How to sow salad seeds in guttering

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug

Takes just:

20 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Apr, May, Sep

You can never have enough salad in summer, but sowing directly into the soil takes up valuable space in the garden. Keep a regular supply handy by sowing seeds in lengths of plastic guttering to transplant to the soil at a later date. Short, 1m lengths are convenient and easy to handle. When the lettuce seeds germinate, you can grow them on for two to four weeks and then simply slide the plants into their growing positions as soon as space becomes available.

You will need

  • Seeds of mixed salad leaves
  • Plastic guttering
  • Fine-tooth tenon saw or hacksaw
  • Gaffa tape
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Watering can

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Saw the guttering to a manageable size and remove the ends. Replace each end with a large piece of gaffa tape, which will keep the compost in place but can easily be removed when you transplant the seedings into the soil. 

Fill the guttering with moist multipurpose compost and gently firm down. Create a shallow drill in the centre of the compost and sow seeds sparingly along it.

Use your thumb and forefinger to replace the compost over the seed and firm gently. 

Transfer the lengths of guttering to your greenhouse or cold frame, and water the compost with a watering can with a fine rose attached. 

Seed should germinate within a few days. Leave to grow on for up to four weeks before planting out into the soil. Don't forget to keep plants well watered, especially in hot weather. 

Your salad leaf seedlings will be ready to transplant when their roots fill the compost in the guttering. Use a garden trowel to make a wide, shallow drill in prepared soil. Then simply remove the gaff tape from one end of the guttering and gently slide the seedlings in place. Water them in thoroughly.

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Sow more seeds at two-week intervals to provide a continuous supply of leaves for salads.

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