How To Propagate Seeds Outdoorsby: Paul Curran
Annuals can be grown readily from seed in most cases. The method of growing depends upon the delicacy or hardiness of the seed, and may require planting in frames or pots initially, transferring to the bed only when the weather is sufficiently mild and the plants well grown.
Many perennials and biennials may also be propagated from seed. This method, however, is not suited to all perennials, and some of the methods already discussed will yield more fruitful results. Typical perennials which can be propagated from seed are: Hollyhock, Christmas rose, Columbine, Bleeding heart, Baby's breath, Foxglove, Butterfly weed, Primrose, Larkspur.
Depending on the variety of seed, most annuals and perennials which can be grown by this method can be planted in seedbeds out doors. The time for planting varies. A few can be sown in autumn, but most, however, should be sown in spring, and, to be safe, not before the last frost has passed.
The big disadvantage of outdoor seed sowing is that one sacrifices control over the circumstances under which the seeds will germinate. In an indoor hotbed, or coldframe, conditions of moisture, heat, etc., can be regulated. Not so in the outdoors, where dryness or changing weather can destroy the weaker seeds quickly. If an outdoor seedbed is planned, choose a spot with good soil.
Then work in a portion of your compost pile, pulverizing the soil to the depth of 3 inches. Adding some sand and peat moss increases the effectiveness of the bed. Most seed may be planted on the surface, and the deepest one should plant is 1/2 inch. The bed should be well-watered after the seed has been broadcast over the entire area. The bed can then be lightly tamped.
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