It’s moving towards mid February, it’s light when I get out of bed now, and I was still in the Greenhouse at 5pm yesterday.
My Fingers are itching to start sowing seeds, so if like me you’re keen to be off, which ones will be successful from early sowing when the light levels are still fairly low?
If you're a beginner gardener, I recommend the Spencer varieties. These are great for scented summer blooms. I love the blue of Noel Sutton, and the pink frilled edge of Anniversary. If sown this week, you are likely to have flowers at the beginning of July.
Sow in a deep pot, or a root trainer
You can soak them first, or even leave them on some wet cotton wool or tissue for a few days to sprout, but i'd just suggest buying good quality seed (i.e not those that are in the cheap rack at the garden centre)
Make sure your compost is sieved, and add some vermiculite for good drainage, soak well when you’ve planted them.
When they've got a good healthy root growth plant them out, but they often sulk for a couple of weeks after planting, so don't worry.
Tie them into something so they grow upwards
feed and water well
pick, and pick and pick, as soon as they start flowering
There are lots of colours of cornflowers now, and as a cut flower, although fiddly to pick, they are beautiful on their own or with other things.
if sowing early during February, don’t give them heat so they germinate slower than the normal 3-5 days, but won’t become leggy and difficult to handle.
Sow seeds in modules, or prick out when just 2 leaves. (Usually only 10 days- 2 weeks after sowing)
Plant them out at least 30cm apart, this will mean that each plant produces a minimum of 20-30 flowers if you cut them regularly
Pick and pick and pick
Ammi and Cornflowers grow so well together that really they shouldn't not be both grown. This was a picture (by Emma Davies) of one of my first arrangements, and just a few plants of each will give you a similar arrangement every week for several summer months.
Ammi Major is slightly easier to grow than Ammi Visnaga
Both are small seeds, don't sow to thickly, or sow in deep modules
They don't like root disturbance, so prick/ thin out when very small
Plant at least 30cm apart as they'll grow tall
Pick and pick and pick
The Annual Scabious, are beautiful in the garden and in the vase, and now is a great time to be starting them.
These are bigger seeds than most, so are easy to sow one of 2 per module
They can be covered with compost or vermiculite and will take about 10 days to germinate
plant out as soon as the roots fill the module, can be as quickly as 6-8 weeks from sowing
space at least 30cm apart, these will produce masses of flowers
pick and pick and pick and pick, on as long stems as possible. They will start flowering in July from an Feb / early March sowing, then will have pause, but will reflower again in September.
So, these are great suggestions for those with itchy fingers wanting to begin their seeds. But what should you NOT sow now?
Well the Half hardy annuals will need to be in the greenhouse until the last week in May, so, I would suggest that you hold off sowing the following