Looks good , doesn't it a whole paddock of sunflowers, well baby sunflowers. But behind this, lies a whole lot of failures.
It has been one of the wettest years in a while up here in the Central Goldfields. This meant , we couldn't get into the paddock to cultivate for planting. Till recently.
Luckily we have spent the last 2 years of owning this land preparing the soil, adding Biodynamic prep 500, sowing green manure and just digging in the green stuff that grew.
The soil is beautiful the rich red Chromosols of the Loddon region, a nice alluvial silt and clay on a gravel base, fantastic for growing Sunflowers, their deep roots going down into the clay and sucking up the water in December and Jan when we get NO rain .
We bought some seed off a sunflower grower, it grew very patchy.
We bought some seed off an animal feed place, it didn't grow at all, we think it was old, great for feeding to horses, not good for growing.
We bought some more (twice the price) from the same animal feed place, and it has grown a heap, so we bought more and planted another paddock.
So flower farming is fun, when it knocks you down, you just get up again.
Just waiting on the rain to finish these guys off.
I came to Australia 20 years ago; my first job was running an organic market garden in Kinglake. I spent a couple of years working in Melbourne on private gardens. I worked at the Geelong Botanic Garden for two years. I have run a couple of organic market gardens, including my own just outside Ballarat. I began teaching edible gardening at Neighbourhood Houses and this led to teaching at Melbourne Polytechnic and to now living in Inglewood and growing cut flowers. I still teach at Melbourne Polytechnic, mainly soils.