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Early sowing dos and don’ts

The winter solstice has passed, the days are extending that little bit more and those cold, frosty winter days are making us long for the springtime.

If you’re like us and can’t wait to get planting, there are a few plants you can start sowing early for the eager green fingered gardeners among us. However, it is important to do some research and follow our tips for success to avoid making the common mistakes that can easily undo all our hard work.

Dos

  • Do ensure everything that will come into contact with your seeds is clean. Seeds are much more fragile during the cold winter months and so extra care must be taken with them to assist vitality and help achieve optimal plant growth
  • Do use propagators as these are the most cost-effective way of allowing us to germinate seeds earlier and most effectively by providing a more comfortable and consistent start to life
  • Do wipe away any condensation in propagators as this can create too much humidity for the seeds and often results in damping off (sudden death of seedlings)
  • Do your research and choose seeds that will benefit from longer germination. Our favourites include peppers, celery, fennel and aubergines
  • Do keep your seeds warm (appropriate temperature should be on the seed packet) - particularly important in our cold winter temperatures. Seed-warming mats to place under your seed trays are perfect for providing a steady temperature
  • Do check your seedlings on a daily basis. This will allow you take instant action if you notice a problem has developed

Don’ts

  • Don’t move your seedlings outside too early! Even in the springtime it can still be too cold for the seeds so it’s most beneficial to leave them until they’re ready for the transition to prevent them from becoming weak and dying
  • Don’t sow too many seeds at once. Remember you are growing these indoors, so you really won’t want your house to become a mini rainforest (or maybe you do and that’s okay!) and not have enough personal space for when they all start growing
  • Don’t leave your seeds in a shaded space. Seedlings need lots of brightness during the winter months due to the limited sunlight – using artificial light such as grow lights will help achieve this
  • Don’t use old compost. Seedlings will thrive most effectively in fresh compost. One that is free draining yet can hold high enough moisture levels is ideal. Organic, peat-free compost is perfect for this

Remember you’re likely to make some mistakes as planting early may not seem natural to a lot of us, but don’t let this discourage you! There’s no reason why you can’t kick start your growing season now.     

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