Friday, November 24

A dilemma

Some of you may remember that last year I sowed some hardy annuals in September as a sort of experiment. Here's a summary.
This was a success and we were cutting flowers from this bed in May and what's more the plants had much stronger stems than the later sowings.
This year I had intended to do the same thing but circumstances conspired against this plan. We couldn't get to the plot so on 16 September I resorted to plan B. This was to sow the annuals in modules and plant the seedlings out later. I sowed some seeds left over from spring sowing but I bought a couple of varieties to supplement these.


The trays were placed on a patio table and just left to the elements, just as they would have been if sown direct.
The cornflowers germinated quickly taking just over a week to show through the compost. 

By 8 October most of the seeds had germinated with the exception of the godetia which was fairly old seed.
The seedlings looked as shown below on 20 November. It's really the best success that I have had in germinating larkspur.
So for the dilemma. The seedlings still don't look sturdy enough to survive the trauma of being planted out on the plot. It is also rather late to be planting in the now cold soil, so I am now moving to plan C. This is to leave the seedlings in the modules and move them either into the cold frame or cold greenhouse when the winter weather is at it's worst. The danger is that they may be forgotten and dry out, so I will have to make an effort to look after them. If they survive the plan is to transplant them out on the plot as early in spring as possible when I think the conditions are favourable.

I wonder whether there will be a plan D?



14 comments:

  1. A dilemma. I'd definitely be trying to slow them down, but how it that vital question. Will be interested in what happens next ~ and next year.

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    1. I’m guessing that they won’t do any more growin now, Deborah - watch this space.

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  2. Since they have essentially been outside this entire time, I'm wondering if it would in fact be too much of a shock for them to be transplanted at this stage. I'm not sure if perennials are any different, but here we can transplant shrubs and trees in the ground up until the ground freezes (and I in fact did so last month with a few shrubs). If it was me, I would probably transplant a few and leave the others in the modules - I do love experiments!

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    1. It’s not just the weather, Margaret but the soil conditions as we have heavy clay. Conditions on the plot are more inhospitable too.

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  3. Sounds like you have your strategy worked out. (I've got a parallel dilemma with my broad beans! They are doing rather too well for cells but I think they would be ravaged/lost at the plot)

    Not being a fully fledged flower grower (yet) I am curious to know how much, if any, thinning you plan to do? Or will you divide the plugs when you do plant them out?

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    1. When I sowed direct, I didn’t thin at all, just left them to get on with it Mal. I have thought that I might split the clumps but it will depend whether they look splittable when the time comes,

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  4. Plan D thinning out into cells?

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  5. Oh! I was going to follow your plan as your flowers looked so amazing this year. Unfortunately I forgot completely so I'm starting at Plan E...

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  6. I think you are being rather ingenious! Plan C sounds good to me, a cold frame or greenhouse should keep them ticking over. I have a terrible time trying to remember to water plants over winter, at least this year the greenhouse is empty, a first for me!xxx

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    1. Me too, Dina when there is little need to visit the greenhouse in winter.

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  7. I look forward to reading the next instalment Sue.

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    1. The seedlings are safely in the greenhouse at the moment, Anna in case of snow. I must remember to check them regularly.

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