The Whisper of Surprise

Sowing

For me there is always a whisper of surprise when growing from seed…you never really know what will happen!  There is also the simple fact that growing from seed is the cheapest way to grow your own and it is absolutely the most rewarding method of raising your own plants.  There isn’t anything more satisfying than harvesting fruit and vegetables, that you have grown yourself!

This weekend the weather here in Wales has been appalling so I’ve been confined to the house, greenhouse and garden for my gardening fix.  Yesterday, I decided to dig through the seed box looking for ‘sow in March’ on the packets and after finding a small collection, I drew up a basic ‘Seed-Starting Plan’ in my allotment note book.

There is one slight problem…because this is my first year on Plot 5A, I have no idea when my ‘Frost-Free’ date will be!!  (Note to self: Ask fellow allotmenteers – when the weather breaks!) I’m hoping that writing a ‘plan’ will be a useful trick his year, especially with the experimental seeds.

MY SEED-STARTING PLAN

The Spring Frost-Free Date in My Garden is_______________
Seed Sow Inside Date Sprout
from sowing
Safe to plant  (Relative to frost-free date) Plant out Date

Sowing Plan

Plan completed – I then had to choose the best method for sowing.  I basically have three options. The greenhouse, window sill or directly into the ground.  Clearly sowing seeds where they will be left to grow is the easiest method but Plot 5A is on the side of a mountain and rather exposed, so ‘sow and grow’ is out of the equation for at least another month! I have a greenhouse but no heating, which is better than nothing but a little limiting. I also have a few large window sills perfect for holding a couple of seed trays!

Time to place my bets…I know some plants germinate better than others at home. Sure fire seeds include chives, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cosmos, marigolds to name but a few.  This weekend I’m jumping into the unknown and growing ‘untested’ (by me) crops – starting with Tomatillos, Electric Daisies, Goji Berries and Mexican Spinach along with (tested) Peas and Dwarf Broad Beans.

The Peas and Broad Beans are simple – they are being started in the greenhouse and keep will the Sunflowers company – the rest are being sown indoors, snuggling up on the window sills, in the warm! Now in my opinion, growing seeds indoors isn’t really that hard but keeping them alive can be a big challenge. I admit to scoring a few home goals in the ‘sowing game’ such as…

  • sowing too soon
  • sowing too deep
  • not enough available light
  • too much or too little water
  • storing in the cold
  • losing labels (growing advice)

That said you can’t beat the glory of showing off anything that you have nurtured from day one, despite a few mistakes. The whisper of surprise is way too exciting!

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22 thoughts on “The Whisper of Surprise”

  1. This reminds me of when I was working and used to plan everything in Excel spreadsheets when I was bored (most of the time!). Now I’m looking in my seed box and swearing loudly before bunging them in weeks late!

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    1. Haha, I was trying to find the silver lining in the awful weather that has prevented me from visiting my allotment and yes, I was a little bored! I like you usually ‘bung’ them in 🙂

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  2. I bet you keep checking your propagators every time you pass “just in case”, even though you KNOW that it will be at least 5 days before the first signed off life will be visible(depending on variety etc) 😉

    My fingers are crossed for a host of healthy seedlings from your seeds 🙂

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      1. Mine are unheated. I find that seeds germinate quicker in the propagators probably due to the lid helping keep in the warmth and humidity. I also think that the lid helps prevent the soil drying out as quickly. Also, the propagators offer some protection to emerging seedlings from rampaging Mudlets who are often whizzing by, creating a whirlwind in their wake.

        I haven’t ever used a heated propagator but my friend swears by them, stating that they help regulate soil temperature for optimal seed germination. I often think one would come in handy for the more temperature sensitive seeds, such as chillies, and have dropped copious hints around Mothers Day/birthday etc. but to no avail 🙂

        On a purely practical note, propagator trays are really handy for transporting pots of seedlings/plants around the garden/house/greenhouse 🙂

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      2. Thank you…once again I have learned something of value. Oh yes, I know what you mean when you talk of Mudlets whizzing by! I’ll most definitely add propagators to my shopping list 🙂

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  3. I have just had a seed planting session this afternoon. Like you, weather kept me indoors. A trestle table has been set up in the conservatory which is now our greenhouse for the next month or so! Looking forward to popping in daily to check on the progress. I have a heated propagator which has rarely been used with the heating element. Agree with previous comment – the lid on seems enough to get things started.

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    1. Ooooo, what did you sow? Counting down the days already and I’ve added a propagator to my shopping list 🙂 Some of the seed packets contained around 20 seeds so each one is precious!

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