Growing Seeds - Information
We stock Mr Fothergill's Seeds and Johnson's
Seeds as well as a value range.
in Seed Trays:
Most gardeners use seed trays or propagators to grow their
[If smaller amounts are all that's needed a 1/2 tray
or even small pots can be used.]
Fill the seed tray with compost - if necessary use a specialist
compost more suited to the individual plant being sown.
Firm compost gently, water it, then sow the seed, covering
or not as appropriate.
[Some people like to add sand, grit or vermiculite as
a top dressing.]
Keep in a greenhouse, preferably heated, or windowsill indoors.
[If you have to sow seeds outside, try putting the trays
in one of the new "Mini Greenhouses" - a covered,
3-shelf stand, that can be opened at the front, but covered
at the back and sides.]
the seeds have germinated, and grown to a size were thay
can be handled, they can be planted out - when conditions
[A heated Propagator is the size of one or more seed
trays with a heating element in the bottom as well as a plastic
top. This is a good substitute for a greenhouse and can even
save on heating, in an unheated greenhouse.]
into the ground:
Certain seeds can be sown by planting
directly into the ground in the position where
they are to flower. You can either sow them in
rows or scatter them.
Scattering is a good method for sowing seeds of flower
annuals where you have plenty of seed and want a good patch
of colour. It's particularly appropriate for a mixture
of types or colours.
Sowing in rows is good where you want each type in its
own row - as is nearly always the case with vegetables.
Before sowing the seeds, you need to prepare the ground.
You need to dig it to make sure there are no large lumps
of soil or stones, and then rake over the surface to give
a fine 'tilth' - a smooth surface with the soil broken
down into small particles.
[The more you rake the finer the tilth.]
To sow in rows:
Mark out the rows with a stick by pushing the stick into
the ground and walking backwards creating a small "trench" called
Sow the seeds in the drill, then cover by raking the soil
from the side of the row over the seed.
Small seeds are usually sprinkled evenly along the row.
Large seeds - like peas or beans - are usually sown singly
a few inches apart.
If the seedlings come up too thickly the young plants won't
have room to grow properly and you will need to thin them
out by removing the excess seedlings.
These excess seedlings should be kept for use elswhere
or given to a fellow gardener rather than thrown away.
Water gently and regularly - young plants can dehydrate
and die very easily and quickly.
Looking after seedlings:
Remember that seeds sown outside in the garden will need
weeding - take care to differentiate between your seedlings
and the weeds!
You will need to keep an eye out for damage by snails, slugs, caterpillars etc
and take appropriate action.
When to Sow Seeds:
Seeds of annuals are usually sown in the
spring. They can be sown outside when there is no danger
of frost, or under cover and planted out when there is
no danger of frost.
Seeds of hardy annuals can also be
sown outside in the autumn e.g. Sweet Pea. This will
give them a longer growing period and a head start
over similar plants sown in the spring, so they will
Seeds of half-hardy annuals can be
sown outside in the spring, or, in some cases, under
cover in the autumn.
If they are germinated in warmer conditions, they will
need to be acclimatised to harsher conditions, by putting
them outside for longer periods each day until they are
finally strong enough to be able to stay outside all the
time. This is called 'hardening off'
Seeds of hardy perennials can be sown
in spring, summer, autumn or winter. Some may need "stratification",
so should be sown outside in the autumn. Some may take
several seasons to germinate.
Seeds of half-hardy perennials and tropicals which
are to be sown in heat may be sown at any time of
Other Points and
1. Water the compost before sowing the seeds to prevent
them being washed out of place.
2. After sowing, water using a can with a fine rose.
3. Some seeds need to light so need to be planted on the
surface - not covered.
4. Some seeds need darkness - sow these on the surface
then cover with some fine soil or compost.
5. If using compost, nothing should come up in the seed
tray except the seeds you sowed i.e. no weeds - not so
6. The best heated propagators have a thermostat to get
a more accurate temperature.
7. Some "harder"
seeds germinate better if the seed coat is nicked e.g.
8. Some seeds benefit from being soaked before sowing -
don't overdo this, as seeds can rot, if left too wet for
9. Seeds of tropical plants usually need higher temperatures
to germinate and a heated propagator becomes essential.
10. Seeds germinated in warmer conditions will need to
be acclimatised to the harsher conditions outdoors. This
is achieved by putting them outside each day to get them
used to the colder temperature. Each day leave them out
longer and longer, till finally, they are strong enough
to stay outside all the time. This is called 'hardening
11. A heated Propagator is usually the size of one or more
seed trays with a heated element in the bottom as well
as a plastic top. This is a good substitute for a greenhouse
and can even save on heating, in an unheated greenhouse.
12. Electric Popagaators can be expensive and tend to be
no more than the size of 2-3 seed trays. You can make your
own heated propagator using a Soil Warming Cable, some
pieces of 4"x1"
wood and some fleece.
||Not only would this be cheaper
than buying a Proprietry Electric Propagator it would be
much larger. Form a square or rectangle with the pieces of
wood as in diagram (1) and line with polythene - it should
look like an old fashioned Bread Tray. Lay about 1" of
Sharp Sand inside the frame. Lay your Soil Warming Cable
in an continuous S shape on top of the sand as in diagram
(2). Put another 2" of sand on top of your cable. Connect
up your Soil Cable to your power supply, preferably with
a Thermostat matching your Soil Cable.
I hope you find these information sheets helpful,
as a basic guide.
Rather than start from seed the trend nowadays is to buy
young plants in the form of 'seedlings
or plugs' early
in the year and grow these on until they are ready to plant out
in the garden or patio pots.
We will have plenty of these tiny plantlets to
choose from in February and March to give you a "head start".
get these tiny treasures growing fast give them extra room and
root space in a quality compost of your choice. For quickest
growth and biggest plants choose a potting compost that is rich
in nutrients. For maximum flowering potential we recommend Levington,
Miracle-Gro or John
Innes composts. Once potted on, in fresh
compost, keep them in a warm, light place so they grow strong
and sturdy. The kitchen windowsill is good, but a heated conservatory
or greenhouse even better.
Seed Tray Insert
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West Carlston Garden Centre & Tea
Room, Campsie Road, Torrance, Glasgow, G64 4EZ
Tel: 01360 620248 -:- e-mail: email@example.com