MISTAKES TO AVOID IN GROWING ANNUALS

Sowing seed too deeply

Fine seeds should be scattered on seed-bed and pressed in by tamper; cover larger seeds with depth of soil equal to their diameter when sowing indoors, 3 or 4 times their diameter when sowing outdoors.







Waiting until spring to plant all annuals

Hardy annuals can be planted in autumn for an early start in spring. These include Alyssum, Calif. Poppy, Calliopsis, Calendula, Centaurea, Cosmos, Gypsophila, Larkspur, Nigella, annual Pinks, Snapdragon, Snow-on-the-Mountain and Sweet Peas.

Starting Scabiosa, Begonia, Verbena, Petunia, Lobelia, Cobaea Scan-dens, China Asters and Snapdragons too late

These need a long season of growth. Start the seeds indoors in March.

Planting Ageratunt, Cape-marigold, Ipomoea, Mignonette, or Nasturtiums too early out-of-doors

These are tender annuals. Plant seed indoors in March (except Nasturtiums which dislike transplanting) or outdoors when all danger of frost is past and the ground has warmed up.

Using old seed

Before planting old seed, test its germination by placing a few seeds on moist blotting paper or old sheeting covered with soup plate to keep in moisture. The percentage of germination can then be calculated.

Planting seeds of annuals too thickly

If seedlings come up very thickly it invites attack by damping-off fungi, and it is almost impossible to thin them. Very fine seed should be mixed with sand to aid in distributing it evenly.

Planting annuals seeds in poorly prepared soil

See that the seed-bed is well worked, raked smooth, the surface soil pulverized, before planting.

Growing annual herbs in rich soil

For best fragrance and flavor, most herbs must be grown in a sweet, sandy soil, in sun and not too well fertilized.

Trying to grow most annuals in acid soil

Do not try to grow annuals (except Caliiopsis, Marigold, Niťotiana and Verbena which tolerate acidity) in soil below pH6.5. To sweeten soil add lime at the rate of 15 to 25 lbs. per 500 square feet.

Planting annuals without due regard to their heights

A wild garden is pretty, but every bloom is better seen and enjoyed if flowers are carefully stepped back according to height, with procumbent or dwarf edgers in front and tall growers in the rear.

Planting annuals in shade

Very few annuals do well in shade. At least morning sun should be available. Although a few annuals, like Balsam, Lobelia and Browallia, will grow fairly well in the shade, they will not be so satisfactory as those which receive ample sunshine.

Planting Nasturniums in too rich soil

This results in vigorous vine growth but few or no flowers. They bloom best on a lean diet. Surplus nitrogen especially is to be avoided.





Transplanting annuals in dry, sunny weather

Choose a cloudy day, when soil is moist, if possible. Then the operation of watering is eliminated and newly set plants will not be wilted by strong sun.

Planting Cosmos without protection from strong winds

The slender stems and branches of Cosmos are easily blown about even when staked. Plant against a fence or shrubbery border to give protection, or provide support before plants are full gown.

Transplanting (or pricking off) Lobelia seedlings singly

Lobelias of the bedding types should always be transplanted into flats in little bunches of five or six plants each.

Transplanting Salpiglossis

This lovely annual resents transplanting. Prepare bed with great care and plant seeds where they are to grow.

Transplanting California Poppies, Mignonette, Gypsophila, Godetia, Nasturtiums and Portulaca

These resent transplanting and seldom do well if so treated. Sow them where they are to grow.

Getting in a rut when ordering annuals

Try a few flowers new to you each year. Some of these may suit your soil and climate to a T. Torenia or Wishbone flower is excellent for late summer and fall. Seeds are difficult to germinate but once established they sell-seed, coming up freely very late in spring Moss Verbena, also sell-seeds well. It is a natural for walls, walks and rough spots. Color: deep orchid.

Failure to select disease resistant varieties

Especially with Snapdragons and Asters, disease-resistant types will help to avoid disappointing losses.

Permitting seedlings started indoors to grow leggy and weak

If annual seedlings started indoors begin to look weak and gangling before it is time to set them out, try to rig up a cold frame or window greenhouse to give them sunshine and clean air.

Neglecting to thin annual seedlings

Thin to the distance at which they should grow, before they begin to crowd each other. Unless They are very small, a cloudy day is preferable for this work.

Failure to provide early support for annual vines

Ipomoea, Cobaea Scandens, Sweet Peas and other annual vines will not grow as they should unless string or other tall support is provided as soon as the plants are set out.

Letting weeds get a start among the annuals

If plants are set 6 to 12 in. apart, ground must be kept free of weeds by cultivation or mulch. Planting close is not usually good practice but it does prevent weeds from starting if time is not available for frequent cultivation of soil.



Expecting one planting of Calliopsis, Centaurea, Gypsophila, Nigella or Phlox Drnmmondi to give a full season of bloom

These have short blooming periods. Succession planting or substitutions are necessary to give continuous color throughout the season.

Depending too much on annuals

Use annuals to fill in and help through the succession of bloom. They need the help of bulbs, perennials and flowering shrubs.

Planting the same thing in the same place year after year

Rotate annuals like vegetables for variety in landscaping effects and better culture without using large quantifies of fertilizer and soil conditioners.

Failure to eradicate undesired self-seeded annuals before they become weeds

Pull these up as soon as they are recognizable.

Failure to plan color schemes for beds before purchasing annual seeds

Plan first, then buy seeds in species and varieties to give the needed colors and heights.



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