Growing plants from seed can be an uncertain business, so let me share a simple method that guarantees plenty of plants for your garden.
Sowing seeds is attractive, because it’s a cheap, easy method of growing plants. However there are many variables that easily disrupt the whole process from seed to plant.
- The weather here in Southern England can never be relied on … this is one of those English understatements, rain can be heavy for days or completely absent for weeks.
- Temperatures vary, occasionally scorchingly hot, the possibility of frost until the end of May round here … or anywhere in between the two.
- Neighbouring cats wander into the garden & gratefully dig up the soft earth, ignoring newly sown seedlings.
- Slugs & snails get through a huge number of soft, new plant growth in a remarkably short period of time.
So it’s a precarious place for seedlings, but the losses are easier when there are batches of seedlings waiting in the wings to replace them.
My advice is, sow more than you think you’ll need, & keep them in the cold-frame or cool greenhouse.
Plant a few small plants out in the garden at the appropriate time, making sure they’ve been hardened-off. See how well they fare, then plant a few more after a few days …. but keep some back just in case. This may seem overly anxious, but if all your small plants get eaten, drought stricken or dug up by cats, you wont have to wait for a new lot to germinate.
Any surplus plants can be given away to friends. I have about 24 basil plants in the greenhouse for this very purpose.
This is a good sustainable way of gardening too, because trips to garden centres to replace your carefully nurtured seedlings are avoided.
The next post is about what needs doing in the garden in May. Sign up in the box on the right for posts to be delivered straight to your inbox, there are just 2 or 3 a month so you wont be inundated.