Seed Starting and Sowing Schedules – Early Season Seed Sowing tips

Seed Starting, Photo By Emma Davies

Seed Starting, Photo By Emma Davies

#Britishflowers hour – 20th February 2017 – Seed Sowing Schedules

This week’s topic was all about seed sowing schedules and was hosted by Pat Cottam (@pattfcottam) and Moa (@carlssonandco). With help from Mike Rogers (@sofaflyer) and notes by Jess Streeter (@sussexroses).

Lots of us having already started sowing seeds, including:

  • Iceland poppies were sown this week.
  • Cerinthe (it needs to be grown before the end of May otherwise it just wilts).
  • Scabiosa.
  • Cornflowers.
  • Sweet peas.
  • Antirrhinums.
  • Larkspur.
  • Sea Lavender.
  • Autumn planted hardy annuals can go out now, if the roots are strong enough and the ground is prepared, but obviously if you are outdoors or are on clay you may want to wait another month or so to give a stronger chance of survival. If unsure you could plant one or two out to test.
  • If you are direct sowing, you need to wait a bit longer until the soil is warmer.
  • A lot of us also do successional sowing so started sowing about June.
  • There seems to be a mix of planning via digital spreadsheets or a written diary – just whichever works best for you and you feel more confident with.
  • You don’t have to plant out every seed that germinates, just fill the area you have selected for them to grow.  Or just try not to sow too many seeds, although this does come with practice!
  • When using a propagator don’t forget to turn it off during the day when temperatures go up – otherwise they will get too hot and die, only really need bottom heat for a couple of weeks and then when germination begins. But do lift the lid daily to get air flowing through.
  • When planning when to sow your seeds, seed packets can help but sometimes they can be too vague with ‘spring’ or ‘summer’, you can always use catalogues or the internet such as Sarah Raven or Chiltern.
  • Small seeds can be a nuisance to sow but having dry hands can help.
  • Larkspur seeds should be put in the freezer for a week or two before sowing to help improve germination.
  • Astrantia can cause some problems, make sure you have fresh seed and that they are not too hot.
  • Bupleurum can take a while to germinate – it does however need to be in the dark until germination, cover with newspaper or plastic and don’t heat.
  • Remember not to let your seedlings get too tall before pricking out.
  • Some recommended companies to get plug plants from include: Volmary (previously Delamore), Seiont, Kernock Park Plants, Lyndon Mason.
  • The end of May is the perfect time to sow biennial seeds.

But do remember, it is still only February, meaning there is plenty of time so no need to worry too much yet!

Next week’s topic will be about successional sowing and what works best, so please do join us at 8pm on Monday with the hashtag #britishflowers !