WHEN TO SOW
April to June
WHERE TO SOW
Sow the fine seeds thinly in trays or pots in good compost 1cm (1/2") deep. Place in a cold frame or unheated glasshouse.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
As soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick off into trays 10cm (4") apart. Plant out in the flowering site during September or October, 30cm (12") apart.
May to July the following year
The leaves of Canterbury Bells seem particularly attractive to slugs during Winter, so added protection is a good precaution. Dead head regularly to provide a Summer-long display.
FLOWER SEED SOWING TECHNIQUE
Prepare a nursery bed well in advance, ensuring that it is weed free. Choose a time for sowing when the soil does not stick to your shoes but is moist below the surface and fairly dry on top. The soil should be crumbly and even. Rake the surface after a light treading.
Mark out drills in the nursery bed or mark out an area for scattering the seed to rake in afterwards. Rows should be approximately 30cm apart and clearly labelled at the end.
Sow the seed carefully and thinly, aiming to get a seed every 2cm (3/4") and then gently rake the soil to cover, and firm with the back of the rake. Water gently if the weather is dry for a period, but do not water too often as this will encourage the roots to form just below the surface and you will be watering all summer long to save your plants. Aim to encourage the root to look further down for water, and you will have a more relaxed summer and a finer show of flowers in the long run.
When the plants have formed their first pair of true leaves, thin the plants to 10cm (4") apart and firm the soil around the bases.
In September or October carefully raise the plants taking a ball of soil with the roots using a trowel and plant them in the flowering site and gently water them in. It is sometimes beneficial to give a little protection from winter winds for the first year