Before sowing the seeds of these three plants I had to wash thoroughly the sowing trays. This task is very important if you are using the trays from the last year. In order to prevent diseases like rot or wilt, the trays and pots have to be disinfected before sowing or planting. My trays stood in a water solution of chlorine bleach for half an hour.
Make 1:10 solution. It has a funny smell so make sure you do the chlorine solution outside to avoid chlorine vapour inhalation and spreading the stench around the house. Put in the trays and leave for 15 - 30 minutes.
Wash the trays after soaking with lots of water. After that you can fill them in with sowing compost.
I cut the trays to a size to suit the plastic covers I have. Besides, there was not so many seeds in a sachets. So, each tray has 30 cells x 2 seeds each. If all of the seeds germinate there will be more plants than I need.
Verbena hastata 'Pink Spires' (HP) needs to be sown on the surface of slightly firmed, moist compost. I put two to three seeds into each cell, and covered it with some compost. The seeds need to be watered and sealed into a plastic bag to keep the moisture in. Instead of sealing into a plastic bag I put plastic container as cover to the tray. The seeds usually take up to 30 days to germinate but germination can be erratic. There is no need to water the tray anymore because Verbena germinates in almost dry conditions.
Rudbeckia amplexicaulis (Cone Flower, HHP) and Digitalis x mertonensis 'Summer King' (HB) are sown the same way as Verbena. All of three need light to germinate so I covered them only lightly with compost and placed them on the radiator beneath the window.
Rudbeckia germinates rather long; it can take 1 - 4 months.
As for January sowing, that's all. I will be starting "real" sowing at the end of February. Depending on the weather, it might be possibile to do it outdoors as well. Sometimes we have early Spring here.
A few tips from my own experience:
- Be patient, do not discard the trays too early, the seed still might germinate after a long time waiting.
- Avoid watering the trays too much 'cause the seed might rot.
- Some bottom heat helps germination but do not place it on hot radiators!
- Always put a label with a plant name in pots and trays. Putting a date is handy too to controll the period of germination.
HP - hardy perennial
HHP - half hardy perennial
HB - hardy biennial