We were so excited when we heard that the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre would partner with us to grow some Turing Sunflowers. Luckily for us they have an on-site gardener, Becky Burns, who kindly shared growing tips with us at MOSI and some very willing staff. Katy Dixon, Marketing and Development Officer and Becky at Jodrell Bank give us the low down... and some very handy planting tips...
We wanted to get involved with the Turing's Sunflower Project as we had the perfect space for growing sunflowers in a sunny part of the garden. The beds we chose were topped up with fresh topsoil and rotavated to make it easier for planting seeds by hand.Seeds were sown in pairs directly into the soil with the names of the planters written on the labels next to them. As they grow we’ll nip out the weakest one so the stronger seedling will make its way skyward!
With the first of our sunflower seeds poking their heads above the soil the race is now on!
Jodrell Bank Observatory staff were the first group to plant their Russian Giant seeds on Friday 18th May and it looks like they’re in the lead... Will the Pulsar group catch up and shade them out?
Or perhaps one of our members of the public will give them a run for their money..?
One lady had her own whispered wish to the little seeds as she put them in while our 4 year old friend Stanley shouted “GROW SEED, GROW!!”
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre staff are already plotting to bring in secret supplies of plant food for their seedlings, it seems like there’s a competitive streak among us!
We’ve fenced off the areas with sturdy rabbit fencing as we don’t want the little nibblers to ruin our project!
With the watchful eye of over 30 staff involved we hope to see these little seedlings well on their way to becoming the perfect material for the Big Count in the autumn (and a little competition for the tallest along the way...) We’ll be posting again in a few weeks time with an update on progress, fingers crossed for sunshine!
Becky is happy to add names (or the names of people nominated) to the sunflowers that they planted. Email becky.burnsATmanchester.ac.uk to follow up.
Jodrell will also be putting on a spectacular event - Live at Jodrell Bank over Turing's Centenary weekend. It feels as if the planets have aligned because Paul Weller who will be playing, has a sunflower song!
MOSI's Turing's Sunflowers team, which includes the Manchester Science Festival, will be putting on some experiments in the Science Arena. A hugh thank you to Jodrell Director of The Visitor Centre, Teresa Andersen, her amazing team and Observatory staff who hit the ground running with this one.