stalks on the compost. Perhaps I can just bury the ends when I plant things next year. I was planning to use them as tomato stakes, but I could also lash them crosswise to other stakes or something. I just didn’t want to put tomatoes where the sunflowers were, but maybe I can rotate crops next time.

    You can also use the stalks as a fluffy fill for life jackets. That’s what they used to use before there was foam.

    I saved and dried some of the leaves, because I heard you can smoke them (like an herbal smoke mix) and I could make gifts for friends who smoke. But now I learn you can also make a tea out of them to cure diarrhea.

  2. I leave mine up, too. Last year they were use as solar lamp-posts, for the moveable solar lights we were putting up along pathways in the yard.

  3. Wish I had read this yesterday! I just cut ours down this afternoon!
    At least they are still whole. Maybe we can dry them and weave them
    into a trellis for next year. Thanks for the idea.

    Wondering: Is there any such thing as sunflower fiber? I heard that hemp stalks can be left out to ‘rot’ and the fiber that remains afterwards can be woven into string. Any similar fiber in sunflower stalks?

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