Linda Regel - Green Fingers

Sowing The Seeds

You've no doubt noticed recently that the weeds have started growing again in the garden. Although this is unwelcome news, it does mean that, at long last, it is warm enough for seeds to germinate in the soil, so you can get on with seed sowing in earnest.

There are lots of seeds that you can be sowing now. Vegetables are some of the most popular plants grown from seed.

A seed needs three things to germinate - water, warmth and air. The weather has taken care of the warmth. If there is no rain forecast, you will have to provide the water, by watering the ground before sowing. As for the air, make sure you don't suffocate the seeds by burying them too deeply. The seed packet will advise on the depth to sow, which varies between seeds.

If you are growing vegetables in a traditional vegetable bed, straight lines of seedlings look neat and tidy and are easier to hoe between than random patches. However, it really doesn't matter to the seeds if they are in a line or not, so you can put your designer hat on and have short rows, diagonal rows, circular patches, grid blocks - whatever takes your fancy.

Watering Can

Have fun mixing different colours and shapes of foliage and creating patterns on the ground! If it doesn't come out as you planned and looks a mess, don't worry, the display will be temporary anyway and you can eat the evidence!

Annual flowers are another group of plants usually raised from seed. Seed packets often suggest that you 'broadcast seeds onto a prepared seed bed'.

What this means is making sure that the ground where you are planning to sow has been weeded, forked over and raked level before you sow. Then it is just a case of sprinkling seeds onto the damp soil, and raking over the soil again to bury them. You don't have to be too precise. With this method it's a bit trickier to spot which of the developing seedlings are the plants that you want and which are weeds - if you don't know, assume that the flowers seedlings are in the majority and weed out the misfits! This should work but, if it doesn't, you will have a lovely display of dandelions!

Both vegetables and annuals can be sown in batches over the next few weeks, so you don't have to rush out and do it all at once.

With vegetables obviously, you want to have some new plants growing while you are eating the first batch. With flowers, later sowings come into flower later than the earlier ones, so you get flowers for a longer period of time.


The author Linda Regel has had a lifelong interest in gardens, plants and garden design and runs a garden design, coaching and consultancy business.