- Firstly, you want good soil. Different people have different opinions in regards to what to start seeds in, there is always the potting compost you can get at your garden centre, which is designed to get seeds off to a good start. I personally don't worry too much, and use whatever is at hand, whether it be compost fresh from the heap, or just scooped out of the beds. However, I would say that having fine soil does make it easier to sow. The above point really focuses on planting in pots or modules, but I would take the time to prepare the ground with a bit of compost, if planting straight out into a bed, which is my preference. It doesn't hurt anyone, and gives seedlings a boost.
- You want to keep the soil surrounding seeds moist. This will help aid germination. For seeds planted in situ, particularly if it is a garden bed, will have water taken drawn away from them by other thirsty plants, so make sure you keep an eye on them.
- Always check the packet before sowing, rather than going with your previous year's thoughts on 'how deep you sow nasturtiums' seed packets should have spacings and depths on the back.
- Don't plant too early, often a spell of sunny wearher can make you rush into things, perhaps planting something a month before you should. Although this can succeed, it is risky, and many a time has it ended in tears for me! This matters particularly right at the start of the gardening year, when you think that the weather's just like March, but in fact you are about to get a seedling destroying cold spell. But the urge to sow is so overpowering! Arrgh!
- DO NOT transplant carrots. Yes, I know, pretty specific. Don't transplant any root crops, for that matter. If you start carrots off in a seed tray or nursery bed, while you wait for them to get bigger, then you are likely to end up with some un happy carrots who have been moved. Their roots go crazy! You will most likely end up with either a small root or one that has branched out, leaving you with multiple skinny carrots. However, I have in the past been forced to move carrots, some of which survived and did not fare too badly. Another note on carrots, it is best not to plant in lovely fresh soil, as the root forks out, thinking it's found the perfect place to settle down. That's why I plant mine with a 'companion' who needs great soil. Plant the companion who hoovers up most of the goodness around them, leaving perfect carroting conditions!
- Warmth is key. When germinating seeds, it is not about the light to make a seed think "It's time to sprot!!!", but the warmth of the soil. Therefore, if you are sowing early plants, make sure you are getting them going under glass, on a windowsill or in really toasty soil.
- Finally, when sowing beens and peas, I have found, and many other gardeners too, that pesky mice often nibble them. So here are my ways to avoid munched seeds.
- Get a ziplock bag and place a folded in half newspaper within, as though creating a valley or revine within. Make the newspaper nice and damp. Next, toss the seed of choice into the valley of germination. Place it somewhere warm and sunny, and voila! Some sprouting peas or beans, ready to be potted up.
- Plant the seeds in sand. Then when a mouse tries to dig a hole, the sand just topples back in! Simple, but I always feel like I'm being mean to the little mice. They're got children to feed! Who are probably quite happy guzzling my chicken food! Grrrr.
I hope my seed sowing top tips was helpful. Happy sowing! :)