JOHN’S JOURNAL

It’s Time to Sow Some Seeds

There’s so many flowers and vegetables which can be sown in March, many of them can be sown into seed or plug trays and then planted out once Spring gets underway and some can be sown directly into the ground!

So what do you need to get going with sowing seeds? Well firstly you need to work out what you want to be growing, if it’s something that needs to be grown on a little first before being planted out like any perennial seeds or any tender vegetables then you’re going to be using seed or plug trays, plug trays mean each plant has its own small space to grow in and can then easily be transplanted into a bigger pot without disturbing the roots, in seed trays they all grow together and will then need pricking out which can be a little disturbing to the roots, yet they will get over it! Make sure to clean any old pots and trays before use to prevent fungus and diseases causing any harm later on when seedlings can ‘dampen off’ causing them to fail and this helps prevent this. For your compost you want something with a very low nutrient level, a good mix is a 3 part mix using 1 part Multipurpose Compost for bulk, and then the other 2 parts 1 being Vermiculite and the other Pearlite, both helping aid drainage, air and encouraging root development, if you don’t happen to have these you can replace either or both with a good coarse grit sand. Sow your seeds on top of the compost once you’ve filled your trays and seed trays and plug trays are only shallow as once the seedlings are established you can pot on or prick out into something bigger and that’s when you then mix in a food for them so including some John Innes No.1 into the mix is perfect, a good size pot to use is a 9cm square pot and then depending on the plants requirements after this is can be planted out or then potted into something bigger as its root system will be a lot stronger and more established,

Make sure to keep your trays of sown seeds moist to help them germinate and once they’ve begun shooting hold back with the water and only water them when necessary in the morning allowing them to dry off before night time. Anything tender requires a little protection and will need to go somewhere like a greenhouse or cold frame to help give it the shelter it needs in its early days. Don’t be tempted to keep them inside the house as they will just stretch and become weak and leggy. With seeds you can sow straight into the soil just follow the guidance on the correct month and watch out for the results! Happy seed sowing and in The Potting Shed at Holden Clough you will find lots of exciting new seeds so it’s time to get experimenting and get some great value for money!

 

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems

 

Can I not just use garden soil to sow my seeds in?

Garden soil has lots of nutrients in it and also a seedbank from Mother Nature so you will find that seedlings will grow too quickly before establishing a strong root system and also you will get all sorts of other seeds germinating so it may be hard to tell what you are actually wanting to keep! 

Will the frost affect my seeds?

Some seeds need the frost to help break their dormancy like Hellebore and Primula seeds and some of them you can put in the freezer to simulate a Winter frost helping break their dormancy. There’s lots of different seeds out there and it’s mainly seeds from hardy outdoor garden plants generally need the frost to break their dormancy, others will simply grow as soon as they are sown and the light levels and temperature increases, make sure to give these the shelter of a cold frame or greenhouse to protect the young shoots from frost

What is the best thing to clean my pots and trays with?

Submerge the pots in a mix of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water, to help kill any old disease organisms or fungus spores. Rinse them well and leave to drain before using them. You can use this for plastic and small terracotta pots

 

 

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

 

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Prunus ‘Kojo No Mai’

A delightful miniature flowering Cherry either grown as a bush or grafted onto a short straight stem to form a miniature tree. Perfect for in a pot or container or as a feature in the middle of a flowerbed or rockery. Masses of dainty white flowers during April and superb Autumn colour.