How to sow

Having assembled the necessary pots, compost, and equipment, you need to establish a good light area in which to grow the seeds. The average temperature should be around 59°F and should not drop too far below this at night. Ideally, germinate seeds in a heated propagating case in a greenhouse. Once you have sown the seeds (see below), keep the containers well watered, ensuring that they do not dry out or become waterlogged. Even quantities of water at frequent intervals produce the most successful results. A fine rose fitted to the watering can will ensure that the seeds are not washed away.
Remember that many plants will not germinate without some extra warmth.
A large number of the plants used for summer bedding are half-hardy annuals, and their seeds will not germinate in garden soil until early summer; therefore, sow them in spring under glass or clear plastic wrap.
1 Fill u seed tray to the rim with suitable compost. Firm gently until llie compost is Vi in. below the rim. For very fine seeds, sieve another thin layer of fine compost over the surface and firm lightly.
2 Sow the seeds as evenly as possible over the surface. Sow half in one direction, then turn the tray and sow the remainder in the opposite direction to ensure even distribution.
3 Sieve a thin layer of fine compost over the seeds and firm gently. If you have very fine seeds, press them lightly into the surface of the compost, rather than covering them with more compost.
4 Lightly water the seed tray be/ore covering it with a sheet of clear glass or plastic wrap, and a sheet of newspaper if required (the paper provides shade to prevent the compost from drying out).
When to transplant
You can tell when a seedling is ready to be transplanted because it will have developed its first true leaves. Prior to that stage in its development, the seedling develops its seed leaves (known as cotyledons). These swell on germination to force the seed coat to split open, but the true pair of leaves that appear next indicate that the plant is now strong enough to handle life outdoors. At this point, the plant will withstand the shock of transplantation more easily.

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