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Growing a Sunflower House for Your Kids

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A sunflower house is an easy and exciting project for you and your kids. I am currently growing my second one in the same spot. I marked off an 8'x8' square. I double dug a furrow, hoed a shallow moat around the furrow, and put in sunflowers which I had sprouted into seedlings elsewhere. I alternate a mammoth variety which grows about eight feet, and a small variety which grows about 4 feet. The tall ones impress the kids by growing taller than they are and they provide abundant shade. The kids enjoy looking closely at the flowers, eye-to-eye, on the shorter ones.
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I also plant a few corn in with the sunflowers. This is a companion planting secret: the corn drives Carpophilus beetles from the sunflowers, and the sunflowers protect the corn from fall armyworms. I chose multi-colored Indian popcorn.
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Inside is a thick carpet of white clover which I planted last summer and grew throughout the winter. Around the edges I planted camomile and catnip, both of which are reputed to give off aromas soothing to children. I also planted peppermint and spearmint. All these plants are edible. All can be trampled and recover quickly.
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Above the sunflower house, many bees, butterflies, and other insects visit the huge flowers. Above, the Queen of the Sky...a Monarch.

Finally, also on the edges, I planted yarrow, which seems to improve the health of everything it is nearby; cosmos, which will grow six feet tall after the sunflowers whither and die; and carrots, which I hope the kids will discover while playing in the house (but I have such bad luck with carrots).




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