Basil classic italian or sweet genovese in a pot on the windowsill

Never too late, but a bit early?

Or what to sow now?

Although by May we should be sowing seeds of all kinds direct in the ground, our weather is not that dependable -  thunder and lightning, heatwave, frost, wind, snow and hail; just recently all in one day! Location also pays a part as well as soil type. My ground is heavy clay so it resembles soup after a heavy downpour. Consequently it takes longer to warm up so it is worth my while to start the more cold - sensitive varieties off indoors such as french and runner beans, courgette, squashes and cucumbers. These can be planted out later, hopefully when the weather improves and the soil warms up. Tomatoes and sweetcorn are still undercover as they will perish in a frost, although they will tolerate cooler conditions.

Peas, spring onions, beetroot, lettuce, spinach and chard are more tolerant for direct sowing, along with poppies, love-in-a-mist, cosmos and nasturtiums, cornflowers and calendula (pot marigolds). These flowers provide sustenance for pollinators and other beneficial insects throughout the summer. 

Herbs can be sown in pots or directly in the ground.  Coriander tolerates cold and is less prone to bolt. Chives are a hardy perennial, evergreen in mild winters but dormant in cold-winter regions. Basil thrives in sunlit locations so best in pots to bring in out of the cold or put out in the sunniest spot. Parsley likes damp soil.

TIP: To increase success of germination of your parsley seeds, pour boiling water along the row before sowing the seeds. Keep the ground moist afterwards.  

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