Welcome to the second instalment in our grow your own gardening series. Today, things get exciting because we’ll be getting our hands dirty sowing some seeds.
Deciding what you would like to grow really depends on what you enjoy to eat. Whilst you’re doing your weekly shop, you can’t fail to notice how cheap dinnertime staples like peas, lettuce or carrots are; so why would you bother growing them yourself?! But, one taste of fresh peas straight from the pod or a bite of a home grown carrot and you’ll quickly realise that there’s simply no comparison in the quality and the flavour. As I mentioned previously; over the next few weeks I will be growing peas, basil and mint. I’ve chosen these particular seed varieties for a very good reason; because when combined, they make a delicious pea pesto recipe which I’ll share in our last blog together.
Sowing seeds is actually really simple; we just need to ensure we create the perfect conditions for our seeds to germinate. In order to germinate, your seeds like to be warm, kept moist and have plenty of natural light and that’s it. However, there are a few little tricks and tips you can try out to help assist with the germination process.
Firstly, make sure your compost is moist before you sow your seeds. It’s really important you don’t wet the compost too much though because if your seeds sit in cold, soggy soil, they’re less likely to germinate and there’s more chance of them rotting. Using a watering can with an attachment which has fine holes will be perfect for this.
Secondly, to speed up the germination process, you can soak your seeds in warm water over night; although I would only usually do this with larger seeds such as peas and beans. This step isn’t essential but you’ll find your seeds will germinate quicker because you’ve already begun the process in water, thus reducing their germination time in the soil.
Time to get your hands a little dirty now.
Layer some compost in the bottom of a seed tray (or something similar) and give the soil a light watering. Next, sprinkle your pre-soaked pea seeds on top of the compost; there’s no need to bury them. Your peas must be kept moist so water regularly and place them in a warm spot which gets lots of natural light. To help your seeds along a little further, you can cover your tray of peas with a plastic lid or cling film to increase the temperature, essentially creating a mini greenhouse.
When it comes to sowing our basil and mint seeds; because they’re so small, I wouldn’t soak them beforehand. Fill your pots or containers with compost and scatter a few seeds over the surface of the soil (remembering to water the soil a little first). Cover your seeds with a light sprinkling of compost, firming the surface down a little after to ensure there is contact between your seeds and the soil. Finally, like we did with our peas; cover the pots with a plastic lid or cling film to keep in the heat. All that’s left to do is place our pots in a warm place which gets plenty of natural light, ensuring they’re kept moist.
You should see signs of life in around 7 days. Once you do, remove whatever it was you used to create your mini greenhouse.
Just remember the key things; keep your pots moist, make sure they’re warm and placed somewhere with plenty of natural sunlight. If you stick to those basics you can’t go wrong and you’ll soon be the proud owner of lots of tiny seedlings.
Next time, we’ll talk about how to care for our new seedlings as they mature, so don’t miss the next instalment in our gardening series.