seed sowing quesitons from a new gardener
I have a perennial garden that I put in this year (we moved to a new house this April, so I started from scratch). I spent a lot on perennials, and still have a lot of bare spots, so thinking towards next year, I wanted to add a bunch of annuals for more consistent color throughout the year, and to cover up the bare spots. I love the pictures I see of full to bursting cottage gardens.
I just planted a bunch of bulbs: tulips, alliums, dutch iris, and a lot of lilies (Asiatic, Orienpets, and even some surprise lily bulbs I found on ebay), but have been thinking towards the time between the bulbs and summer when perennials are in bloom. I've removed all my mulch in preparation for sowing seeds. I really didn't have any weeds this year with the mulch (shredded cedar), with the exception of the horrible maple seedlings from the trees all around us. I am a little worried about going mulchless, since while I l love the idea of a self seeding garden, I don't want my garden to turn into a weed patch, but I guess I'll risk it.
I don't have any experience with seeds, though I've been reading all I can. I'm planning on fall direct sowing a number of cool weather annuals like poppies, nigella, larkspur, bachelor buttons along with some orlaya grandiflora, which I think is supposed to flower through the summer.
I have a few questions. I'm planning on waiting to broadcast the seed until after the leaves are finished falling, since raking up all the leaves I think would move the seeds off the garden (I'm going to chop up the leaves and save them until I mulch the bed in late spring/early summer). Will I need to thin the seedlings in the spring? Some things I've read about self sowing gardens seem to say that they just leave the seedlings to "fight it out". What's the best idea? I was thinking fall sowing would be less work than winter sowing and transplanting individual plants, but maybe with the weeding and thinning seedlings it will work out to be the same amount of work either way?
Once the early annuals are finished flowering, I'm planning on pulling them up. I have some perennials that will hopefully be filling out by then, though I did want to add in some later flowering annuals like zinnias and cosmos for the summer. Would you say it's best to grow them separate and then to transplant them later after I've pulled up the poppies, etc.?
Also, will the seeds sprout among bulb foliage? I'm hoping to avoid bare spots in the garden for next year.
I guess it'll be an experiment, regardless of what happens.
I'd really appreciate any wisdom or advice!
This post was edited by arylkin on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 15:56