Posts Tagged ‘summer sowing’

Snap to it for snapdragons

June 28th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Overwintered antirrhinum for cutting

I grew some tall antirrhinums last year. Many of them I cut for the house, and very pretty they were too. Some I left to do their thing in the garden and, I have to say, they were not dead-headed as diligently as I recommend here!

But the result was that seedlings started to pop up – not many, but enough to notice and enough to decide just to leave them to see what happened. And most of them survived the winter… and grew away in spring… and some were infected by rust disease and some not… and they began flowering in May.

So, I thought to myself, why not deliberately sow them in summer? And then I remembered what I’d said in my book on annuals from over thirty years ago, I recommended that antirrhinums be pulled up and prevented from overwintering as part of an approach to combating rust disease.

Yes, those antirrhinums of mine that overwintered were infected by rust, but not severely. One died, I think, and the rest grew out of it in spring.

The problem with sowing outside in the garden during July or August is finding a sunny place that’s not already occupied. If you have such a spot, sow thinly, thin to about 10-15cm, and transplant alternate seedlings elsewhere in the autumn.

But sowing in large cells is a better bet. You can use the plug trays that your mail order seedlings came in, wash them thoroughly and sow a few seeds in each. Keep them cool and moist, move them into a brighter place when they’ve emerged, thin the seedlings to one or two and plant when their roots start to fill the cells. Choose one of the taller varieties such as ‘Tootsie’ with flowers in pure white and rich pink or medium height varieties such as ‘Night And Day’. I think it’s well worth a try.

Urban Gardening: Growing Lettuce & Salad Leaves in Containers [video]

August 2nd, 2016 | The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

Urban Gardening - Mixed Green Salad (Nation of Gardeners)


With smaller gardens it can be tricky to fit in everything you’d like to. Cut-and-come-again salad leaves are quick and easy to grow and small enough to fit into almost any container, making them perfect for gardeners with limited time or space. This video offers advice on doing urban gardening well.

You will need;

  • Good quality potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Container with drainage holes

The best salads for containers are loose leaf or mesclun salad varieties.

  1. Fill the container with potting soil, up to 1 inch/2cm below the rim and pat down to ensure a level surface.
  2. Sprinkle the seeds thinly and evenly over the surface of the compost, then cover these over with a fine layer of potting soil.
  3. Pat down the potting soil to ensure the seeds are in place.
  4. Water the container carefully using a watering can, fitted with a rose to avoid washing the seeds out.

To care for your salad seedlings:

  • Move the container into a bright space, or if you’re gardening in a hot spot, such as on a balcony or roof terrace, dry to choose a cool and shady corner.
  • Check daily and water as necessary dependent on weather conditions.
  • Once the seedlings begin to germinate, you will need to thin them out a little to ensure those remaining have at least an inch between one another.
  • The leaves are ready to cut about 4 – 6 weeks after sowing, harvest little and often by using a sharp knife or scissors to cut away the largest leaves every few days. This will in turn stimulate new leaves.

These are just a few tips on getting started with urban gardening and growing salad leaves in containers. The video below offers further advice to taking care of salad and lettuce leaves. You can also browse Mr Fothergills salad seeds here on the online shop. If you have any tips for urban gardening, do let us know in the comments.

Urban Gardening: Growing Lettuce & Salad Leaves in Containers