Second Season of Valley of the Sunflowers

sunflower sprouts

The second season of sunflowers are beginning to sprout. Photo by Andrew Pielage.

The second season of the Valley of the Sunflowers is underway. Hundreds of volunteers have helped to seed two acres of vacant land for the second planting of a two-acre field of sunflowers in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The sprouts are beginning to poke through the amended soil. Today, volunteers are spreading hay and posting colorful reflective ribbons on stakes in order to protect the vulnerable sprouts from hungry pigeons. The plants are expected to reach full maturity in June.

During the first season of planting, students from the Phoenix Union Bioscience High School class tested the soil throughout the two-acre site to learn about how soil conditions affect the health of the plants. Nutrients and other amendments were added to areas of the field where plants in the first season did more poorly than others. This season, student will be able to evaluate how their work in modifying the soil impacts the health of the plants.

At the end of the season, the seeds will be harvested again to produce biofuel for a hybrid solar/biofuel vehicle the students have designed and are currently building in at the high school. For more updates and photos of the project, visit Valley of the Sunflowers on Facebook.

Valley of the Sunflowers

Valley of the Sunflowers

Valley of the Sunflowers

The Desert Initiative is supporting documentation of the Valley of the Sunflowers, a collaborative temporary public art project that is bringing a two-acre field of sunflowers to a vacant city block in downtown Phoenix. The sunflowers will be harvested by students at the BioScience High School who will press the seeds for oil to produce bio-fuel for a hybrid solar/bio-fuel vehicle they have designed and are building.

The project is a collaboration between the BioScience High School and Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation through their Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space (A.R.T.S.) program. Initial seed funding has been provided by Intel and others.

Project documentation includes photography by Craig Smith and time-lapse photography of the growth of the sunflowers.