Project Sunshine 2014: new seeds to send out!

Our little farmers have worked hard this winter, and have started packaging up their latest batch of sunflower seeds! Check out their beautiful seed packets:

Here the children washed home-made dyes made from turmeric and beetroot onto paper, and then drew sunflowery illustrations overtop. Their artworks are delicate and very beautiful.

The little farmers have also been cutting up old magazines and making green-themed collages to accompany their sunflower seeds.

If you’d like a packet of sunflower seeds for planting in spring, please drop us a line at projectsunshineaotearoa(at)gmail(dot)com

 

 

 

 

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What’s the buzz

This week we made the ultimate Sunshine Mobile by upcycling an old BBQ table (cheers Andy!) Doesn’t it look cool?! We also posted out more packets of seeds and did some event planning – see below for more info.

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Keep Sunday 24 November, 10.00-11.30am, free for our special Sunshine Day at the Dowse, in Lower Hutt. Check out our world-famous Sunshine Mobile and take home some beautiful sunflower seeds or seedlings for a gold coin donation. Make your own bee sticker, or bring along an empty milk bottle and we’ll help you turn it into a watering can. There will be lots of fun craft activities too – we hope to see you there!

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A special tena koe to Tāne this week for decorating such beautiful sunflower seed packets for us. Love your bees Tāne!

Tane packets

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Here are two letters that we received from Manurewa Central School and Paremata Kindergarten asking for packets of seeds. Thanks for such colourful letters – we’ve posted your seed packets, so hopefully they arrive soon.

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Sunflower power at Waipu School and Gladstone School

Mrs Green from Waipu Primary School in Northland sent us these gorgeous photos of her class planting out their sunflower seedlings. She says they’ll have “lots of watering and tender loving care from now on”.

We love how the sunflowers are going to grow next to the students’ awesome scarecrow! Thank you Room 11 🙂

And today we received this beautiful card from the students in room 2 at Gladstone School, in the Wairarapa. In summer, the students wear bright yellow sun hats when they’re outside and people driving past often comment on how they look like lovely sunflowers. It’s really cool knowing that our sunflower seeds are being looked after by little sunflowers!

How do your sunflowers grow?

People have been sharing photos of their potted-up sunflower seeds and seedlings with us. Here’s a glimpse of some of the Project Sunshine sunflower plants that are growing around the country.

Students at Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School in Wellington have planted their sunflower seeds – look at the beautiful seed markers they’ve added to their pots:

Denis in Auckland has planted our seeds as a home-school project:

Anna’s seeds in Wellington have just poked through the soil:

Catherine’s little seedlings are bearing up in the Wellington wind and continuing to stand tall. There are 35 seedlings planted out the front of her house in total!

Philip has planted his little bebe fleurs de soleil in his Wellington garden:

If we hop down to the South Island for a moment, we can see that Heather’s plants in Christchurch are growing really well:

Brigitte in Nelson says “… today I prepared some pots for the sunflowers… one lot for Brian, one lot for Eileen, and one lot for this hill… for the start. The bbq table is covered with trays to organise my experiments, only a small area is left for breakfast.” Just look at that amazing view in the background:

Little Earth Montessori preschool in Kapiti sent us these three beautiful photos of their seedlings:

Finally – we’re keeping a close eye on an exciting ‘sunflower growing race’ on Twitter between two Project Sunshine friends. Rob lives in Wellington and his seedlings are just starting off. Meanwhile, Leon is in the South Island’s West Coast and has a flying start with his plants – he credits his home-made “secret recipe liquid seaweed. Looks a bit like really old motor oil…”

Leon’s seeds are actually from Kings Seeds, so we’ve just popped a pack of our special Giant Russian sunflower seeds in the post, so he can grow some of ours as well. 🙂

What’s the buzz

Our little farmers’ seed packets will be available at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt tomorrow morning (from very early ’til about lunchtime). We will also have sunflower seedlings for sale, and a limited amount of heritage tomato seedlings. All proceeds received will go towards funding a beehive at Epuni School. We’d love to see you there – come say hi!

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This week has been an awesome arty week for Project Sunshine. It’s been really wet and windy here in Wellington, so instead of spending lots of time in the garden, we’ve snuggled up inside with lovely art supplies and decorated lots of seed packets.

This morning we had visitors from Epuni Kindergarten. The gorgeous little people turned up to the library for a book reading session and saw us painting seed packets. Julia told them all about the magic sunflowers and asked them to choose a packet of seeds. They chose the rainbow packet, which they have taken back to plant at their kindergarten.

Here are some of the beautiful seed packets that the Epuni School children decorated today. Check out the clever collage!

Beautiful bright colours here too!

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This afternoon Project Sunshine was mentioned in the NZ Gardener Magazine‘s email ‘Get Growing’ newsletter. It gets emailed to lots of people around New Zealand and is full of interesting gardening tips and tricks, and advice on how to grow things like fruit and vegetables.

When the newsletter was emailed out, we started receiving lots of emails from people wanting packets of sunflower seeds. We posted out 14 envelopes this afternoon to Carterton, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Ngaruawahia, Porirua, Blenheim, Northland and Gisborne and we have many, many more to send out over the weekend!

Sunshine and the city

[Today’s story comes from Philip. He has never grown sunflowers before *and* he lives several stories up in an apartment in Wellington! He shares his growing adventures below.]

The colourful envelope of sunflower seeds from Project Sunshine that arrived in my letterbox one blustery spring day brought with it the promise of summer. This was going to be like the pockets of cheery daffodils that had popped up on my street, but bigger and better. The next thing I needed was a bit of germination. Can’t be that hard, right?

I decided to try little peat pots inside my apartment, along with some rich seedling mix and my trusty spray bottle to keep them damp but not too wet. That’s when the performance anxiety started to kick in. After a few days my neighbour was already asking if the seeds had sprouted. Not yet, I said awkwardly. What say they didn’t? Why would they? Should I be doing it outside and not six floors up in an apartment building? After a week of germination angst I was rewarded with the first sprouts. They were the best and most beautiful sunflower shoots ever.

Seedlings in peat pots

Now most of the seeds I’ve planted have come up. A wise sunflower-growing friend suggested I get them to about 20 cms before planting them out. This will give them a better chance against greedy insects that love nothing more than to dine on tender sunflower shoots. At the rate they’re growing I might be planting them at Labour Weekend. I’ve scoped a few likely spots in the garden outside my building. Perhaps in among the daisies, or by the block wall out front which gets great sun. Or maybe on the bank by the tagged garages next door?

Garden

Block wall

Garages

Project Sunshine in the Gulf News

Thank you Phil and Tanya from Waiheke Island, for featuring us in the amazing children’s page ‘Imagined Worlds’, in the Gulf News. You can read the full text of the children’s page below.

It is pretty special that our seeds have travelled all the way up the country to Waiheke Island, where they’ll be grown in the community Food Forest. We hope the sunflowers bring a golden glow to the garden there, and look forward to hearing how they go.

Grow well little seeds!