DID YOU KNOW THIS?
Although early resources indicate that the origins of the sun flower plant is Peru, the researches carried out show that this plant might have originated from the north of Mexico and northwest America.
According to varied authorities it is known to be brought to Europe by Spanish, English or French.
It was brought to our country from Balkans during the immigrations and cultivated for 70-80 years. After 1980s with the coming of hybrid kinds resistant to branched broomrapes its importance has considerably increased. It is both the most important alternate plant and income source of Thrace.

CLIMATE AND SOIL REQUIREMENTS OF THE SUN FLOWER:
Sun flower is a summer plant and cultivated in the temperate areas. At the 12-14oC degree soil temperature it comes out of the soil surface in 7-10 days. The lowest required temperature for the growing of the sun flower is related to the growing phase of the plant. The lowest temperature in the germination phase is 5 degrees, in the torus phase 11-12 degrees and in the blooming phase 15-16 degrees. The plants in the seedling phase are resistant to night frosts until minus 4-6 degrees. Optimum growing temperature for the subsequent phases is 20-25 degrees. Temperatures above 30 degree effects growing and temperatures above 40 degree effect pollination.
Sunflower is a drought resistant and thrifty plant. Under favorable conditions tap root goes down 3 meters depths. Capillary roots may form a 5m ring. Sun flower is known to consume 200 kg of water during the vegetation. It shows the importance of the water necessity. In the long term dryness terms the torus shrinks, the length shortens, productivity falls and cannot produce sufficient seed. Sun flower plant consumes %20 of the water during the germination and torus forming phase, %60 of the water during the torus growing and blooming phase, %20 of the water during the pollination and physiological formation phases. Because of this reason if irrigation shall be made it must be in the period between 10-15 days prior to the blooming and 10-15 days following the blooming.

Sun flower is a plant that can be cultivated in the broad areas ranging from heavily clayed soils to lightly sandy soils, lightly acidic soils and alkali soils. But it best grows in the water absorbing, deep but not condensed soils having abundant chernozem and alluvial type organic material. Besides it cannot be cultivated in the sandy, heavily clayed, very saline soils and soils having high underground water. The ideal soil pH is 6-7.

SUN FLOWER CULTIVATION
It is made in the three stages: autumn deep ploughing, spring soil mixing and seedbed preparation. Autumn deep ploughing is a process performed for the purposes of soil substratum breaking, storage of the winter rains, acceleration of the biological movement and provision of the ventilation. Early soil mixing is performed for controlling of the weeds, loosening the soil surface and regularizing the soil temperature. Seedbed preparation is the last preparation for the planting. This process is performed at the 15-20 cm depth using light vehicles. It provides a uniform and effective growing. During this phase fertilizer herbicide application can be realized.

PLANTING TIME FOR THE SUNFLOWER
Although the specific planting time is determined according to the climatic conditions and soil temperature, the sunflower must absolutely be planted in the spring time. The best period for the Thrace region is between the 15 March and 15 April. The soil temperature should reach 12-14 C degrees.

SUN FLOWER PLANTING
This procedure includes the most important one among others as the success shall be measured and determined according to this. Currently pneumatic cultivators are being used for this procedure. For the guaranteed success this device must be well adjusted, gears and discs must be controlled one by one and it must be suspended before entering the field and its seeding, frequency and condition of the choppers must be controlled.

SUN FLOWER FERTILIZATION
Just like any other cultivated plants, fertilization is required for the quality and high output in sun flower. The researches performed has shown that the sun flower receives nitrogen in the period between the torus forming and the end of the blooming and receives phosphor during all the vegetation phase but mostly in the period between the germination and torus forming and receives potassium in the period between the torus forming and maturation of the seeds. Many researches has shown that sun flower plant gets ¾ all the nutrients until the blooming phase and gets the rest until the physiological maturation from the soil. There are important output differences between the fertilized and unfertilized sun flower fields. The sun flowers grown in the unfertilized fields are shorter in length, thin stemmed and small leafed and they have a light green appearance. The best dosage for the sun flower fertilization is N10 P8 according to the researches made. This situation can vary according to the year, climate and soil composition. For the best application soil analyses is required.

SUN FLOWER PLANT DENSITY
It is the most important reason for the output loss. Although the distance between the lines is 70 cm, the plant density is not only determined according to the seeder but also according to the characteristics of the seed to be used. Plantation density can vary according to the country formation, soil type and years. The researches made until today has shown that the best distance on the lines is 30-35 cm and 4500 – 5000 plants deemed suitable in a decare.

SUN FLOWER PLANTING DEPTH
As the sun flower seeds shall have different sizes according to the brand and type, seeder must be readjusted and pneumatic cultivators must be chosen correctly for each planting. As a result of this, the planting depth in very well prepared fields must be adjusted as 5-7 cm.

SUN FLOWER IRRIGATION
If it is possible, sun flower plant must absolutely be irrigated. It must be kept in mind that this procedure increases the output about %50. Irrigation is usually made in the important phases of the sun flower plant according the soil moisture and need of the plant. Two irrigation periods are important for the sun flower. The first one must be made 10-15 days prior to the blooming and the second must be made 10-15 days after the drying of the fake flowers. During the pollination phase of the sun flower irrigation must not be made and irrigation by sprinkling water must strictly be avoided. Otherwise, as the pollens shall get wet, pollination shall not be fulfilled.