50 pounds of moldy black oil sunflower seeds as mulch_big mistake

grow4birdsApril 29, 2009

I had a 50 pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds that was moldy so I tossed it out as a mulch on a bed of strawberries. BIG MISTAKE!!!

My question to you mulch and compost experts "how long before I can plant in the bed?"

Thanks in advance for your help.

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I'd probably plant in the bed. Call it a companion planting of sunflowers and strawberries.

The biggest drawback will be the sunflowers will attract birds, which is probably not desirable for a strawberry bed. But the strawberries should be done long before the sunflowers go to seed.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 12:08PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I would dig out the sunflowers as best I could they inhibit the growth of other plants. 50 pounds is doable. Put them somewhere where you don't want things to grow.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 2:03PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Can't you just clip the sunflower tops off with scissors?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:21PM
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grow4birds

I should have been clear in my first post I just assumed that every gardener/composter/mulcher except me knew that black oil sunflower seed hull were poison to plants and the ground around them.

The moldy black oil sunflower seeds killed all most all the strawberries. What I was wondering about and/or trying to find out is if anyone knows how long the poison in the ground will last?

I guess I can just leave the bed alone and when weeds start to grow I should be good to go again.

Thanks

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:52PM
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bpgreen(5UT)

Can you gather them together somehow and compost them? I think the composting process will get rid of the plant killing properties.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:18PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

You could try digging foot-wide holes, put the soil/sunflower seed mix from them into the compost, then fill the holes with a fresh compost/soil mix, and transplant something like squash or cucumbers into them. My first thought was tomatoes but they are supposed to be a bad match for strawberries.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:54PM
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petalpatsy(7b)

I didn't know that about sunflower seeds, but I can see how fifty pound of moldy ones would be bad for anything.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:03PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Did you mix them with the soil? If they are on top of the soil rake them out along with some of the soil on top. Don't put this in your compost; why would you take that chance? Put it in a pile somewhere and eventually it will break down.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 11:51PM
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gardengal48

If the strawberries have already perished as a result of the sunflowers seeds, go ahead and dig the seeds into the soil. And I'd add some other organic matter as well. The decomposition of the seeds, together with the other OM, will neutralize the allelopathic effects fairly rapidly, although I'd avoid planting anything this season.

If you want faster results, remove the seeds and compost them in a designated area, like with your other compostables. But still work in some other OM in the strawberry plot before replanting.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 7:47AM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The soil under my bird feeders grows sunflowers and other plants, I don't have a problem with alleopathy, but I am not growing strawberries either.

Certain plants are more susceptible than others.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:26AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

This is the first I've heard of sunflower seeds being poisonous. Where did you read that?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 12:25AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

it's the shells, they have some sort of chemical that can prevent other plants from growing or germinating. I used seed husks as mulch and haven't had a problem. I'm not sure what plants are affected.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:18PM
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