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Seeds....

Sowing And Growing Seed
Growing plants from seed is a cost effective way to fill garden beds, borders, pots and containers with colour, whether creating summer displays or filling gaps in the border this can be achieved for penny's. Growing your own vegetables not only saves you money but there is nothing better than picking fresh produce you have grown yourself.

Sowingseed

Growing Seed Indoors
Many flower and vegetable seeds can be started off indoors this allows them to get ahead start, therefore any young plants will be slightly more advanced and can planted out in the garden earlier, sowing this way can begin as early as February. Fill seed trays or pots using a multi purpose compost then gently firm and water. Check the packet for specific sowing instructions for example some very fine seed is sown directly on to the surface and simply left without covering, this seed can be mixed with sand for an even distribution. Other seed is sprinkled on the surface then covered with either sieved compost or vermiculite, and larger seed can be sown into individual pots or modules.
The temperature must be maintained to achieve germination this can be aided by placing the tray in a polythene bag, using a piece of glass to cover the seed tray or using a propergator, once the seeds emerge remove the above covering to allow plenty of ventilation around the seedlings. Grow them on ensuring the compost is kept moist until they are large enough to handle and are ready for pricking out.

Prick out the seedlings by loosening the compost around the root with a dibber (a pencil or lollypop stick is ideal) and lift each seedling by holding it gently by its true leaves between your thumb and finger, replant this into new pots or trays of compost. Keep potting the young seedlings into slightly larger pots every time they grow into their current pot until they are large enough to be planted out.

Hardening off the plants is essential and is achieved by gradually acclimatising the plants to cooler conditions outside ready to be planted out when the risk of frost has passed.

seedintray

Sowing Outdoors
When sowing seed outside wait until the soil has warmed up but is still moist ideally mid spring or September this will ensure that the seed will germinate quickly and not sit in the ground and rot. If you can offer crop protection in the form of a cloche or fleece then it's possible to sow a little earlier by covering the ground to warm it up. Always check the packet of seed for the best time to sow.

Beds should be dug over with all weeds removed then allow the soil to settle, rake removing any stones until the soil has a fine crumbly texture.
Next create drills by using a hoe or the corner of the rake (a drill is a shallow line in which to sow the seed). Water the drill, this is best done before sowing, then sow the seed thinly and lightly covering with soil. Mark the row with a label so as you do not forget what you have planted.
Make sure the soil doesn't dry out if the weather turns warm, beware of slugs and snails and treat accordingly as they will munch through any new seedlings.



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"An affordable way to fill your garden with beautiful blooms or grow your own fresh vegetable's it's easy with our sowing guide: "