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Welcome to the late sow!

It’s well known, even by non-gardeners, that gardeners sow seeds in the spring. We actually sow bedding plants from January to May, so that they are in flower by June, July and August. And we sow vegetable seeds, so that they are ready to pick, lift or cut by Harvest Festival time, or thereabouts. For these reasons, it is not thought feasible for gardeners to sow seeds in summer…surely it’s too late for anything to grow into something worth looking at or eating, before winter arrives?

Well, no it’s not. And yes, gardeners do sow seeds at times other than spring. For example, we are now in June, and throughout this month and next there is a whole host of seeds that are just right for sowing.

On the flower side, there are all the perennials. Everything from Achillea and Anchusa, through to Rudbeckia and Viola can be sown in summer. They emerge as seedlings in late summer for potting up and growing on in pots, for keeping safely over winter and then planting out next spring.

The other main group of flowers for sowing now are the biennials. These are sown one year, for overwintering and flowering and then dying the next. They include wallflowers, Sweet Williams, foxgloves and forget-me-nots.

All these flower seeds are available from Unwins Seeds. If you cannot find them in your local garden centre, do visit the easy-to-follow website, to find the complete range of flowers seeds available now.

On the vegetable side, you have a completely different range of things to sow now. Try beetroot, for lifting in October, or courgettes, runner beans and sweetcorn for harvesting in late summer. Swiss chard can be sown as late as August for cutting over winter, and leeks can be sown now for lifting from September onwards. And don’t forget stump-rooted or baby carrots for lifting after three months, or radishes for lifting after just six weeks.

A wonderful selection of vegetable seeds is available from Marshalls Seeds – this year it celebrates 60 years selling seeds to gardeners and allotment holders, so you know it has a brilliant pedigree.

Final tip: Although it is late in the season, there is still just about time to sow a couple of annual flowers (which will grow, flower and die before the year is out). Try cosmos (which flowers 12-14 weeks from sowing) and nasturtiums (10-12 weeks).

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