Sowing seeds is an exciting and rewarding process, with endless seeds to try your hand at.
Give your seeds the right amount of heat, light and moisture, and they will germinate successfully. But there are some important rules to remember, which, when you get used to sowing seeds, will become second nature. They include good hygiene, using fresh seed and compost, and good soil preparation.
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Follow these key tips for seed sowing success.
Practise good hygiene
If sowing under cover, always use very clean pots and trays and a new bag of good seed compost. Don't use garden soil – it's too variable and full of unwelcome organisms.
Prepare the soil
If sowing outdoors, break down the soil with a fork before raking lightly to create a good seedbed. Don't over-rake it, as that can cause the soil to 'cake' in the first shower of rain. If the soil is wet and/or heavy, cover the seeds with sand or vermiculite instead of soil.
Label pots and seed trays
Even though you think you'll remember what you've sown and where, it's easy to forget. Be sure to label pots, seed trays and rows in the soil as soon as you've sown them.
Water newly sown seeds
Always water-in newly sown seeds, as they need plenty of moisture in order to swell up and start to grow. However, water carefully after that, so they neither dry out or are so wet that they damp off or rot. It's a careful balance, so check seeds daily at this stage.