Sowing zinnias & sunflowers in large patches

Is there such a thing to sow zinnia and sunflower seeds in large areas directly into the ground? My guess is that it would have to be two different devices because of the large size difference between the two. I need something that will save my aching back! I have a small tractor, if that matters, but would probably dont' want something like a broadcast spreader.
Cheers!
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On Sun, 12 Apr 2009 13:31:50 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Sure. I've done it with striking results. Sunflowers will grow 4-10 feet. Zinnias about 4-5 feet. Both sunflowers and zinnias are very colorful and grow well in full sun with little fuss. Good luck with the flowers, and my deepest sympathies about that aching back.
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Ah. I'm looking for a mechanical device to save from planting each seed in the ground by hand.

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wrote:

How big an area? Both flowers re-seed and send up volunteers in my gardens so I imagine if you tilled or hoed up the area and hand broadcasted the seed you would get good results.
I'll be planting both in the next week. If you feed birds, be sure to keep them supplied with plenty of sunflower seeds so they don't eat the ones you're trying to grow. I learned this the hard way.
Kate
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"dukes909 wrote:

There exist all types of seed planting implements, adjustible for differnet sized seed and adjustable for spacing... many attach to tractors. Naturally you don't want to scatter sunflower seeds with a spreader, the birds will scoff them down as fast as you can strew them about, you need an implement that digs a small furrow, drops seed, and covers them as you go. There are all kinds of manual implements as well. I can't advise you further about seeders until you say how large is your "large". It would also help if you indicate what are your intentions for your sunflowers, for landscaping because you think they're attractive or for a food crop... there are many types of sunflower.
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Birds can only eat the sunflower seeds when just planted and when just sprouted, from that point on birds cannot eat sunflower seeds until the fully ripened heads fall to the ground... sunflower heads grow in such a way that birds cannot reach the seeds. Sunflowers are a perfect example of evolution displaying survival of the fittest.... from the time the seeds form to the point that birds would be attracted the sunflowers grow upside down, and all around the perimeter of a sunflower the sepals act as an impenetrable fence, no bird that would eat seeds can can find a place to perch on a sunflower so they can reach the seeds. That is why sunflowers can be a food crop, and make no mistake about it, sunflower farming is huge. Hummingbirds love sunflowers but they don't eat the seeds. Btw, I wouldn't save sunflower seeds to plant next year, they're hybridized... buy new seed for each crop. They're called sunflowers not because the flower head configuration resembles the sun, they're called sunflowers because they follow the sun.
Also, when growing sunflowers you need to decide early on if the seed is for your consumption or for wildlife. If for wildlife you cannot apply insecticides or you will murder the critters. And unless you really know what you're doing you'd best not apply insecticides if they're for your consumption... I wouldn't even consider insecticides for any food crop, especially not if for critters. The critters don't mind the insect larva in the seeds, not at all, in fact they appreciate the extra protein.
Blue jays have to be the most masterful sunflower seed pickers, one large jay can polish off a 12" diam head in under an hour. Ravens aren't as fast but they can flip a large head over so they can get to the seeds. And I've seen a pair of smartass crows act as team to flip a seed head. Only thing is if there are jays about they will watch from a distance and as soon as the ravens and crows flip a head they move in to take over and they are very territorial of their sunflower head, won't even share with another jay.
Growing sunflowers is interesting, and very entertaining.
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I've been saving and re-using the seed from mammoth sunflowers for the last three years. I don't see any difference. Go figure, or something.
--

- Billy
"For the first time in the history of the world, every human being
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wrote:

to cover her dumb ass. You haven't a clue... I don't believe you've done much gardening, and you keep reinforcing how little you know, about anything in fact, you're at the grade school keep busy project level... you're still at the lima bean sprouting with wet blotter paper stage... what a fraud, and shallow as the typical snot nosed third grader, covering up their ignorance with infantile name calling. Some folks are attempting serious discussion here... if you don't want to learn shut the fuck up.
It doesn't much matter if one is going to plant a handful of seed just for fun (and sunflower is one of the most commonly grown seed for fun) but for someone planting out a "large" area (as in the present case), and even considering planting with an implement necessitating a tractor, it doesn't pay to gamble, and sunflower seed are very inexpensive, especially compared to one's time, labor, and expectation... no one expects to wait an entire growing season for an acre or more of plants and end up with little more than compost material. Only those who haven't done any real gardening would even consider picking old seed to save for next year's crop, unless they're still in their lima bean with wet blotter mode, and that's precisely what having ones vegetable garden in a teensy widdle child's playhouse sized toys r us greenhouse is tantamount to.
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You know what they say about when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging ;O) The ad hominems and invectives are enervating. Who's gonna be a mench and walk away?
--

- Billy
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wrote:

Hmm, musta hit a nerve, eh... you can't possibly be a mench, you are incapable of thinking for yourself, you are strictly a follower. In fact you are incapable of thinking<period> For a little while there I actually thought you were a man with a spine, but you're not and you don't... you're just quick with a keyboard like a punk with a mouth but you don't know anything... you'll never fool me again.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I've planted both sunflower and zinnia by broadcasting them, but I never planted them together. I'd expect that it would work though.
Basically just toss the seed loose on the soil, gently rake it in and water. The seed should be covered by between 1/4 and 1/2 inch no more. Do not "bury" the seed. It may be a little early to start these seeds outdoors. Check the sowing dates in your area.
Rake easy and don't pull your back out.
EJ in NJ
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To say I'm planting them for my benefit, I would only mean it in the sense of using some for cut flower arrangements (not like at a farmer's market), or just for the view. Mainly for the view and for wildlife. I have never used any kind of pesticide in my gardens.
The two areas combined are probably around 5,000 square feet. Are you suggesting that broadcasting the seeds is a better method for weed control than rows?
Thanks!
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In article

I like Mexican sunflowers. They are small and not for seed but the softness of the plant is sensual combined with a attractive flower makes this a nice 5 foot plant. I believe finches take the small flowerets in time. None have ever self seeded :((
<http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/search.aspx?scommand=search&search=Me xican%2bsunflower>
Bill
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Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA
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wrote:

I'm partial to te Italian White's that Park Seed has, but all sunflowers are beautiful. And goldfinches! i never saw them here before I started planting susnflowers.
5000 sq ft of them - wow! No more advice from me on how to do it without some back pain. Let us know the results.
Kate
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I would not suggest broadcasting 5000 sq ft. I ASSumed you had a much smaller garden..say about 150 sq ft like I have planted in the past.
EJ in NJ
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So, back to my question! How do you plant large areas like this??

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