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How to succeed with seedlings and pears - and keep bamboo under control, by garden expert Helen Yemm

Young Cosmos plants in seed tray
Young cosmos seedlings Credit: Thomas Smith / Alamy

SEEDLING PROBLEMS

Emailer Sandra Tremlett sowed seeds of cosmos and zinnia in trays of compost (marked “suitable for seeds and cuttings”) in her greenhouse, but swiftly moved them to an indoor windowsill when she saw signs of snail activity. But germination has been really poor: she has only two cosmos seedlings and 12 zinnias from two packets of seeds. What is she doing wrong, she asks?

I suppose there is an outside chance that these were simply duff (or very old) seeds. Also (and this suggestion Sandra may prefer to dismiss), she could have inadvertently brought a small hungry snail into the house on a seed tray, something that is not unknown.

More likely, she put her seeds on a sunny windowsill...

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