Trial 02 is about whether it’s a good idea to sow annuals early.  Read more here, but as a reminder, I have 3 varieties in this trial. I sowed the first batch in early February when it was still cold and the days were short. The seeds were sown using the standard method I’ve been following this year, and have all been in the heated propagation bench.

  1. Cosmos ‘Rubenza’ – they germinated reasonably well, I transplanted about 20 pretty leggy seedlings into a half tray to grow on a bit, of those just two remain, and one of those looks a bit sad, flopped over. When should I sow cosmos seedsThey either succumbed to lack of light, or damping off, or because they don’t like transplanting.   The remaining Cosmos is either lucky, or blessed with some kind of ninja powers. Like Geoff Boycott always says, we need to see the other side bat before drawing any conclusions, but so far the early sowing of Cosmos looks like a loser.
  2. Antirhinum – germinated fairly well I think, I’ve pricked them out into a half-tray, they seem to be doing fine.  Still in the land of the living, at any rate. What is the best time to sow annuals seeds
  3. Lobelia – also germinated very well, lots of little seedlings carpeting the tray I sowed them in, so they certainly didn’t seem to mind the early sowing from a germination point of view.  However, there was an extinction event, I know not what, which finished them all off. All of them! Could have damped off, could have been munched by a mollusc, there were a few before I went medieval on them.  All I know is one day there were looking dandy, the next day, a vermiculite desert.  My money is on the slugs. Happily, however, the lobelia has staged a limited comeback, with a smattering of seedlings achieving a worthwhile size.Good time to sow annuals I have just pricked them out in batches into 7cm pots.  Not a huge return on a sowing of approximately 700 seeds. 

I have now sown the second, later batch in the same way, and they have also gone in the heated bench. 

The question really is how quickly will they catch up with the early batch, and will more of them survive the experience. The ultimate test will be first flower date.  Despite two months difference in sowing dates, my guess is that there won’t be much difference in the first flowering date.  
In fact, the hypothesis for the trial is:

Seeds in Group 2 reach flowering much faster than those in Group 1.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with a germination update on Group 2.

Did you sow early? How have your early sown annuals performed so far?