October 11, 2022

Sowing seeds

I have sown my first seeds now that the soil that I put into the containers has warmed up inside the house. It is too cold to sow anything outside yet and sowing into cold compost that has been kept outside reduces the chance of germination.  I don’t buy seed trays, I use recycled, clean, plastic boxes that you get things like grapes, nectarines and tomatoes in. They have holes in the bottom for water to drain and so recycled meat trays or mushroom tubs are good for standing them in. I have some tea trays that I bought from Poundland that I stand them on sometimes too, as the number of tubs I sow increases throughout March.


I have a heated propagator tray that Mr S bought me for Christmas about 3 years ago, and so I sow a few different seeds each week, but you don’t need one as I have grown vegetables for years without one. It just speeds up germination, especially if like me you don’t have the heating on all the time.


This week I planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and some more lettuce. The peppers and tomatoes seeds were saved from supermarket bought ones. Lots of gardening books say not to do this, but I have always had a successful crop, they just might not look or taste like the parent plant. I also used some seeds from a tomato I grew last year. I had dried and saved lots of seeds, but the storms battered my green house and I lost most of them, but luckily, I found a stray tomato in a pot outside where I had grown them last year, and so hopefully those seeds will work. I am gutted that I lost the seeds as this tomato was a bushy type of tomato that looked like a pot plant and had cherry tomatoes on and so they needed less looking after and looked nicer in the garden.


To sow seeds, you basically just need some compost in a tub or plant pot (I have used recycled margarine tubs before and put holes in the bottom). Press this down gently to flatten it, and water sparingly. Sprinkle the seeds on to the soil, gently press them down and then cover with a thin layer of compost, and lightly water again. Don’t put too much water on or else the seeds will rot, but just a gentle misting of water. (If I am planting in little plant pots, I put two seeds in each pot.)  I then cover my seeds with lids from my propagator to keep them warmer, but in the past, I have used cling film or small pieces of glass. I always sow more seeds than I need plants as they don’t always germinate. You can always give them away or swap them if you grow too many. I am in a local FB plant swap group and last year I swapped tomato plants for free flower seedlings which looked lovely in my front garden all summer.


Have you started sowing your seeds yet? It is still early, and I sow most of my crops throughout March, but I like to get a head start with my peppers and tomatoes so that they still ripen if it is a poor summer. It is best to label your pots. I have labels I have reused for years, and I also use lolly sticks sometimes, but I have seen people cut plastic milk bottles in strips and write on them with permanent marker. Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. You can see in the last photo from last year that I am using all recycled containers that would have gone in the recycle bin. Buying compost is probably the only bit that costs money, and you can make your own. I will do a post about this in the next week or so.

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