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Hi All

This is my first year as a homeowner and we have 2 fairly large gardens to fill with plants.  I was lucky to make the most of a Thompson & Morgan pricing error and get lots of packs of seeds for not much money at all and I have lots of different varieties of fruit, plants, grasses, flowers and veg growing in pots, propagators and our greenhouse.

A lot of the seeds are now starting to poke through the soil but I have a question, it may sound a bit silly and I am not sure how to word it but I do need some advice please so here we go...  I must have 20 different flower varieties, 5 different veg, 4 different fruit and half a dozen different grass varieties planted and growing, is there a general rule of thumb for what to do with seedlings once they reach a certain height or will this differ dramatically from plant to plant?  There were some instructions on the seed packets but not for how to re-pot once seedlings have grown.  

To give you an idea of what I have growing:

Aquilegia chrysantha 'Yellow Star' - yellow 

Cephalaphora aromatica 

Cerastium tomentosum - white 

Commelina dianthifolia - blue 

Cineraria 'Jester Scarlet' - red 

Calceolaria 'Sunset Mixed' - mixed 

Layia platygossa 'Tidy Tips' - yellow 

Saponaria ocymoides - pink 

Pansy 'Singing the Blues' - mixed 

Dahlia coccinea 'Species Mixed' - mixed 

Lavender 'Hidcote' - purple 

Panicum virgatum - green 

Liatris scariosa 'Gracious' - white 

estuca glauca - green 

Marigold 'La Bamba' - orange 


I am growing cestrum tomentosum and have been since september and out of everything i have grown its done the best they are quite big in the pots now. I generally prick my seedings when they develop there first set of true leaves (their second set of leaves) and put them in larger cell trays or small pots. Each plant is different as for instance my pansys are in my unheated greenhouse but i am growing my dahlias, marigolds, indoors still as they are not hardy. Someplants grow leggy in heat and other prefer cold so its really a plant by plant thing but theres plenty of information on the net. As for potting on again its a plant by plant thing but generally they will start to look big in the pot and then its time to pot on. I am sure someone will know alot more than me.

That is all very helpful actually, I guessed it must be a plant by plant thing, I was just wondering if I could group any kinds together and treat them the same way, but as i am a learner I guess it will do me good to research each plant properly and learn more about growing from seed.

Thanks again if anyone else has any further advice that would be smashing.


I'd say that's pretty good advice from cairnsie. Avoid over watering too as that usually does more harm than anything- damp rather than wet. 

As stated-when plants look like they're out growing their pots it's time to move them on.You'll see roots poking through the bottom of the pots or cells Davie and that's an indication that they are ready. Anything that's been grown indoors or with protection of any kind will need hardening off before you finally plant them out as it's still very cold but yours are probably not at that stage yet anyway. It's all good fun learning!

Keep a little note of what you do and what the outcome is and then you'll have a reference for future growing. 



Cestrum will soon become a weed in your garden, you may want to reconsider that one!  You see it growing (looking very pretty there) all over old quarries and at the edges of football grounds etc.

Most seedlings need to be pricked out when they have 2 true leaves.  In other words, remove them from their seed trays - holding the leaves, never the stems, by the proper leaves, and put into individual pots, probaby 3 inches or so, to grow on larger and stronger.  This applies to all seed grown plants at that stage,  Use a good, free draining compost with something like vermiculite to open it up.  Keep moist - not wet. and they will grow on fine.

In due course you dahlias will go into the ground, or into pots as you wish, and provided you dead head them they will bloom for ages.  In autumn you will find they have developed tubers, which you can dig up and keep to grow again next year.

There really is not room on this site to go into everything, I would suggest you get a good basic book - try your local library to find one that you like and speaks sense to you - and annotate it as you go along.  Some things will work for you, other things you will adapt as time goes on and you find your own way of doing things as we all do.

Try not to try and do everything at once, you have hopefully years to get your new garden into whatever state you want it, don't try and do it all this year.  Throw some annual seeda around and enjoy the flowers, while you concentrate more expertise as you learnit on the things you are really keen to do - veggies, fruit or whatever .  Gardening is a long term thing, not to be 'finished' in a few weeks.  We have lived here for 15 years and bits of the garden are just beginning to come together, the rest may do so over the next 15, or maybe not, we will see ..............

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