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sowing hardy annuals in compost .

I cleaned up the garden and I will need to fill low areas with (store bought) compost. Tomorrow I want to sow hardy annuals. I read that they need poor soil so they won't start growing right away.
But the compost will have fertilizer added, will it be OK to sow my seeds in this? Or is it better not to level lower areas with compost?
Thanks  :)


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    Do you mean to sow them direct? It's not a great time of year for that. Spring is the time. 
    Hardy annuals sown just now need a poorer medium as you don't want them to grow rapidly. They're best sown now in trays or pots for planting in spring, but in a poorer medium like old compost or seed compost.
    I'm not sure what you mean by levelling lower areas,  however, putting compost on bare areas of the garden is good for the soil, and you can then sow direct there next year, as the nutritional value would be reduced anyway, and also because it's fine for sowing direct at that time of year. It would depend on the type of seed you're sowing as to the best timing, and your local conditions will also dictate that  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi Fairygirl  :)
    This is what I mean with sowing hardy annuals in September (see links below):

    I want to sow Calendula, Californian poppies, Centaurea pola dot and Nigella. On the package it says to sow them direct in September.

    I am new at this, so please correct me if I got this wrong :-)

    At the moment the soil in my garden is very uneven, the spaces between the plants are lower than the plants. Probably because I removed a lot of plants. I was thinking to level it up with bagged compost. Which would add nutrition to the soil. Which would not be good for the autumn sowing as the seeds need to germinate slowly, not quickly.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    In theory, you can sow direct, but only if your conditions are suitable. You need to be realistic about that. Bear in mind that it's nearly October, and early September is quite different in terms of light and warmth, again depending on where you are in the country. 
    Something already established,  which self seeds  [like nigella] is a different thing too, so once you have them, you may find they self seed quite reliably :)

    I can't direct sow here at this time of year. Very few would make it, so it's quite wasteful. It's one of those decisions only you can make though. Why not try some now, but keep some seed back for spring?  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thans! Will do.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,702
    It depends on where you live. Fairygirl lives in Scotland. If you live in the south it should be fine to sow now. I would dig the compost into the soil a bit in the shallow areas. But compost does shrink so if you could add some soil or use John Innes with loam it would be better. The fertiliser in compost, I've found, doesn't make it hugely rich, just enough to keep plants going for a month or so. I never use seed compost anyway. I live in SW France a lot of the time and seed compost is very expensive. I think Sarah Raven gives could advice and she's an expert.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,081
    Which is why I said it depends on location @Busy-Lizzie :)
    When I started gardening decades ago, I spent years wondering why seed didn't germinate and grow, even in spring,  because almost all the advice on gardening programmes and magazines etc was aimed at gardening further south, in a totally different climate and much earlier.  
    It's very disheartening for new gardeners when you believe you're doing things wrong, and it's not - it's often simply location and climate.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I am even more North than you  are, Failrygirl.
    And I am a beginning gardener.
     :|   :)
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,705
    If you are further North than fairy, I don't think outside sowing of annuals in Autumn is really practical. Wait until Spring.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
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