Time to polish off your gardening skills and show everyone your green thumb!

Nature At The Confluence is holding the Stateline SunZilla Sunflower Growing Challenge as a way to have some fun together this summer trying to grow giant sunflowers! Sunflowers are fast growing plants, that are wonderful for pollinators, attracting bees and butterflies. You can harvest the seeds to make a healthy snack, or leave seeds on the head to dry to attract birds.

Nature At The Confluence has purchased a limited amount of Russian Mammoth and Kong varieties of sunflower seeds to giveaway. FREE packets of 3-5 seeds will be available in the Victory Garden Mailbox at the nature center gardens while supplies last (limit 1 pack per family or group). A planting tip sheet will be offered as well. Or, you can purchase your own variety at a local store to join in the fun. The Russian Mammoth and Kong varieties produce large seed heads and can grow up to 10 feet tall!

Anyone Could Be A Winner Just By Sharing Your Photos!

When the sunflowers start to grow big, people can share their photos for us to add to our website and Facebook. While having “bragging rights” for growing the biggest and tallest is part of the fun, anyone that shares their sunflower photos will be entered for a random drawing for a “Fall Fun Campfire Gathering With S’mores” for up to 10 people, valued at $150. (There are no prizes for tallest or biggest.) The random drawing will be held Saturday, September 5, 2020. You can either email your photo to info@natureattheconfluence.com or share it on your Facebook page with the hashtag #StatelineSunzilla

Photo tip: include a person, or measuring device to help show the size of your sunflower.

Growing Tips: Click here for growing tips: https://empressofdirt.net/grow-giant-sunflowers/

The challenge is open to individuals, groups, families, companies in the Stateline area. All participants agree to allow their names and photos to be shared on social media, and with media outlets.  

Part of Victory Garden Initiative

The Stateline SunZilla Sunflower Growing Challenge challenge is part of the nature center’s “Victory Garden Initiative” which educates and encourages people to grow their own food in available spaces in their yards and how to prepare them for nutritious meals. Victory gardens emerged during World Wars I and II as a way to minimize demand on an overburdened public food system. Citizens were encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables, so more of the food coming from farms and processors could be shipped overseas to soldiers. During the wars Victory Gardens became a part of daily life on the home front, with people growing food in whatever spaces they could — rooftops, fire escapes, empty lots, window boxes, and backyards.

“There has been a renewed interest in the Victory Garden concept with food recent insecurities due to COVID-19″, says executive director, Therese Oldenburg. “This gives people a chance to do something proactive and positive.”

“With regular programs at Nature At The Confluence either postponed or cancelled, the staff is creating new ways to engage people in the outdoors” says Oldenburg.  “We will be offering interactive activities throughout the summer. Visitors will be able to stop back to the Victory Garden Mailbox to pick up new recipes every two weeks, or snip a few herbs to add to their recipes.”