The Chronicle


- Gardening · Hobbies

PEAK seed-sow­ing season for bed­ding and veg­eta­bles is spring. How­ever, there are many hardy plants with seeds that aren’t trig­gered into life un­til they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a cold spell – and those are the ones that need sow­ing now.

This is the best time to put in tree, conifer, shrubs and hedg­ing-plant seeds, as well as alpines, peren­nial wild­flow­ers and na­tive trees and shrubs.

Winter sow­ing is slightly dif­fer­ent from spring. You should try to choose con­tain­ers that aren’t go­ing to crack when they’re left out in hard frosts, such as good qual­ity ter­ra­cotta pots.

Winter-sown seeds will spend a long time in the same pots so it’s vi­tal to use free-drain­ing com­post. Make your own by mix­ing equal parts peat-free mul­ti­pur­pose com­post and pot­ting grit.

Sow one va­ri­ety of seeds per pot since they come up at dif­fer­ent rates. Sprin­kle thinly and evenly over the sur­face and cover in a thin layer of coarse grit. La­bel each pot, wa­ter thor­oughly and stand the lot out­side.

Early next April move the pots into a cool green­house, con­ser­va­tory or porch – the sud­den shift in tem­per­a­ture may start ger­mi­na­tion in sev­eral va­ri­eties. If any pots don’t show signs of life, keep them and leave out­side next winter – some seeds need two cold win­ters be­fore com­ing up.

 ??  ?? Sow fun: Trees and shrubs are of­ten best sown at this time of year
Sow fun: Trees and shrubs are of­ten best sown at this time of year

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