Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been planting out lots of plugs onto the field. It’s something i’ve been asked about, - “Why are you planting now?” but the reason is, - The plants are ready, the ground is ready, and isn’t frozen, and as a flower farmer, you need to do everything you can now, because you’ll always be busier tomorrow!
Larkspur is one of those crops. The Annual delphinium is a little bit hit and miss for me. My soil means it doesn’t get huge, but it’s worth me growing a row of it for late June/ early July flowering.
A lot of people direct sow these seeds, and it certainly self seeds itself well on my field BUT It’s a slug magnet, so if it self seeds itself it will be eaten over winter before it gets to flowering size.
It’s most vulnerable period is just after germination, so if you learn to spot Larkspur seedlings, you can whip them out, - pot them up, and use them as spares.
When sowing from seed, I have better success with Autumn sowing, and I tend to sow Larkspur slightly later than the rest of my seedlings in Autumn. This needs quite a strong nerve as Larkspur takes about 3 weeks to germinate, so it means i’m normally pricking out in November when other things have been planted out, or are already filling their modules. I then leave it in the greenhouse until early spring, when their roots have filled their module trays and are ready to be planted out. Because I know i’ll lose some even by doing it that way, I plant these slightly closer together than I would normally.
Our December and January have been mild, so the root balls on these modules were perfect for planting out earlier in the week. (and it’s the root-balls that really matter, not how much top growth there is)
So should you be planting out at the moment?
Well the answer will depend on
1) Is your ground ready to plant and not frozen or waterlogged?
2) Have you beds that are prepared and ready to receive plants?
3) Have you got autumn sown hardy annuals or perennials that are ready to be planted. If they are rooted through their module/ seed trays, and 1) and 2) are yes, then they are better off in the ground than in the greenhouse.