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Old 20-08-2019, 09:44 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

My wife's favourite, *favourite* annual is Cosmos.

This year, all her seedlings came to nought: they were already pretty
weedy when she set them out, but since then the vagaries of the weather
have made them all lose the will to live: the stunted remains, with
small weedy flowers, had to be pulled out last weekend.

She has sown from seed into trays for years and years, usually with
spectacular results around this time of year. We can't guess what she
may have done wrong this year, but for next January/February ....

What is the best way to grow from seed? My wife sows them indoors in
trays, and places the trays in front of a south facing window; they
usually germinate well (but to my own eye) they always grow up rather
leggy.

She moves them to the greenhouse (unheated) when the weather warms up,
and when they're big enough she transplants them to individual small
plastic pots. She plants them out in April.

Questions I have a what are the dangers of over-watering (could that
be the cause of legginess? And: what's the best sort of compost to use
for annual seeds?

We're in Tynedale, Northumberland.

John

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Old 21-08-2019, 08:37 AM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

On 20/08/2019 21:44, Another John wrote:
My wife's favourite, *favourite* annual is Cosmos.

This year, all her seedlings came to nought: they were already pretty
weedy when she set them out, but since then the vagaries of the weather
have made them all lose the will to live: the stunted remains, with
small weedy flowers, had to be pulled out last weekend.

She has sown from seed into trays for years and years, usually with
spectacular results around this time of year. We can't guess what she
may have done wrong this year, but for next January/February ....

What is the best way to grow from seed? My wife sows them indoors in
trays, and places the trays in front of a south facing window; they
usually germinate well (but to my own eye) they always grow up rather
leggy.


Leggy means they are growing with insufficient light. Your best bet is
plant the seeds two or three weeks later when the sun is getting higher
in the sky or find a away to supplement their light artificially.

She moves them to the greenhouse (unheated) when the weather warms up,
and when they're big enough she transplants them to individual small
plastic pots. She plants them out in April.


Once they are in the greenhouse then they should not be short of light.
But putting them out in strong spring sunshine after being on a
windowsill they may need a few days partial shade to adjust.

Hardening them off before planting out is the other essential step.
Otherwise you are just growing slug food.

Questions I have a what are the dangers of over-watering (could that
be the cause of legginess? And: what's the best sort of compost to use
for annual seeds?

We're in Tynedale, Northumberland.


You are further north than me so planting late makes even more sense.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
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Old 21-08-2019, 05:40 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

Chris and Martin: thanks for your advice. She's doing everything right,
but your comments and recommendations on planting a little later could
well prove useful: thanks a lot!

John
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Old 21-08-2019, 06:38 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

On 21/08/2019 17:40, Another John wrote:
Chris and Martin: thanks for your advice. She's doing everything right,
but your comments and recommendations on planting a little later could
well prove useful: thanks a lot!


It has been a weird year for growing things. I have had my entire eating
apple crop fail to set fruit at all. But the usually very tetchy Nashi
pear has a bumper crop as does the cooking apple. Other growers nearby
similarly affected so not just me in a frost pocket.

I can only assume we had a particularly vicious frost at the wrong time.

--
Regards,
Martin Brown
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Old 22-08-2019, 03:53 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

On Tue, 20 Aug 2019 21:44:25 +0100 Another John
posted:

My wife's favourite, *favourite* annual is Cosmos.

This year, all her seedlings came to nought: they were already pretty
weedy when she set them out, but since then the vagaries of the weather
have made them all lose the will to live: the stunted remains, with
small weedy flowers, had to be pulled out last weekend.

She has sown from seed into trays for years and years, usually with
spectacular results around this time of year. We can't guess what she
may have done wrong this year, but for next January/February ....

What is the best way to grow from seed? My wife sows them indoors in
trays, and places the trays in front of a south facing window; they
usually germinate well (but to my own eye) they always grow up rather
leggy.

She moves them to the greenhouse (unheated) when the weather warms up,
and when they're big enough she transplants them to individual small
plastic pots. She plants them out in April.

Questions I have a what are the dangers of over-watering (could that
be the cause of legginess? And: what's the best sort of compost to use
for annual seeds?

We're in Tynedale, Northumberland.

John


Among my favourites are cosmos, dahlias, snap dragons and marigolds and
I sow then all in to seed trays March/April into an unheated
conservatory. When they are big enough I transfer into individual
newspaper pots.

I find that they are well big enough to go out after the frosts (so May
rather than April), and in fact are sometimes already getting too big
and are desperate to be put into the garden, even with the later sowing.

What I also find helps a lot with the light issue and legginess, as my
conservatory is on the north side of my house, is moving the plants
around as well as making sure I pinch them out.




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Old 23-08-2019, 12:02 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

On 20/08/2019 21:44, Another John wrote:
My wife's favourite, *favourite* annual is Cosmos.

This year, all her seedlings came to nought: they were already pretty
weedy when she set them out, but since then the vagaries of the weather
have made them all lose the will to live: the stunted remains, with
small weedy flowers, had to be pulled out last weekend.

She has sown from seed into trays for years and years, usually with
spectacular results around this time of year. We can't guess what she
may have done wrong this year, but for next January/February ....

What is the best way to grow from seed? My wife sows them indoors in
trays, and places the trays in front of a south facing window; they
usually germinate well (but to my own eye) they always grow up rather
leggy.

She moves them to the greenhouse (unheated) when the weather warms up,
and when they're big enough she transplants them to individual small
plastic pots. She plants them out in April.

Questions I have a what are the dangers of over-watering (could that
be the cause of legginess? And: what's the best sort of compost to use
for annual seeds?

We're in Tynedale, Northumberland.

John

The culprit is probably the compost, peat free and reduced peat compost
get a variety of stuff added which is normally fine but every now and
again a batch of what ever they have rotted down to add causes problems,
unfortunately you can not single out a particular brand, they can all do
this from time to time, the way we get around this on the nursery is to
A; add soil at about one third soil to two thirds compost (we just use
wicks bagged soil)
B; feed the resulting mix with a slow release fertilizer the combination
of this has meant no further problems

Some plants just seem more sensitive to peat free problems than others

--
Charlie Pridham
Gardening in Cornwall
www.roselandhouse.co.uk
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Old 24-08-2019, 05:48 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Disaster in the flower patch, 2019

In article ,
Charlie Pridham wrote:

The culprit is probably the compost, peat free and reduced peat compost
get a variety of stuff added which is normally fine but every now and
again a batch of what ever they have rotted down to add causes problems,
unfortunately you can not single out a particular brand, they can all do
this from time to time, the way we get around this on the nursery is to
A; add soil at about one third soil to two thirds compost (we just use
wicks bagged soil)
B; feed the resulting mix with a slow release fertilizer the combination
of this has meant no further problems
Some plants just seem more sensitive to peat free problems than others


That's very useful Charlie thank you. We have often wondered about the
compost ... we always use new, but it's usually "3 Large bags for £10"
kind of stuff. I'll try your recipe :-)

John


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