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Tips for sowing and growing seeds.

Growing plants from seeds is one of the most satisfying things of gardening

  • Save money by growing what you like to eat or want to grow and flower in your garden or on your patio or balcony.
  • Select and grow healthy varieties best suited to your area.
  • Mix and match. grow as many plants (or few, or only one of several varieties) as you want.
We’ve come up with some useful tips for successful seed sowing to remind ourselves and help you on your way:
  1. Choose seeds from a reputable DEFRA registered seller. If you want Organic look out for the accreditation by the Soil Association (for example)
  2. Make sure re-used or recycled pots and trays are thoroughly cleaned. Pots made from newspaper or toilet roll middles are environmentally friendly. 
  3. Use fresh peat free seed compost if sowing indoors in pots and trays. You can make your own if you want https://justseed.com/blogs/outside-no-9/to-use-or-not-to-use-seed-compost
  4. Prepare the ground; water the soil or compost first, making sure there are no large lumps and firming it down.  
  5. Follow the instructions on the seed packet – we try to tell you when to sow, how deep, how far apart, and whether to cover the seeds or not.  Many seeds like to be covered by the equivalent of their size in soil depth, but some need light to germinate.
  6. Seed packets will give details of whether seeds should be sown indoors or outside. 
  7. Water your seeds gently and carefully. Keep moist but not waterlogged. Too wet and the seeds might rot: too dry, and they can wilt and collapse.

Reasons to sow indoors include:

  • Some plants need warm conditions to germinate and grow, such as tender and half-hardy flowers and vegetables in frost free conditions.
  • Additional protection, perhaps from slugs or damp weather.
  • Faster, more reliable germination under controlled conditions
  • Earlier crops or flowers; sowing seeds indoors gives a head start.
  • Sowing indoors gives slow-growing plants an extended period they need to flower or crop
  • Particularly if you only have a few seeds, or they are rare or expensive to ensure greater success.  

 You can sow a wide range of seeds indoors, including:

  • Tender crops needing protection from cold temperatures such as tomatoeschillies and courgettes
  • Half-hardy annuals like cosmos and nasturtiums to plant out after frosts have gone 
  • Hardy annuals and veg to give sunflowers and broccoli a head start, 
  • Annual climbers- such as morning glory and sweet peas for earlier summer flowers
  • Perennials - although these may not flower in their first summer- 
  • Tender herbs- those with soft stems such as basil, parsley and cilantro, 
  • Slow-growing crops- such as celeriac or cauliflowers


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