Sowing seeds

by Jane Moore

Although the soil is warming up nicely I'm determined not to sow too early. It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security at this time of year.

Sowing seedsWhat a week we've had. The weather has been gorgeous — almost summery. The big blackthorn tree on the edge of the plot is blooming beautifully and the birds have been flitting about in it, acting friskily and obviously checking things out with a view to nesting sometime soon. It would be great to have a little family to keep an eye on while I'm weeding.

Although the soil is warming up nicely I'm determined not to sow seeds too early. It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security at this time of year. In previous years, prompted by balmy weather in early spring, I’ve started furiously sowing and planting, only to find that temperatures plummeted shortly after — along with my hopes for the seed I planted.

Carrots, in particular, are a total disaster if planted too early, as I've learned to my cost. Last year I had a complete 'no show' from my first sowing and only patchy success for the rest of the season, due to the terrible summer weather. So I'm definitely hanging on until April before planting this year's crop. I'm also getting very tempted to get my potatoes in as they're chitting away so beautifully. But I only have to remind myself that the humble spud hails from South America and I'll resist the urge to plant them for a little bit longer...

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Sowing seeds
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2009 at 17:44

Hi Adam and fellow gardeners, My son gave me a wonderfull present at christmas a Garden Planner. I is an A5 folder split into season which have graph paper and blank sheets. Now the time of year down here in sunny Sussex has come to start sowing I thought I would try and use it and I have tried making notes in it but it is already in one hell of a mess. I was wondering if anyone out there had what I would describe something that would help me note what seeds I sowed, when they germinate, pricked out etc. Which I can print out as a blank sheet and put in the file and carry it around with me to maake my notes and read (in the future) what did well and when. I have Googled Garden Diary Templates and Garden Journal Templates and all that gets me is only what I can describe as north american disneyfied rubbish. Any ideas anyone. Please

Gardeners' World Web User 20/03/2009 at 20:20

I made a similar template for myself using Excel, a bit fiddly, but it is specific to my location and from past experience. I separated each month into 4 weeks, and split each line in 2 (as sometimes you can still sow later crops, whilst the first lot have been planted out for successional harvesting). It looked something like the back of the colour codes you find on the back of some seed packets. More importantly, you can also learn when the harvest will be finished, so that you can plan the second crop for that area of ground, just by looking down the chart; eg. I plant out my leeks, usually after the overwintering broad beans have finished. Another good thing with the excel programme is that you can also use the grid like cells to plan the layout. I hope the above makes sense, it's easier to see than to describe. It also makes the dark nights fly by, when I keep looking at my seed packets longing for spring :)

Gardeners' World Web User 21/03/2009 at 12:31

Hi - my system is pretty simple if a little less high tech - I have a notebook a friend gave me with a diary section, and other pages and pockets for sketches and so on. Each day after I've been in the garden, I scribble down what I've done, what I've sowed and where. It's easy to refer back to then. Every year is different anyway, weather and so on, so sowing and harvesting times and germination can vary a lot. Personally, I just let things get on with it in their own time! I'm in Dublin and we've just had a lovely week of weather,the garden is ablaze with bulbs and everything in the coldframe has really started to come on. For seeds, I have a tiny chest of drawers I got in IKEA for very little. It has nine drawers, so I allot a drawer per month and that keeps things organised.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/03/2009 at 07:46

I like the idea of those little drawers for the seeds, I can never seems to keep them organised. I too have used Excel, drawing grids and trying to keep track of everything. Since it's my first year having a serious attempt at growing my own veg Excel will allow me to keep track of where I've planted what and I can add comments to each cell on success or otherwise as I go along. I must admit, whenever I'm not in the garden I keep opening it up and tinkering with it, noting when things have germinated, when seeds have sprouted and when I've planted out in the garden or greenhouse, planning the next weeks activities etc. Loving every minute of it.

Gardeners' World Web User 22/03/2009 at 15:50

Ive planted my onions an carrots both in large planter boxes which have polly tunnels over them and ime keeping my fingers crossed. I hav'nt planted my dustbins and pots with potatos although like yours Jane they're there waiting with chits on. Do you just leave all the chits on if your holding back from planting or not? I am waiting til next month before planting beetroot in another large veg planter.But I have planted cabbage seed indoors hopefully by the time they're ready to go out the worst of the weather will have gone. Happy growing season everyone.

See more comments...