I’ve got most of my seeds through but no doubt I’ll end up buying some more – just can’t help myself! And I’m itching to start sowing. It is March and some people count the 1st as the start of spring (I go for the March equinox this year the 20th March) but the weather isn’t that warm or reliable and when it comes to seeds they can be choosey and just won’t germinate if the conditions are wrong. So to make sowing seeds a successful and reliable task read – and follow – the instructions on the packet! Hardy seeds (cornflower, campanula, broadbeans) need the temperature to be about 7 degrees centigrade while half hardy seeds (marigolds, dahlia, busy lizzie) need a minimum of 13 or even up to 21 for things like cucumbers, cobaea and chillies.
So that’s the technical side of things, now the practical, although a lot of seeds can be sown directly into the ground especially veg most I end up sowing go into trays or pots. Use a good quality seed compost, over fill the tray or pot with loose compost scrape off excess and then firm down. I use an empty tray/pot of the same size it makes it quicker and you get an even surface. If you’re a real perfectionist make a “tamper” using a piece of wooden board cut to fit with a basic handle. It’s then a case of sowing the seeds thinly over the surface which is easy with large seeds but a little challenging with the tiny ones. If you find it really difficult try using a piece of folded paper (like a cigarette paper) put some seeds in the crease and gently tap the paper and the seeds will slowly drop off allowing you to space them out. Then cover the seeds, aim for about the same depth of compost as the depth of the seed, I’d definitely recommend using a sieve.
When it comes to watering the trays/pots either use a watering can with a very fine rose on or as I do stand the trays/pots in 2-3cm of water until they are moist that way there’s no chance of washing the seeds away. Place the seeds somewhere light and with an even temperature and do check them regularly keeping an eye on the watering and signs germination! Using a propagator or even covering with glass or plastic helps watering wise but don’t cook them on a sunny window sill! The next blog will cover what to do when they all start to spring up which is anything from 7-21 days. And if you do get a chance, start the mower, even cut the lawn if conditions allow making sure the cut is set high, it’s an instant way to make the garden look tidy especially if you edge the borders as well.