Many seeds can be sown directly into flowerbeds.
1 Prepare the soil. Remove any weeds and large pebbles and, if you haven’t composted the bed for a while, do so now – adding a few handfuls of bonemeal at the same time. Dig the soil over well.
2 Level the soil and walk over it lightly to tamp it down a little. Then use a rake to lightly loosen the surface level.
3 If you plan to group different flowers in the same bed, you can mark the separate areas with river sand bought from your local nursery. You can also buy packets of mixed seeds to sow in a single bed for a colourful look.
4 Mark rows in the beds with a stick. Sowing the seeds in straight lines makes it easier to distinguish between seedlings and weeds once they sprout. Don’t scatter them too densely, but sow more than you think you’ll need, you can always thin out the seedlings later.
5 Gently cover the seeds with soil.
6 Water well with a fine sprinkler rosette and keep the soil moist until the seedlings are well established.
Some seeds fare best sown into trays before being planted out into flowerbeds. Linda Keevy of Heaven Scent, a nursery and cut-flower garden near Grabouw, shows us how.
1 Make sure your seed tray is clean and fill it to the top with the soil.
2 Press the soil down by hand until it’s about 1cm from the top of the tray, then water well with a fine sprinkler rosette.
3 Draw lines in the soil with your finger.
4 Carefully sow the seeds in the rows; plant larger seeds such as sunflowers and zinnias individually. Be careful not to sow very fine seeds such as poppies too densely.
5 Cover the seeds with a fine layer of seeding soil. Water the seeds with a fine sprinkler rosette and stand them in a cool place, keeping the soil moist until the seeds have germinated.
6 Once your seedlings are about 5cm tall, or have one or two leaves, transplant them into individual seed trays so that each seedling has room to grow. Carefully water the soil before doing this and gently lift the seedlings to prevent damaging the roots. Once the individual seedlings have grown into healthy young plants, it’s time to bed them out. Water regularly and you’ll enjoy a lovely display within two to three months.
Source Flower Gardener by Pippa Greenwood