Seed sowing for beginners

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Tara Jane, Jan 23, 2022.

  1. Tara Jane

    Tara Jane Gardener

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    I have never grown plants from seeds before and so this year have decided to give it a go. I have some Rebecca cherry brandy and white stock flowers that say to sew between January and March. Does this mean that I should sew them at regular intervals. E.g. when the first seedlings show their faces plant some more or does it mean any time during then will be fine? Any advice greatly appreciated. Have got lots more seeds for growing later in the spring too
     
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    • Upsydaisy

      Upsydaisy Total Gardener

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      Hi Tara, it will depend on how many you want I suppose. I always include Rudbeckias in my summer garden and grow from seed too. The mistake I ,and many others, have made is to be too eager and start too early.

      Think about whether you can provide the seeds with the environment they require to germinate successfully. Light levels and heat for example. Sowing too early at this time of year can cause seedlings to struggle, they can become stretched/ leggy due to striving to access adequate light, they can also succumb to damping off and dying.

      On the whole I would advise to leave it as late as possible to ensure success. :):dbgrtmb:
       
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      • HarryS

        HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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        Presume you are sewing seeds in the house for planting out late spring. They need light and warmth, so if you can find a nice warm windowsill. We all run out of windowsill space at seed planting time ! I would leave it until early March, buy some seed planting compost about 5 litres will be plenty. You can use plastic food trays with clear lids for planting in. And follow the instruction on the seed packet ! Lot's don't and have problems.
         
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        • Jocko

          Jocko Guided by my better half.

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          I have just started gardening and seed sowing and I am sowing seeds, a packet at a time, in seed compost, in a propagator. The propagator is on a heat mat and under LED grow lights. I already have my first Foxglove seeds germinated.
           
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          • Upsydaisy

            Upsydaisy Total Gardener

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            It's often not about the germination, it's about providing the appropriate environment afterwards..
             
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            • Tara Jane

              Tara Jane Gardener

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              That’s great advice. Thank you! I will leave it for a bit a save my windowsills!
               
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              • Upsydaisy

                Upsydaisy Total Gardener

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              • JWK

                JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                One more thing which might be obvious is to just sow a few seed, if you plan for say 12 plants then sow 20 seeds allowing for non germination and weaker seedlings. Don't sow a whole packet in one go, they will come up like cress.

                Keep the used packet in a cool dry place and they will keep till next few years.
                 
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                • JWK

                  JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                  @Jocko it's very early for the likes of foxglove. I sow mine in late spring, they don't need heat or grow lamps as they are tough hardy perennials. They won't flower till the following year, even if you sow early.
                   
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                  • Tara Jane

                    Tara Jane Gardener

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                    Okey doke. Thank you. That was going to be my next question… ( expected % of strong little fellas and how long the seeds keep!)
                     
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                    • Jocko

                      Jocko Guided by my better half.

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                      The packets I have got only have about 30 seeds max.
                       
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                      • Jocko

                        Jocko Guided by my better half.

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                        The "Snowy Mountain" packet said to sow them in January (T&M).
                         
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                        • JWK

                          JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                          It's likely a range, Jan to May, maybe in really sheltered parts of the uk you can start now and aim to plant out in March. I couldn't plant out that early here as it would still be too frosty. There is no harm in sowing early except you will have seedlings hanging around getting bigger and bigger before you can risk planting out. If you have a frost free greenhouse you can move them into there until the last frost.
                           
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                          • JimmyB

                            JimmyB Gardener

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                            As I'm learning... I have spring onions which germinated beautifully. And are now damping off. Hmmm.
                             
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                            • JWK

                              JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                              Onions are difficult to keep going after germination at this time of year, they hate sitting in soggy soil and will die. If you let them dry out they die! I have a few onion seedlings on the go at the moment, they need a good soil based seed compost and careful watering from below i.e. add a bit of water to the tray they sit in. I've got pesky fungus gnat flies starting to appear on mine, they will get worse no doubt and may be fatal.
                               
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