I often get asked when should I sow my cosmos, as come the new year everyone is of course keen to get sowing things as they want to look forward to doing something garden related.
The following is just my experience – this isn’t to say that this is the only right view. As has been often said, ‘there is more than one way to skin a cat’. Weird saying – but you get the gist.
Firstly when you see someone sowing something remember it isn’t a race. Just because they are sowing doesn’t mean you should be – there can be many variables. Maybe they are in a different part of the country or globe. Remember, your seed packet has guidance on sowing times – but even then there are things to consider.
Lets to a random pack of Cosmos (pictured above). It says sow indoors from Feb. OK – yes I could absolutely do that. But my understand is that sowing dates can be based on the most favourable location. So I have to think – if I sow at the start of February, and I can have a frost at the start of May (it happens for us) do I have the capability of keeping lots of cosmos alive in pots and frost free under cover, and do I actually want to?
Well yes – I do have the capability – I have a polytunnel – so thats another thing to consider. Not every scenario is equal. You may see some people sowing as they have heated propagation beds and polytunnel. If you just have a windowsill maybe you aren’t comparing like with like, so in that case, don’t feel obliged to sow when others do.
And then I think my next point would be the extra effort. If you can time your sowing so that just about the time you would need to be potting on the plants can go outside, then maybe thats a good time for YOU to sow. Work backwards from that. You will know your own plot better than anyone, but even then you can get surprised. I’ve lost over 100 cosmos plants before to a May frost – but the plants had to go out as they had been sowed that early they were suffering in their pots.
So yes you can sow early. But it can be extra work keeping your plants alive. Don’t always follow what others are doing unless you think you have the same growing resources. Also consider if you live in a similar location in terms of the weather. South West will be different from North East for eg. And when you get the itch to sow but you kind of think it might be a bit early in terms of it being cold and not enough light, just tell yourself wait… wait… wait… as patience can often be the best course of action.