It’s looking like the second half of March will bring some dry weather, so we are feeling hopeful that Spring might just arrive this year (we were beginning to wonder…)
March is the busiest month of the year for seed-sowing as you are probably aware, and your propagation space might already be filling up fast!
Top 10 tips for getting your seeds off to a good start
Here are a few top tips that we have picked up over our years of growing…
- Sow lots of seeds into a seed tray and then prick them out into pots or modules once they have germinated to maximize precious space on heat mats or windowsills.
- If you use module trays or soil blocks you can multi-sow many crops which also saves space – suitable crops include: onions, beetroot, mizuna, turnips, leeks.
- If propagating on a windowsill, the light only comes from one direction so the seedlings need to be regularly turned – you can also use a piece of tin foil backed on cardboard as a mirror to put behind the seeds and even out the light.
- Indoors there is no wind so plant stems tend to be weak. You can strengthen them by using a desk fan to blow on them for an hour a day, or stroke them whenever you walk past them (sounds strange but really does work!)
- If you are sowing seeds directly outside in drills then mix in some radish seeds with slower-germinating seeds so that you can easily see where your rows are and can weed more effectively (the radishes will pop up really quickly).
- Another tip for sowing in drills is to sow a few extra seeds at the end of the row so that you can transplant them into any gaps later NB. THIS WILL NOT WORK WITH CARROTS OR PARSNIPS as they cannot have their delicate tap-root disturbed
- Use clean pots and trays and fresh seed compost to give your seeds the best start.
- Always label your pots and trays. It’s too easy to forget what you’ve sown where!
- Keep your seeds moist, but not wet.
- Cover your seeds with a clear plastic lid or second hand bubble wrap to hold in the moisture once sown. When the seedlings emerge, take it off to ensure they have enough space to grow up and for better ventilation.
Lettuces ‘pricked out’ into module trays
Growing tips for March
- Prepare your beds for sowing and growing and keep on top of your weeds from early on; as soon as the weather starts to warm up, they will germinate.
- Top dress your containers with fresh compost.
- Make an early outdoors sowing of carrots and other hardy veg such as spinach.
- There is still time to sow your tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and peppers on your windowsill or heated propagation area.
- If you’ve got indoor growing space sow crops to transplant into the garden later, such as kale, celeriac, celery, lettuces, basil, and parsley.