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This is a long term project for families with enough space in their backyard or cottage to accomodate it. You can help your children create a special place of their own this summer by growing a Sunflower Fort.
Look for an area sunny enough to grow sunflowers and large enough to supply a minimum of 6 foot square garden space. We made ours 8 foot x 6 foot, but have seen them on television 12 foot square. Start by marking the perimiter of your Sunflower Fort with stakes and string. Be sure to locate and mark your entry.
Prepare the gardens around the perimeter by digging down about 8 inches deep and about 5 to 10 inches wide. The "floor" can be left as grass (be sure to make the door wide enough for the lawnmower to enter) or made of sand by laying in a bag or two of childrens play sand.
Here comes the fun part. Go to the local nursery and select a few sunflower seed packets. Choose a variety of heights, and colors. Also pick up some bean, pea or climbing vine seeds (such as sweet pea or morning glories)to fill in the spaces between the sunflowers.
Now read the seed packets and show the children how to plant their seeds. Planting the sunflowers first and then the peas and vines between the sunflower seeds. Be sure to water them.
And the hard part? Wait, water and watch them grow! It will take the "walls" of your sunflower fort about 10 to 12 weeks to bloom, however my kids enjoyed the fort from day one, putting the sand on the floor gave them a sandbox to make roads in for their little cars. Being able to play in their fort enabled them to watch it grow and reminded them to care for it. Be sure to warn them not to step on the garden "walls".
Our sunflower fort has become a tradition. We make it year after year, building summer memories for our grandchildren now.