Brian Kidd’s cheap way to get instant borders

An instant border of colour grown from seed
An instant border of colour grown from seed
Runner beans - perfect for getting children interested in gardening.

BRIAN KIDD: From these seeds, mighty gardeners might sprout

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I was brought down to earth at a recent talk by a lady who reads The News.

Tina was cross with me because she loves gardening but can never buy summer plants in pots because she can’t afford them.

So this week’s feature is dedicated to you Tina and I have sent you some flower seeds so you can enjoy it even more.

This is a very good time to sow annual flower seeds directly into the garden soil because the earth is warm and moist.

Pot marigolds, love-in-a-mist, godetia, nasturtiums and lots of other hardy annuals will be in bloom in 10 weeks if seeds are sown now.

The soil is best weeded and dug beforehand and then raked over so the surface is fine.

After all the raking, a dressing of blood, fish and bone fertiliser should be scattered over the surface at a rate of 4oz per square yard and raked again so the fertiliser is well distributed and mixed into the soil.

Now take a hoe or stick and mark out areas on the surface of the soil to form a pattern which will please your eye.

It could be geometric, formal or have gentle, sweeping curves.

The idea is that the seeds will be planted using one kind of flower inside each area marked out on the soil.

The plants might be arranged so the colours will blend or contrast and this idea is not going to cost a fortune.

There aren’t so many seeds in the seed packets these days.

Write up labels, pour the seeds into the palm of your hand and sow them in ones or twos in a pattern over each of the areas to be planted.

If sown in a pattern it will be much easier to distinguish between the cultivated plants and weeds.

Water the border with a watering can with a fine rose attached and then hope the cats won’t dig it all up. Cats prefer to go somewhere dry, so keep it wet!

In about 10 days the whole border will come alive with a smothering of weeds.

Leave them alone until they are large enough to be removed by hand. An onion hoe is very useful for this job.

The seeds were sown in a pattern; a close look will determine the cultivated plants because they look different to the weeds.

After weeding, the cultivated seedlings can be pricked out to fill any gaps and at the end of July you will be enjoying a border which looks as if it has been there for years.

This idea is a good one for anyone starting a garden with little money. It’s a great way to get children interested too. They love to see things happen quickly and it’s wonderful to find they are even better than grown-ups in identifying the cultivated plants from the weeds.

TIP OF THE WEEK

If the leaves on daffodils are in the way when you are trying to plant summer bedding plants, don’t be tempted to pull the leaves off. They must be allowed to die down naturally.

The sap will go down into the underground bulb and initiate next year’s spring flowers.

If the seed heads are removed, leaving the flower stem intact, this will ensure there will be blooms next spring.