It’s around this time of year when the sheer folly of sowing so many damn seeds is clear. All that pricking out, potting on, otherwise messing about can be a bit time consuming. I did a quick headcount the other evening.  Despite being fairly strict about the number of seedlings I kept, I still have well over 300 seedlings pricked out or potted on. There are more to come, either recently sown or reluctant germinators.  The practical, rational types among you may be thinking now “where on Earth is he going to put them all?”, but to you I say “that’s not important right now”.

Once pricked out, usually into trays, after a few weeks the seedlings are usually ready to move on to individual pots or in to module cells.  This year I have made use of some quite deep module cells in which petunias came last year, cutting them up into handy sizes. These aren’t much smaller than 7cm pots and make life easier from a logistical point of view – easier to move about and I only need 1 label per section.   Let’s have a look at some of those 300.

I’m growing ricinus for the first time.  While the seeds germinated quite fast, they immediately looked quite sickly. I’m not sure why, perhaps they were starving. I potted on the three best, giving them plenty of room and a bit of feed by way of the John Innes #3 compost.


I liberated some seeds from crocosmia ‘lucifer’ at Waterperry gardens back in October. I may at some point come to regret this, but for now the seedlings seem happy enough.


I am growing a number of different geraniums from seed this year. Some have been slow to germinate but these g. sanguineum are growing away happily enough.


As are the g. magnificum.  I just have a few of each type.


I’m looking forward to the sidalcea ‘rosaly’.  These were sown on the 2nd of March so are quite small still. Also known as prairie mallow, they are related to hollyhocks but much smaller.  This variety has flower spikes with soft pink flowers and should be happy in full sun or partial shade. I may not get flowers this year…


I half-heartedly grew nigella last year but with poor results.  I’ve sown a bunch this year too, the usual persian jewels mix.  Just a few have germinated, so I will leave them be for a while before pricking out.


The Mexican fleabane are doing nicely in their module tray section. One could argue that I have too many of them. I figure I can plant some to overflow the edges of planters.


I have some lobelia every year. I usually try to grow some from seed, leave them too long in the modules then they die. Then I buy some. This year will be different.  Honest.


I have tried to grow eryngium from seed but never had any joy.  This year I have seed of e. ‘Graham Thomas Selection’ so am trying manfully once more.  I can at least report some germination. Once sown, their 7cm pot was left out in the cold frame for a few months, which in this case has done the trick. I have seedlings!


The lupins continue to do well, I think they will soon be ready to pot on to roomier accommodation.


I got these nemophilia ‘pennie black’ seeds for Christmas. A low growing, front row kind of plant, I gather. They are doing quite nicely in their section of module tray.


After a couple of barren years, I have had some cosmos joy this year. I have a few different varieties on the go, including some from seeds saved last year.  I am sorry to report, however, that there has been a breach in my critter defences. The entire pot of c. sulphureous were munched back to the compost. I later found a fat, happy snail clinging to the side of a nearby pot. It was lobbed with due ceremony into the weedy patch over the back fence.


No sulphureous for me this year then. Happily I have others taking up the strain.  Just have to keep the beasties away.


I could go on. And on.  But I have actual gardening to do, and so do you, I expect.

I’ll be back in a few weeks with more germination rumination.