Winter can be a quiet time of year for gardeners, but not for those of us who like to start sowing early.
- Early sowing maximises the use of your growing space throughout the year, and plants flower earlier than normal when sown in winter. Succession sowing, where you sow batches of the same seed two or more weeks apart, delivers a longer flowering season.
- Early sowing is very useful for some perennials, which flower in the first year when sown early, when you may normally have to wait for a second season of growth for flowers.
- For early sowing you need a greenhouse or some windowsill space. You need to provide some heat to encourage the seeds to germinate, and a propagator can be very helpful.
- Damping off diseases can be an issue with seed sowing at this time of year. These diseases cause the death of seedlings below and above the soil. Clean trays and fresh bagged compost help to keep this under control. Controlling the moisture levels of seed trays also reduces damping off and rotting of seeds.
- With winter comes lower light levels and young seedlings need light to thrive. Choose a sunny windowsill or greenhouse to grow them on once you have transplanted the seedlings into small pots. Grow lamps are especially useful at this time of year, encouraging the seedlings to grow faster and stronger.
-Scabious (1st year flowering perennial)
And for sowing outdoors in a greenhouse in winter:
-Verbena (1st year flowering perennial)