Preparation for Planting Seeds

Planting From Seed – General Tips

If you are getting excited about the growing season just starting – or indeed all ready started in your region/country. Then you will be considering the planting out of seeds or seedlings in their respective beds. You will also be keen on getting the best performance out of your seedlings, and indeed giving them the best chance of growing up to meet your expectations 🙂

The god news is that planting and growing vegetables – is not exactly rocket-science – unless you want to make it so, by attempting to grow prize winning vegetables? Basically your plants need a good amount of sunshine (average 6-8 hours for most plants), the right amount of water, protection from the elements or pests/fungus, and a good growing medium, be it  soil or a ‘special’ mix. If these things are all in place, then your harvest is assuredly on it’s way.

Planting in cooler climates:

If you are planting seeds in cooler climates, where perhaps the spring-time is not so warm, than it is always advisable to give your seeds a chance by planting them in small trays, in a heated cloche or greenhouse. Only when the chances of a late frost are past, should you risk putting your seedlings into the ground.

Even then it is advisable to cover with a light garden fleece material, as this will help trap heat and moisture, as well as protect from a light frost should you be caught off-guard.

Planting Tomato Seeds

Preparing seed trays – general advice:

Lay out your growing medium either in seed trays or small plugs, and fill with a well prepared, moist, growing compost. Choose a reputable seed supplier and make sure your seeds are not out of date, to assure best results.  Seeds should be sown in small furrows, then lightly covered. Make sure the soil is kept moist – but do not over do it! Most plants are actually killed by over-watering, rather than the opposite 🙂

If the seeds have been brought on in a greenhouse for instance, make sure to lay out the trays in a sheltered area (perhaps under fleece) to harden them off for a few days before planting in the garden.

Planting out:

When planting your seedlings outdoors; make sure that you leave enough slace between the plants not only to spread, but to enable weeding without damaging the plant. In otherwords, if you use a garden hoe, then make sure the space between the plants allows for the width of the thing. When placing the plants in the ground, make the hole larger than need be, and surround the young roots with a good moist starter fertilizerOpens in a new tab., if you want to give it the best chance of ‘producing the goods.’ Back-fill with soil, and firm down (not too hard) around the seedling.

seedling in potWhat about Seedlings?:

Rather than grow your plants from seeds, most people find it a lot easier to buy the young seedlings from the local garden centre. This cuts out a lot of the initial cost of setting up a heated area for instance; and can often be a cheaper and more cost effective way to give your plants the best start. This only works of course of you have a local garden centre – and you are not looking for a special plant or something that cannot be bought off the shelf.

Buying seedlings does of course mean a higher initial cost – but that must be weighed against the cost (in labour as well as cash) of perhaps heating a greenhouse, or purchasing cloches to bring them on.

Either way – the growing season is upon us…Happy Planting 🙂





Best Selling author of several no-dig gardening books, James has over 40 years of gardening knowledge and experience to share with like-minded gardening enthusiasts.

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