Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Great Sunflower Project

All over North America, folks are joining The Great Sunflower Project, which during the summer of 2008 will collect data on honeybee activity across the continent. Honeybees are crucial to vegetable and fruit production -- many plants won't produce unless they've been crosspollinated by honeybees. Farmers need a healthy bee population.

Each participant will plant at least one sunflower (a specific kind -- Helianthus annuus, or the wild annual sunflower) and then at several points over the summer watch that sunflower to see how long it takes for five bees to visit. Participants report their data back to the project organizers, and The Great Sunflower Project tallies the data to see where bee activity is healthy and where it isn't, which may help discover the causes behind colony collapse disorder.

Why sunflowers?
Sunflowers are easy to grow and are great resources for bees and birds. And why this particular sunflower? Helianthus annuus is a native wildflower and produces a lot of nectar and pollen, which attracts bees. It's important that everyone use the same flower so that the data collected will be comparable.

Registering is easy and free, and they'll even send you a packet of seeds for the right sunflower! So if you'd like to help the honeybees, here's a fun way to do it!

7 comments:

LA Farm Girl said...

Hi Valeree!

I love this, would it be ok for me to post on my Giving Gardeners Blog? I think it's such a great project.

Judi

Finspot said...

I'll have to check this out--we've got sunflowers on the docket this year. Thanks for the tip.

valereee said...

Judi, please do!

Veggie Option said...

What a great idea - thanks for the information.

vudutu said...

Try planting vining cucumbers at the base of your sunflowers and let them vine up them.

Hey Val anyone out there trading seeds and plants?

maybelles mom said...

This is such a good thing. Can I also post something about this at my blog too?

valereee said...

Maybelle's mom, please do! Blanket permission, anyone who wants to!