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Seed Sowing for the Nervous!

Seed Sowing for the Nervous!

Canít do it! Canít do it! I donít believe seeds grow for me!


This post is for those of you who are nervous about sowing seeds.  Inside all of us are two sets of green fingers just waiting to emerge.    Early spring is approaching and now is the time to suck in your breath and give it a go!


Growing your own plants from seed is such a rewarding experience, and is not that difficult.  You just need to know how to get started, and with a little experience you will be amazed at what you can grow.   There is nothing like growing from seed to get to know your plants.  Donít treat them like commodities Ė they are your friends Ė and they will reward you with years of flowers if you treat them right!


Here are some suggestions to overcome your doubts and get sowing with success.


Start easy

Start by sowing the seeds of annual plants.  These plants germinate, flower and die in the same season, and are often the easiest to grow from seed.   Start with something like Nasturtiums, as these large seeds are planted straight into the ground or into containers and grow with very little effort.  Toadflax is another great annual Ė just sow the seeds straight into gaps in your flower beds in spring Ė and they flower all summer right into late autumn.  Annual poppies are also easy.

 Nasturtium Seedlings

Make sure you know the difference between annual and perennial plants and start with the annuals.  Hardy annuals can withstand frost and are sown in autumn or spring.  Half hardy annuals donít like frost and need to be sown in late spring, typically in May, or earlier if you can protect them indoors or in a greenhouse.


Perennials generally germinate and grow in the first season, flower from the second season and live for many years.   They often take more time to grow and need more care to reach flowering size.  Some perennials are also easy to grow from seed and a few flower in the first year if sown in early spring.  Try Coreopsis if you are ready to sow now!


Be clean

It is best to buy some basic seed trays with lids and a small bag of seed or multi-purpose compost in which to sow your seeds.  Bagged compost is sterile, and is free of weed seeds and most pests and diseases.  If you are re-using seed trays, then clean them first.  If you are a Ďdirty gardenerí (and you know if you are!) then clean up your equipment to improve your seed germination success.  Donít be tempted to sow seeds in your own garden compost as you may have trouble separating your sown seed from weed seeds, which can be thugs.


Read instructions

Read the sowing instructions and be sure you are prepared to follow them if you want success.  If you are just starting, then perhaps avoid seeds that take months to germinate or need an environmental trigger to germinate, such as cold weather or fire.  In general, very small seeds are sown on the surface of seed compost and pressed into the compost.  Larger seeds are buried into the compost between 5-10mm deep.  Sow your seeds sparingly as young seedlings grow better with space around them.  Remember to label your seed trays.


Be attentive

Seeds need warmth, water and oxygen to germinate.  Keep seed trays warm and moist but not waterlogged.  Most seeds germinate well at room temperature but check the packet to see if you need a warmer windowsill or a cooler spot.   Some smaller seeds need light to germinate, and the seed packet will let you know not to bury them too deeply in the soil.  Put a lid or clear cover on your seed tray and remove it when the seeds have germinated.  Slugs and snails are very keen consumers of small seedlings Ė keep the seed trays on a bench or protected in some way. Expect to check your seed trays every day!


Be patient

Some seedlings emerge within days of sowing and some take weeks or even months.  The sowing instructions let you know what to expect.  Not all seeds in the same packet emerge at the same time so keep your seed trays going to get the most seeds to germinate.


Be gentle

Plants donít like being handled Ė so hands off!  Seedlings emerge from the soil with either one leaf (such as grasses) or two leaves (most flowering plants).  The first pair of leaves do not always resemble the adult leaves Ė wait until the second pair of true leaves appear, and this is a good time to move the seedlings from the seed tray into small pots.  Handle the seedlings by their leaves to minimize damage, and ease them gently from the soil.  Some seedlings donít like their roots to be disturbed and these plants are best grown in modules or sown directly into the garden.  This is typical of annual poppies.


Just do it

There is nothing like a tray of healthy seedlings to make you feel like a proper gardener.  So just do it!

Lets do it! Lets do it! Do it till the seeds come up!

Created On  16 Jan 2019 18:54  -  Permalink

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