Once the first few weeks of term are out of the way, a few bulbs have arrived ready for planting, the apples are harvested and Cally's made a batch or two of chutney, our thoughts turn to a bit of autumn seed sowing.
Unlike many vegetable seeds, it is possible to sow flower seeds right now. Not all seeds, but those hardy annuals which are designed to tough it out through the winter and then put on a spurt in the spring, once the weather starts to warm up. We particularly like cerinthe, cornflowers, ammi and calendula. Some ornamental grasses (a particular speciality with Sara) do well too. In general, the further north you live, the earlier you should sow. A friend in Scotland sows hers in August (when her children go back to school). In the far south west you can get away with waiting until mid October. In Wiltshire mid to end of September is ideal.
You can sow direct into the ground, into modules or sit back and let nature do the work for you, like Cally did with cerinthe on her allotment. Here's a picture of a bed of self sown seedlings doing well.
If you are an Our Flower Patch member, you'll have received your seed pack and we'll be guiding you through the process of sowing hardy annuals, sharing our hints and tips for successful sowing and providing some National curriculum-linked lesson plans to help you make the most of your outdoor area. Look out for them in your in box soon.
Happy autumn sowing.
Cally and Sara