Don't be afraid to fail. Don't waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It's OK to fail. If you're not failing, you're not growing. ~H. Stanley Judd
Consider recycling your 1 gallon plastic milk jugs. Use a pin to prick 4 holes in the bottom of the jugs. Bury the jugs between plants, fill with water, and it will slowly drip into the soil. You can cut the top off the jug and add more water as it's needed. Sink the jugs about 8 to 10 inches into the soil. If you do use a sprinkler instead or along with this, be sure to do it early in the day, so the water has a chance to evaporate off the leaves before evening.
Try growing chervil this summer. You'll need about 6 weeks to start harvesting, so those in warmer climates can plant outside, while the rest of us can use pots, so we can bring them in this fall. Plant chervil seeds about 1/4 deep-1/2 inch apart and cover lightly with sand. Water carefully in the mornings and it should germinate in about a week. Indoors try planting 3 or 4 seeds in a medium sized pot, using the same method. When you start harvesting, use the bigger leaves on the outside first. Chervil can be used in soups, salads and eggs. It doesn't dry well, so try planting it and enjoy it fresh!
If your sunflowers are in a sheltered position they may not need staking, but that said, mine almost always do. If you can plan ahead and plant them in front of a fence that's the best thing to do. Then tie the stems to the fence. Use ripped cloth or soft plastic (I cut up the plastic shopping bags) that won't dig into the stem. Give it room to move some, but tie firm enough that it won't bend over. If you need to put in an actually stem, then use something thin like bamboo, and you will have to do it a little away from the roots or you could damage them. Next season it would be best to locate them near a place you can tie them, or put in the stakes when you sow the seeds.
On OFL we have tips on how to mulch properly:
Summer "Greens" - Start Planning for Lettuce Replacements. - Dear Folks, I've been enjoying sweet potato greens from early Summer to late Fall for several years but wanted to have a greater selection. Last summer ...