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I was wondering if anyone knew anthing about sunflowers. I am growing my first patch of them ever and they have been going along fine until about 2 weeks ago. The bottom leaves started to look a bit crispy on the egdes and I figured it was from the sun because that week it was around 99/100 degrees. But now, the leaves are turning black and some have yellowed leaves with black streaky spots. On about 50% of my plants all the lower leaves have blackened and shriveled off. The tops of all of them (they dont have flowers yet) are very green and healthy. I have looked through my books and talked with some people I know and I cant figure out what to do for them. I am a novice gardener anyways.
Any advice is appreciated.
 

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Windy Island Acres
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Sounds like rust. Don't know if there's a cure. Did they start out brown and then blacken?
 

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Well, they started out with crispy brown edged leaves that turned yellow and then got black streaks and then that got worse until the whole leaves turned black and shriveled up and fell off. The very top leaves are beautiful and healthy green and nearly all of the plants have some of this. Some more than others. The tall ones are doing better than the small ones. The small ones look like the stems are yellowing too now.

Its very frustrating to not have a clue what to do. I have been watering these things for a couple months now and they were starting to get really tall...... I was really looking forward to yummy sunflower seeds from my own grown sunflowers. Well, they arent dead yet.....

Could it be where I live? The southern Nevada desert isnt the easiest place to grow plants. Maybe they dont like the sun here. I do see people growing them in full sun though.

I have some other questions too. Some things in my garden just do not grow. I have beautifully shaped lettuces that are about 1.5 inches across. These have been growing since February. I would think they would be bigger than that by now. Also, my tomato plants are giving me tomatoes, but the plants themselves are only about a foot tall. The tomatoes are nice and big though but they can only grow like 2 at a time. I am growing things in miniature around here and I dont get it. I prepared the ground with compost and I water and fertilize. What am I doing wrong?

Traci, frustrated wanna be gardener who wont give up.
On the good side, I do get almost all of my seeds to germinate wonderfully. They just stay seedling size forever. *sigh*
 

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Ditzyblond said:
Well, they started out with crispy brown edged leaves that turned yellow and then got black streaks and then that got worse until the whole leaves turned black and shriveled up and fell off. The very top leaves are beautiful and healthy green and nearly all of the plants have some of this. Some more than others. The tall ones are doing better than the small ones. The small ones look like the stems are yellowing too now.

Its very frustrating to not have a clue what to do. I have been watering these things for a couple months now and they were starting to get really tall...... I was really looking forward to yummy sunflower seeds from my own grown sunflowers. Well, they arent dead yet.....

Could it be where I live? The southern Nevada desert isnt the easiest place to grow plants. Maybe they dont like the sun here. I do see people growing them in full sun though.

I have some other questions too. Some things in my garden just do not grow. I have beautifully shaped lettuces that are about 1.5 inches across. These have been growing since February. I would think they would be bigger than that by now. Also, my tomato plants are giving me tomatoes, but the plants themselves are only about a foot tall. The tomatoes are nice and big though but they can only grow like 2 at a time. I am growing things in miniature around here and I dont get it. I prepared the ground with compost and I water and fertilize. What am I doing wrong?

Traci, frustrated wanna be gardener who wont give up.
On the good side, I do get almost all of my seeds to germinate wonderfully. They just stay seedling size forever. *sigh*
Could be a lot of things with the sunflowers, but I have not seen exactly what you are describing.

I can however give you one sage piece of advice since you are starting out. Many will try to avoid this, and if only most of us did it in the beginning we would save a lot of work.

Here's the thjjjing to do. Get your soil tested. You can get a cheap kit to do the basics (I tested a new plot this year and the kit was about 5$ USD) or call your local County Extension office and they may be able to help. You could compost for several years or more before you get a soil that will adequately nourish your plants by trial and error. The kit makes it easy to know what's going on.

Alternately, if you need some quick confidence, check out the square foot gardening site. There is enough info there at their website to get going without buying the book, but it is a good book and the system works.

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/

I have partially raised french intensive beds, (which is somewhat similar), in a desert climate and the improved water retention, coolness from resperation and lack of weeds is awesome. Square foot is easier for a beginner and you'll learn a lot :)

Good Luck, and welcome to Gardening!

~Michael in Boise
 

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Windy Island Acres
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Rust in sunflowers starts out brown and turns black as they progress. Dispose of/burn all bad leaves. You may try sparaying it with a kep solution or AgroFlash.
As mentioned above, you need to get your soil tested.
If you lived in a heavy clay area, I would say it sounds like your soil may be too compacted. However, if you have sandy soil, it may be poor on nutrients.
 
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