Sowing Seeds for Success

Sowing Seeds for Success

Tuesday 19th March 2024
Diane Quick

Now is the time to sow seeds for lots of lovely flowers through early summer until the first frosts of winter.

Seeds are quite expensive and it is heartbreaking when they fail to germinate or relatively few do.

Here is what I have learned over the years, based on thousands of seeds sown successfully and quite a few failures....

No. 1 is to have as fresh seed as possible.
It is best to only use fresh seed but if you are keeping seed from one year to the next, at lease keep them in a cool dark place in their packets and preferably in a moisture-proof box. I have started saving seeds from my own plants and the germination rates are good because the seeds are so fresh.

Give them the conditions they need, some need total darkness whilst others need light to germinate. Some need a little bottom heat and a heat mat is great for that. Others need a few weeks in the freezer before sowing. Always read the packets or have a look online for optimal growing conditions.

Good compost is essential, preferably dedicated seed compost and fresh!
I understand why garden centres have to keep it outside but its such a shame when you open the bag and get that stale smell because it has been wet for weeks. It isn't a good start for the seeds.
Good composts sometimes have the date they were packed on the back of the bag. All composts should be used within a year of packing.

My favourite compost is Fertile Fibre but the minimum amount that can be bought is a half pallet so if buying locally I just look for the freshest and least wet bags I can find of a good quality peat-free dedicated seed compost. If using all-purpose, be sure to use a garden seive.