Tom is one of our gardener’s here at Dalefoot. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team, and part of his job is to continually test our compost and grow food for the rest of the team to take home!

Now that we are in March, the daylight length is longer and seed sowing time is upon us! Tom has kindly shared with us some of his knowledge with us on how to sow seeds effectively. Here are Tom’s Top Tips:
• Always sow to the recommended depth. Some seeds do not have the power to put through a lot of compost, so make sure you read the planting depth properly. Small seeds need to be sown closer to the surface or on the surface. Don’t forget that some seeds need light to germinate.
• Make sure you are sowing in a suitable size pot, cell or tray – the bigger the seed – the bigger the pot you need. Ensure that your cells, pots or trays are well-filled to allow maximum root growth.
• Keep your seed compost moist but not overwatered or soggy. Water your seedlings with a spray bottle or fine watering rose. Some compost is not suitable for small module cells unless you can monitor them often.
• Depending on the seeds, you should avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures and light to prevent the compost from drying out. Using a propagator lid can help to preserve moisture. For example, Big seeds like beans need to be treated differently from small seeds like petunia. If you are leaving them in a sunny greenhouse all day, the petunia will need covering, but the beans won’t, provided they were watered correctly.
• Sow seeds according to your local average temperatures or last frost dates. This ensures you’re not putting plants out too early. Your temperatures and last frost dates will depend where you are in the country. If you have a protected or even heated growing space you can sow earlier, provided you have enough light.
• If you need to pot on seedlings, it’s best to pot into seed compost if they are small or slow-growing. More vigorous plants can go straight into potting compost.
• Sow greenhouse crops like tomatoes and chillies inside, earlier than your outdoor crops as they need a long growing season to produce a good crop. Make sure you have a space that’s ready for them at the right temperature and light levels. In the north of the country in an unheated greenhouse you will need to sow later than in the south.

Using these simple tricks, making sure to use good quality compost and ensuring you follow the instructions on the seed packet, you are sure to have success with seed sowing. Order your seed compost now so you can get the season off to a great start.


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Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

This project is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

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