sees the start of seed sowing for all sorts
of crops. A few early sowings outside, under
cloches, is possible in favoured areas where
the soil has been covered and allowed to dry
out and warm up. Sowings in containers, cold
frames and unheated greenhouses can commence
for hardy annuals and early vegetables.
Where there is a heated propagator seeds will
quickly germinate and require pricking out into
seed trays and individual pots.
hygiene is very important when sowing as the
slightest hint of a fungus disease and every
seedling will collapse and die.
Use a bought seed compost and new pots and trays.
If containers are being reused then wash them
out in hot water with a fungicide added.
Sow the seed thinly to avoid having to transplant
the small seedlings. The smaller the seed the
closer to the surface it is sown. Very fine
seeds such as those of begonia are sown on the
surface of the compost.
Label the trays of seedlings with the date sown
and the variety name written in waterproof ink.
Use tap water to irrigate the seedlings rather
than rain water from a water butt as it probably
contains disease spores. As soon as the seed
germinates remove any covers and allow light
to reach the seedlings. Lack of light will draw
the young plants up making them spindly.
always treat seedlings with Cheshunt Compound
to prevent the damping off disease that kills
small plants. To prevent bruising the tender
stems always hold the seedlings by their leaves.
Tomato plants are susceptible to Tobacco mosaic
virus disease. It can be transmitted to the
plants from cigarette and pipe tobacco so if
you smoke wash your hands well before working
with the plants.
the young plants from vermin and snails. Even
wood lice (slaters) can manage to munch at a
thin tender stem. Think
before you sow the whole packet. Often, especially
with salad crops such as lettuce and radish,
it is better to sow a few seeds every fortnight
to ensure succession without having a glut at
to John's index page