Spring Grow-A-Long

It’s a new season, keep up to date with the Grow-A-Long here

I have also included the last of the late Winter sowings jus to keep things simple.

There is a cold spell coming so, stay tuned we might have to move things around a bit.

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23rd April 2023

Patio Pot Runner Beans

Runner beans grow really quickly and are very tender, so I start my plants 3 weeks from my last frost date.

Runner beans need alkaline conditions. Growing in pots means we can all grow them irrespective of your soil conditions.

Hot dry conditions can inhibit beans forming.

Misting the flowers with tepid water at nighttime and watering constantly will help.

22nd April 2023

Grow-A-Long Panicum Frosted Explosion

Wherever you decide to germinate your seeds make sure it’s bright.

A greenhouse that gets sunshine or a windowsill that gets direct sun for part of the day.

If you are too far away from the light Panicum won’t germinate.

19th April 2023

The seed sowing part of the Grow-A-Long is drawing to a close.

This week I am sowing:
Nicotiana (video below)
Panicum Frosted Explosion
Runner Beans

Videos to follow shortly

The Grow-A-Long doesn’t stop here together we will be planting, cutting and arranging the blooms, and of course we have more to do on Dahlias.

Happy sowing!

15th April 2023

China Aster (Callistephus chinensis)

Don’t confuse these with cottage garden Asters (Symphyotrichum), which are herbaceous perennials and can be invasive.
This showstopper is from Northern China. it blooms right at the end of the season, just as everything else is starting to fade and look a little tired.

China asters come in a multitude of dazzling colours. I have selected my favourites for the spring grow-a-long shop.

China asters can suffer from botrytis if allowed to get too cold and wet. Tender plants, you must protect at all costs from frost. don’t start them off too early.

Another reason to delay starting China asters is they are light sensitive. for best results wait until daylight levels have returned to around 14 hours – mid April for me.

12th April 2023

Grow-A-Long Orach ‘Tricolour Plumes’ (Atriplex hortensis)

Next up on the Grow-A-Long I am starting Orach ‘Tricolour Plumes’ (Atriplex hortensis).

I’ve got a bit more room in my greenhouse now so I’ll also be doing a bit of potting on, the Malope is first on my list, followed by the Phlox, Carnations, Snapdragons and Tomatoes.

That should keep me occupied until the weather improves.

As always I’ll share what I’m doing on stories with catch up videos on Greenhouse updates later.

10th April 2023

Time to sow our Cucumbers 🥒

6th April 2023

Amaranthus Grow-A-Long

Hopefully you have some more room in your greenhouse now the Autumn plants have been hardened off and are starting to go ‘Out’ ‘Out’ into the garden.

Plenty of jobs for the bank holiday!

Happy Easter

1st April 2023

With only 6 weeks to go until our last frost date, we can now turn our attention to starting our dahlias.

They are not house plants and can grow very quickly, so we have waited until now to wake them up.

We don’t want them too large before planting ‘out out’. This will also ensure they can bloom all the way until the end of the season and still look fresh as a daisy!

Dahlias do get tired if started too early.

You will find 17 videos on everything from starting your dahlias, taking cuttings, dividing, dividing huge tubers, finding the eyes on dahlias (where they sprout), pinching, planting, a comprehensive video on dahlia gall and a free factsheet!

There is even a Dahlia Hall of Fame with images of varieties I’ve grown over the years.

30th March 2023

Grow-A-Long Strawflowers

Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum (Syn.Bracteantha bracteate, Xerochrysum bracteatum)) Hopefully you have a little more room now and are ready for another seed to start.

All the details are covered in this video as well as the Spring Grow-A-Long Handbook.

For daily updates follow me on Instagram @zoewoodwardgardening

24th March 2023

Grow-A-Long Zinnias!

Zinnias are actually light sensitive so if you start them too late you’ll have to wait ages for summer flowers!

I’m mindful that it’s cold on Sunday night, so if you sow your Zinnias this weekend by the time they are up and ready to into the greenhouse the temperatures will have risen again and you won’t be tripping over seed trays. All the details are in the video

Page 33 of the Spring Grow-A-Long Handbook

21st March 2023

Grow-A-Long Wrinkled Cress

The perfect summer filler. Really easy to grow.

Germination should begin in about 4 days so if you are going to start them indoors (no heat mat) set an alarm on your phone to whisk them outside then.

Page 32 of your Spring Grow-A-Long Handbook

18th March 2023

Grow-A-Long Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea annua)


Mid March is the perfect time to start these first year flowering hollyhocks!

If you are wondering about standard Hollyhocks I have included information in the video for those as well.

14th March 2023

Statice – Limonium sinuatum

No immediate rush for this one, it’s going to be a cold night so your windowsills might be full.

You can even do a second sowing later which I explain in the video.

Page 30 of your ‘Spring Grow-A-Long’ Handbook.

But I thought you like the heads up so you can plan for the weekend and enjoy a little virtual trip into summer sunshine.

11th March 2023

Cosmos Grow-A-Long

Cosmos is light sensitive, sowing too late in the Spring can delay flowering resulting in the dreaded ‘Cosmos Trees’!

However from my trials I have found that sown too early the lower light levels initiate flowering too quickly at the expense of vegetative growth giving short plants with small flowers.

About now is the ideal time to start Cosmos for the best of both worlds.

7th March 2023

Grow-A-Long Apple mint Lamiaceae/Labiatae

Apple mint is a true perennial so there is no rush sow this today, however if you do fancy getting them started you only need a space for a small pot.

Apple mint seeds are seriously tiny and won’t need pricking out until April.

Once up and running as your see from my video that they make strong robust plants that are easy to grow and look after.

If nothing else just relax and enjoy the fast forward into Spring and Summer and see how I use it in arranging.

4th March 2023

Carnations ‘Dianthus caryophyllus’

Technically a tender perennial Carnations are best grown as an annual.

They dislike damp conditions so are unsuitable for Autumn Jump Starting.

Sown in late winter gives them not only the time and but also lower temperatures at the young plant stage to achieve strong bushy growth.

26th February 2023

Grow A Long Phlox drummondii

Late February into early March is the best time to sow Phlox.

They are daylight neutral so it’s the cooler temperature after germination that we rely on to bulk up plants.

Page 26 of your Spring Grow-A-Long Handbook.

24th February 2023

Sowing and growing Rudbeckia hirta ‘Sahara’

Now is the perfect time to start your Rudbeckia.

Technically a tender perennial it will take longer to germinate and grow than the seeds we’ve recently been sowing. Needing a warm germination period it’s the ideal job for a bit of indoor gardening.

In the video the big pot (60cm diameter) has 11 plants and the wheelbarrow contains 21 plants and will bloom through to the frosts.

Rudbeckia germination after 12 days indoors but not on a heat mat.

22nd February 2023

Agrostemma githagos late Winter 2nd sowing

Agrostemma grows quickly from a late Winter sowing giving you plants about a month later than those grown from an Autumn Jump Start.

They are a bit shorter, but in my opinion plenty tall enough to be worth the effort, more details in the video.

For the original Grow-A-Long Video click below.

21st February 2023

Greater Quaking Grass (Briza maxima) late Winter sowing

Sow only if you need to, plants will flower a tiny bit later but still around the same time so you won’t get much of a succession.

Late Winter sown plants will be shorter and more delicate.

The change is that seeds will need to be started somewhere warm around 18C. The greenhouse is much colder than it was in the Autumn when it was naturally both warm and humid.

For the original Grow-A-Long Video click below.

19th February 2023

Scabiosa atropurpurea Grow-A-Long

Also known as the ‘Pincushion Flower’, Scabiosa atropurpurea flowers on strong tall stems in high summer. These delicate blooms dance in the breeze attracting bees and butterflies.

Plants will grow too quickly from an autumn sowing, so we will delay sowing until late winter when the light levels return.

Sow one seed per cell making a small impression in the compost and laying the seed in the dip. As seeds germinate, I find they can push themselves up, out of the compost.

Light aids germination so we don’t want to cover seeds.

Simply back fill the dip with compost later to secure and support seedlings as they grow.

17th February 2023

Stocks (Matthiola incana) Grow-A-Long

This Weekend we will be sowing our Stocks (both ‘Pot’ and ‘Cut Flower’ varieties) In this video I will explain about sowing and growing including doing a 2nd sowing in 3 weeks time!

Here are the full videos on Stock Selection I mentioned.

15th February 2023

Malope trifida Grow-A-Long

Late Winter is the perfect time to sow Malope.

Plants grow too quickly from an Autumn sowing and dislike languishing in cold compost trays so we will delay sowing until late winter when the light levels return.

Sow one seed per cell. Chilling seeds for 2-3 weeks before sowing really helps speed up germination. I pre-chilled the January seed shop seeds, so if you ordered from us you are good to go!

Cover seeds lightly with compost.

16th February 2023

Snapdragons Late Winter Sowing

It’s time to pinch the Autumn Jump Starter Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) and sow another round.

12th February 2023

Late Winter Sweet Pea Sowing

If you missed the Autumn Jump Starter or you’ve discovered some new varieties that you would like to grow you have one last chance to sow your Sweetpeas now for flowers this coming summer!

For lots more information on Sweet Peas click below

11th February 2023

Round 2 Late Winter Started Anemones and Ranunculus

Pre sprout them indoors it’s much to cold out in the Greenhouse and Corms may rot!

This is the video I mentioned in the Tutorial

6th February 2023