I am sowing seeds of annuals ready for the cutting garden this summer.

I always find this part of my job incredibly therapeutic and quiet, oh I do love the stillness of it all.

It is second nature now but, I know some of you struggle to get things off the ground (no pun intended) and have asked how I sow my seeds.

Now I need to point out that I have had no training, it’s just been trial and error over the years and even now I may have a batch of seeds that for a zillion reasons haven’t taken, but I will do my best to quickly give you a few tips that should help massively!

Firstly- and this may seem so obvious but, really how many of us truly follow instructions? Is read the growing instructions!

When the pack says not to sow till April, on a thin bed of compost and cover over with a lid, put in a light place at 20 degrees… blah blah sing to it and have a coffee morning with it, it means just that!

My advice to you all is to look at the packets in the garden centre first, you may have your heart set on a type of plant and that is fine, within that family look for the seeds that fit in well with how you can grow them.

For example if they want to be treated to a holiday in the Med and need a hot house which you don’t have then walk away and find the ones that are much happier holidaying in sleepy Suffolk and will do well sitting on a window sill.

Next up is good equipment.

I like to use seed trays that have a lid for most of my sowing, this only varies for sweet peas when I buy seed trays that are called root trainers, they are longer and open up so as not to disturb the root.

I’ve put a link in above so you can see what they look like, you can also get them from most garden centres.

My other must, is to use seed compost, It’s finer than ordinary compost and it is packed full of nutrients, being really fine means my seeds can sit nicely on it and their little roots can sink nice and easy, I like to mix mine with some vermiculite which is the next thing on your list, I love vermiculite!

It has changed my seed sowing life!

Vermiculite helps retain moisture and gives the compost a beautiful light flow when mixed in.

Lastly you will need a water tight tray for putting your seed trays on and I’ll tell you why further on.

Oh, and don’t forget your seeds!


Here’s how I start off most of my seeds.

First up I make sure I’ve got the right month for them.

Then I mix my seed compost with a couple of handfuls of vermiculite.

I fill my tray then tap it on a table to get all the air out and even the surface off, if its gone right down I add more and repeat till it sits at the top.

Then very carefully I pour a few seeds at a time into my hand (only do this a little at a time as you really shouldn’t put seeds back into a packet).

Depending on how big they are will determine how many to a pod, for large seeds I usually put two in, one in each corner.

Medium – four, one in each corner.

Small – just scatter as finely as you can.

Check the instructions as some seeds like to just be gently patted in and not covered, others like a thin covering.

If they need covering I always use a thin layer of vermiculite to do this, not extra compost.

Place your sown seeds onto the water tight tray and pour water into the base tray, so you aren’t pouring water directly onto your seedlings.

This is probably my biggest tip, always water from underneath!

And this is why I love to use vermiculite on the top, you will see it change colour when the water has reached the top.

Cover with a lid, or clingfilm.

Put somewhere warm and light. I’m very lucky as I have a lot of large window sills with radiators under them which they love.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a radiator underneath, just make sure they are getting light and if they require warmth then make sure they are in a warm room.

I hope this helps.

Let me know how you get on.



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