Sowing seeds is something that some gardeners avoid, but it’s easy when you know how. You just need to give seeds the right conditions, and they’ll germinate.
Germination is triggered by the correct combination of light levels, temperature and moisture – get these right, and the seed will start to grow.
Nine tips for seed-sowing success
We show you when and where to sow all kinds of seeds, indoors and outdoors, in this sowing guide.
Including: calendula, cornflower, nasturtium, poppy, sunflower, sweet pea.
Sow under glass: Feb-Mar (soil temp 8-12°C).
Sow outdoors: Mar-April (soil temp 6-12°C).
Hardy salads and veg
Including: beetroot, broad bean, chard, lettuce, pea, spring onion, radish, rocket.
Sow under glass: Feb-April (soil temp 10-18°C).
Sow outdoors: March-Sep (soil temp 8-18°C).
Including: cosmos, lobelia, morning glory, nicotiana, snapdragon.
Sow under glass: Mar (soil temp 16-24°C) – seeds must be sown indoors.
Including: begonias, dahlia, fuchsia, heliotrope, pelargonium, salvia.
Sow under glass: Jan-Feb (soil temp 18-24°C) – must be sown under cover.
Including: aubergine, chillies, courgette, French/runner bean, pepper, pumpkin, sweetcorn, tomato.
Sow under glass: April (soil temp 16-28°C).
Sow outdoors: May-June (soil temp at least 10°C).
Including: aquilegia, delphinium, echinacea, hellebore, lupin, rudbeckia, verbascum.
Sow under glass: Jan-Feb (soil temp 18-21°C).
Sow outdoors: April-June (soil temp at least 10°C).
Including: campanula, forget-me-not, foxglove, polyanthus, sweet william, wallflower, winter pansy.
Sow under glass: June (soil temp 12-18°C).
Sow outdoors: April-June (soil temp 10-18°C).
Trees and shrubs
Including: abutilon, acer, bonsai, cotoneaster, cytisus (broom), hawthorn, sorbus.
Sow under glass: Sep-Mar (soil temp 4-10°C).
Sow outdoors: Sep-Mar (soil temp 0-12°C).
Using new compost
When sowing seeds, it’s best to avoid using up old bags that have been lying around outdoors, even if unopened. For best results, start a new bag of compost and save old bags for mulching the garden.