I had been a tad underwhelmed with my much of my seed sowing this year, and am too fearful to look through the empty packets and count my failures – the above are certainly a sorry sight: (clockwise from top left) a single zinnia flower on the sole zinnia from three different packets, cosmos going solo from two packets, one of half a dozen ipomoea, no taller than when they were planted out (except for the one I discovered this week had put on a spurt, climbed 3ft or so and produced ONE flower!) and one of a few leafy nicotiana – leafy, but not flowery…..
I have had successes though with tagetes, calendula and nasturtium, coincidentally (I hope) easy to grow, orlaya and the cornflower and nigella I sowed direct. The few veg I grow did so successfully, and I must say I have also had reasonable success with the RHS allocation of seeds I applied for, all perennials, of which there are about a dozen varieties either in the nursery bed or just planted out this week. Not all doom and gloom, therefore, and I have learned several lessons from my biggest foray into seed sowing for years :
* plan in advance what to grow and don’t buy on spec, even when seeds are all half price
* if seeds are started in the house move to greenhouse when germinated
* don’t sow too early
* prick out as soon as seedlings are manageable
* grow on and don’t plant out till plants are sturdy and have a healthy root system
The zinnia and cosmos germinated well but weren’t pricked out early enough and were presumably not sturdy enough to survive being planted out, whereas the RHS perennials, with fewer seeds to the packet and sown later than others have been through pricking out and several weeks in the nursery bed and certainly appear to have developed a survival instinct. Let’s see how I get on next year with my seed sowing, having been through this belated learning curve in 2013!