For quick cover and decoration of bare areas where perennials have winter killed, and in numerous “nooks and crannies” throughout the garden, annuals are in the number one spot. In perennial beds and borders, annuals can be used to brighten dull areas and blend together various perennials. In beds by themselves, annuals can often be the beauty spot of the summer home garden. Some annuals are adaptable for use as temporary hedges. All of these uses, plus supplying the home with an abundance of cut flowers, put annuals in a key position.
SEVERAL CLASSES … Hardy Annuals . . . Seeds of this group are able to withstand the rigors of winter out of doors light protection. Many of these are self-seeding and thus are “perennial in nature,” in that they can be expected to repeat their growth another year. The seeds of these plants can be sown early in the spring. Some plants in this group are Annual Poppies, Larkspurs, Calendula, Sweet peas, and Sweet Alyssums.
Tender Annuals . . . These plants will not stand cold at any time and seed should not be sown out of doors until all danger of frost is over. Typical of this class are Marigolds, Ageratum, Annual Chrysanthemum, Candytuft, and Zinnias.
Slow Annuals. A long germination period and a long growing time before bloorning is characteristic of this group. These annuals give best results if plants are started by sowing the seed in pots, flats, cold frames, or hotbeds early in the season and later transplanting into the garden after warm weather has come. Among these are such plants as China Asters, Petunias, Snapdragons, and Helichrysum.
Preparing the soil for Annuals A finely pulverized seedbed is essential. The soil should be spaded to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, incorporating fertilize into and throughout this depth. Use 1 pound of fertilizer for each 25 square feet of area. Finely pulverize the soil and make a smooth surface before seeding.
SOWING THE SEED . . . Either broadcast the seed or sprinkle in shallow rows as required by the particular plants. Cover very lightly. A general rule is to cover 3 times the seed width. This, of course, is hard to measure, but the proper covering can usually be secured by sifting fine soil through a box or pan with a fine wire mesh on the bottom. After covering, tamp the soil with a flat board or block to get close seed-soil contact. Watering, before the seed germinates and when the plants are small, requires careful attention to avoid disturbing the young tender roots. Watering during this time is important. It can best be accomplished by laying burlap over the area and sprinkling with a fine mist. This procedure, in general, is applicable for seeding of annual plants whether in flats, cold frames, hot-beds, or in the garden. Below is a list of popular annuals:
Giant Zinnias Marigold (yellow) Marigold (gold) Nicotiana Blue Salvia Cosmos