Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: seedlings

Honesty – Lunaria annua alba – Hardy Biennual

Today, 22nd March, I have sown seeds of this beautiful plant in damp compost and expect them to germinate in 21 days. It is described by Seekay, where the seeds came from, as a quick growing variety that will produce a profusion of fragrant white flowers that appear from May to June of the following year. Once the flowers go over the seed heads that are produced can be used in dried flower arrangements. The plants will reach an eventual height of approx 3′. Advice is to sow the seeds from April on the surface of a good quality damp seed compost. Cover with a light sprinkle of compost then enclose in a polythene bag to retain moisture. With a little heat the seeds should germinate in up to 3 weeks. Transplant into 3″ pots when they are large enough to handle Gradually acclimatise to outside conditions Finally plant into final positions late May onwards appx 12″ apart.

Although you can start your seeds off in pots you can direct sow from mid May until June and I plan to do this for flowers next year. I have started a couple of batches indoors already as I was impatient and still hope for flowers this summer. Lunaria flowers in late May

Mirabalis Jalapa Marbles Mix – Marvel of Peru

Mirabilis Jalapa is an outstanding plant that will produce flowers that are marbled in colours of red, white and yellow. The flowers open in the early morning and evening , Sow seeds between February and April on the surface of a good quality seed compost and cover lightly,  Seeds can take up to a month to germinate. DO NOT EXCLUDE LIGHT as this helps germination.  Keep the compost moist but not waterlogged.  Once large enough to handle transplant into 3″ pots and grow on. When all risk of frost has passed plant out in Sunny well drained site with rich soil. Info, seeds and pictures from Seekay. Four-o-clocks are bushy annuals with colourful flowers and a sweet lemon or orange fragrance. They grow equally well in part shade as well as full sun. They begin flowering in midsummer when sown directly as seed, but will flower earlier if grown as transplants. The individual flowers open early in the morning and late afternoon and are also called four o clock flowers for that reason. They often will stay open until the following morning then close and die.  A single plant may contain different coloured flowers depending on the mix.

I received these seeds today and am looking forward to growing them. They sound very interesting. I plan to soak a few seeds overnight with a view to sowing in modules. I was pleased to learn that they have a  citrus scent too. I have sown these seeds today Wednesday 1st February and apparently they can take up to thirty days to germinate. Update – 12th March and there is one two inch seedling standing alone like a Meer cat on guard and quite a few seeds showing signs of growth. It was worth the forty day wait. 20th March I have potted on six strong seedlings.



Echinacea Primadonna Rose – Cone Flower

These plants came as part of the collection of perennials I bought from Thompson-Morgan and are now overwintering  on the window ledge following first stage potting on. The instructions were to pot on immediately and keep frost free until Spring. They are a tall hardy perennial and will thrive in a sunny or semi shaded position on moist, well drained soil. Coneflowers prefer a deep, fertile soil and will benefit from the addition of some well rotted manure or garden compost to soil, prior to planting.

Perennials – Thompson & Morgan Bargain

I had just about decided to stop gardening today and have a rest when the postman delivered 72 tiny perennial plants I had ordered from T&M. On opening them I could see that they were good healthy seedlings and well worth the £2.99 that I had paid for them. They were, however, in need of potting on. They are now all in new pots. The plants were sold as “lucky dip” so discovering what was in there was exciting. There were six each of Cone Flower, Sea Holly, Dianthus, Thrift, Geum, Foxglove, Aquilegia, Delphinium, and more.

Update on Saturday 22nd October. I have lost one of these seedlings and feel quite concerned about getting them through the winter safely. I wondered whether to plant a few out but on doing a search online I think I will keep them protected until the spring. I don’t have a greenhouse or a cold frame so they will have to live on the window ledge until then.

Wallflowers – Potting and Planning

I spent a bit of time today potting on some seedlings of Wallflowers. I have a couple of large plants in the garden that are past their best so had sown some of their seeds in a tray of compost. I have moved 24 of them on into a module tray. There are still loads left so I shall pot them all on in the hope that they will survive the winter. I love gillies, they brighten up the garden, last ages and smell lovely. They remind me of my Nan and Grandad Bagley who used to grow them and Sweet Williams in their little bit of earth at the back of the brew house. It was mostly coal slack and ash from the fire but they seemed to thrive.


February 8th and the seedlings from the collected seeds are doing well indoors. I have fourteen individual seedlings in small 3″ pots and about  ten all together in a 7″ pot. There are still loads of tiny seedlings outside in a large modular tray.

Growing Update – Seeds and Seedlings

The Lupin seeds have germinated and are already forming true leaves. I have sown seeds of dwarf Nasturtium both a mixed packet and some with variegated leaves and deep red flowers. I have had a go with some dwarf Scabiosa seeds in modules. These are not easy to germinate in my experience so fingers crossed. The other flower seeds I have sown are Honesty, a few collected seeds from my sister.
I bought some bulbs from the pound shop. They are a white Anemone and out of twenty bulbs I have five decent plants which is not bad for a pound after all.
13th April – I have potted on most of my tomato seedlings. I have Black Cherry, Money-maker and Yellow Plum.
I have sown seeds of Beetroot Boltardy in modules today and covered them with Clingfilm. I have also sown runner beans Blue Lake, Black Bean Delinel and Kelvedon Stringless in pots. The White Lady will be sown direct. Down at the allotment all the potatoes are now in. They are Sharps Express, Vivaldi and Rocket. We have put most in bags but some in the ground. The peas and the broad beans are now in their permanent beds at the allotment and one on the new rhubarb crowns has been planted.

Germination Update

Four out of six of the Tomato seedlings are through so I have taken the polythene cover off and stood the pots on the window ledge for light. Quite a few of the leeks are showing already and the brassica tray has about seven tiny green shoots. Looks like the season starts here. The Sweetpeas haven’t shown any signs of life yet so I may put in a few more and sow some early peas for eating at the same time too.


I have loads of seedlings coming through now and have run out of seed compost so have had to stop for a while. The Brussel Sprout seedlings in the propagator must have been too warm as they have shot up and are leggy. I have transplanted the leggy ones to toilet roll tubes and taken the rest out of the warmth. Three of the five Butternut Squash seeds have germinated and look very good. I have sown a mixture of yellow and red sweet pepper seeds in a 7″ pot. I collected them from peppers I have cooked today so they are really fresh. In the greenhouse outside I have planted a large terracotta pot up with Narcissus Tete-a-tete and yellow and blue violas.


Snow as Promised

Sowed two more cucumber Lemon, tomato Totem and tomato Dombito to replace seedlings lost. I shall need to buy more cucumber seeds as the Sunsweet and Burpless have keeled over and they were the last ones from last year. Next year I shall sow the cucumber seeds later in the year.

The weather has turned really cold again. There was a very strong, cold wind this morning and snow has been forcast for later today.

At home we have slabbed over the chicken run so no more mud to wade through next Winter. We have also moved the ducks in to a hutch on legs that they can get in and out of much better as the broody pen was turning out to be not so good for ducks as it has been for the chickens.

snow as promised