3 Easy Steps to Growing Plants from Seed

Growing your own plants from seed can be one of the most
exciting and worthwhile gardening activities. And of course
it is a really inexpensive way to grow the number of plants
you need for your garden or containers.

In this article I am going to deal with growing seeds from
packets purchased at a garden centre – as this is the
easiest way to start. These packets will have a picture on
the front and growing instructions on the reverse, including
germination times and the best time of year to sow. The
instructions are important so do keep the packet safe even
if you have used all the seeds!

1. Equipment you need:

– Clean pots or seed trays, with drainage holes and not too
flimsy

– Seed compost or multi-purpose compost is just as effective

– Clear plastic bags or cling film or propagator

– Vermiculite – can be used to give the seeds a light

covering instead of compost
– Dibber or pencil and widger or teaspoon

– Small watering can with fine rose

– Plant labels – white plastic ones are cheap

2. Sowing the seed:

– Fill your pots or seed trays with the compost to about
1 cm below the rim and water the compost well

– For small seeds, tip them into the palm of your hand and
then lightly tap it with your other hand to sprinkle the
seeds thinly on to the compost

– For large seeds, push the seed into the compost until it
is just covered by its own depth of compost

– Cover the seeds thinly with a little compost – do not
cover very fine seeds

– Seal the pots or trays inside a large loose plastic bag
or propagator, or cover with cling film

– Place them in a warm, light place – on a windowsill but
out of direct sunlight

– Water gently if the compost starts to dry out

3. Germination and pricking out:

When the seeds start to germinate, the first thing you will
see growing are the seed leaves – two small round leaves
that look very much the same on all plants. Then the first
pair of true leaves appear and you can recognise that these
tiny leaves are like those on the mature plant. This is the
time to move the seedlings into new pots.

– Fill clean 9 cms pots or seed trays with fresh compost
and water well

– Gently loosen each seedling from its pot/tray with a
widger or the handle of a teaspoon, holding the seedling by
its seed leaf

– Make a hole in the new compost with a dibber or pencil and
gently lower the seedling into the hole, making sure that
all the roots are tucked into the hole and the seed leaves
are just above the surface

– Carefully fill the hole to cover the roots

– You can space the seedlings in a seed tray about 3-4 cms
apart; otherwise plant them individually into pots

– Water carefully, either by soaking the pot or tray, or
using a small watering can with a fine rose

– Place in bright light, but not direct sunlight, and check
regularly

– Keep watered, but not too wet

– Once the roots fill the pots or trays, then it is time to
plant them either into your containers in the garden or
into the garden border.

It’s not as complicated as you might think, but it does
require a little thought and care – the equipment must be
clean to prevent disease or infection; don’t over-water;
provide enough light; handle gently; and check regularly.

And that’s all there is to it!

Fran Barnwell is a self-taught gardener, learning through experience in her own garden. Fran understands the difficulties that face new gardeners, and has written The Ultimate Guide to Gardening for Beginners, a successful eBook that helps anyone new to gardening to get started, explaining the basics in easy to understand terms. To find out more and to sign up to receive a free series of articles, go to http://www.NewToGardening.com
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