Growing plants from seed is one of the joys of gardening. It’s great for gardeners on a tight budget, giving you masses of plants for minimal cost, and there’s no beating the sense of triumph that comes from seeing those first seedlings poke their green heads above the soil. Sow a few seeds now in spring, and they’ll give you a spectacular show in summer.
Tips on sowing seeds
Seeds are not all the same, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for all. Some need light to germinate, while others won’t start growing below a certain temperature. Before sowing, check your seed packet for the seeds’ requirements. Although seeds can sometimes germinate in the most surprising circumstances, you’ll have much more success if you give your seeds the environment they prefer.
Sowing seeds outdoors
To prepare the ground for sowing seeds, dig it over to get rid of any weeds and large stones, then tread over it lightly to firm it. Finally, rake it so that the surface is smooth and level, with a crumbly texture (generally referred to as ‘a fine tilth’).
You’ll see several terms used to describe methods of sowing seeds on seed packets and in gardening books. Broadcast sowing is one of the simplest, often used for wildflowers that would normally self-seed. It involves simply taking a handful of seeds and scattering them evenly across the ground, then lightly raking them over to cover them.
Sowing in drills is a method often used for sowing vegetable seeds, as it gives you a neat row of plants that can be easily distinguished from any surrounding weeds. Use a stick or the edge of a trowel to draw a narrow channel in the soil where your row of plants will grow, then sow your seeds in this channel and rake the soil back over it.
Sowing seeds indoors
Plants with a long growing period, like tomatoes and chillies, and tender annuals like cosmos, are sown indoors in early spring to protect them from frosts and planted out when the weather is warmer. Heated greenhouses and propagators are ideal for this, providing a constant, controlled temperature for young seedlings. Still, many seeds will also germinate quite happily in pots on a sunny windowsill from mid-spring onwards.
Seeds to sow indoors in spring
These seeds can be sown indoors in spring and planted out once the frosts are over.
- French and runner beans
Seeds to sow outdoors in spring
These seeds can be sown directly outside in spring for beautiful summer flowers and delicious harvests.
- Hardy annuals
- Carrots and parsnips
Spring is the perfect time to start sowing seeds for a sensational summer garden, and you’ll find everything you need in our centres. Visit us today and start sowing!