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Seed planting

Mrs DW just bought me a growing arch.

Years a go I had the good fortune to inherit a an Alton red cedar greenhouse when we bought the house we currently live in.

Having very young children at the time I made the decision to sell it due to possible damage to both greenhouse and children! (Got a good price too!!!)

A large shed was erected in its place and still stands today, so the arrival of the growing arch reignited the exciting prospect of growing again.

My question is, when is the best time to start planting seeds in trays for bedding plants? I intend filling many of my borders this coming season in the cheapest fashion for quite some time. I, like many others have had to buy bedding from GC’s, stores etc. So really looking forward to getting stuck into a bit of Home cultivation this year.


  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053

    It depends on how much room, light and heat you have to protect them. Annuals have a short life and can't go out until frost has passed so you need somewhere to keep them safe with good light.

    Many posters here swear by March, but I prefer to start mid to late February to allow them to toughen up for the Scottish Summer. 

    If you take all that into account, and you know your climate, sow as soon as you like.

    Last edited: 02 February 2018 19:14:08

    SW Scotland
  • Really depends on the plant I'd say. Some seeds like a bit of heat to get them going. Others a cold spell. Most seeds can be started off in early spring no trouble. If you're using a heated propagator or starting them indoors you can usually start them a bit earlier. I've started sowing things like gaura, ipomoa and wedding flower already. Just remember, if you've started them early you need somewhere for them to go when they start getting bigger! They might not be ready for outdoors and frosty weather.

  • Thanks for the replies.

    I meant to explain. The growing arch is one of those tubular frames with the the mesh reinforced pvc cover.

    Is it good enough to grow seeds from say the end of February or a bit later once the threat of overnight Frost has passed?

  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053

    Again, it depends where you are. I would wait till later on in March and start them indoors, moving them out to plastic greenhouse when they are up a little.

    SW Scotland
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 Posts: 5,150

    Hi Digweed image.   You saying "arch" makes me think that you have the 4 tier type of growhouse.... alternatively known as "a blowaway" image.

    I have had a couple of these over the years, and whilst they're very handy thought I'd share a couple of top tips with you.

    Blowaway:  Yes they are prone to tip over in the wind if not secured. A couple of bricks or a bag of compost on the bottom shelf helps to weigh it down. Having it against a wall or fence in a sheltered spot is good, and if you can strap a bungee cord around the top and hook it to fence/wall is even better.

    Ventilation:  They can suffer with fast rising temperatures in the daytime and condensation. It's good to open up the front flap as often as you can in the daytime (weather permitting). Keep it closed overnight though until summer arrives, then mine is permanently open a lot of the time.

    Lots of good seed sowing advice above already.  As you can see, a lot depends on your climate really.  I'm in NW UK and start most of mine off indoors in March, move them out to the growhouse when they're well established little plants around the end of May when outside temps are a bit warmer (and I'm running out of space ?).

    The seed sowing thread should be starting soon.  Seedaholics sharing photos of what we're growing, hints and tips etc.

    Let us know what you plan to sow. I've already started some lobelia in my heated propagator, they're half hardy annuals which take ages to germinate for me.

    Happy growing ????

  • These are some of the seeds that I attend to grow this year. I have started some indoors, and the little seedlings are already coming up. Cannot wait to see my garden full of flowers for the summer, like the ones here in my garden from last year.  

    Marigold, Cornflower, Zinnia, Calendula, Cosmos, Asters, Sunflowers, Pinks, Dianthus, Poppies, Rudbeckia, Aquilegia, Viola, Pansy, Petunia, Nemophila, Scabious, Astrantia, Cleome, Antirrhinum, Heliotrope, Gazania, Coreopsis,Gaillardia, Echinacea, Dahlia and Salvia's. imageimageimageimage

  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    I'm also itching to get seed planting. ......especially with the recent stretch in the evenings 

  • Had a bad time with a brand of seeds last year. Any seeds that are large enough to see (ha), I sometimes give a quick soak in peroxide water before planting. Seems to work well even in older seeds.

    Would like to do my entire tray in flowers, but need to get some peppers, tomatoes and other veggies started. Also got the seed trays for the Sprout & Harvest Slim that currently have lettuce and mini tomatoes growing.

    I also pre-soak my ag plugs in peroxide water just in case there is any mold lurking in there that could cause damping off. Have read that some people drop them in boiling water to kill off any bad guys.

    Best wishes on sprouting all of those flowers!

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,130
    If your seeds are good and your sowing compost is clean and has the right moisture and ventilation levels there should be no need for nasty chemicals.

    Damping off is a sign of poor cultivation technique - too wet, lack of ventilation, sowing too thickly, poor light levels, old sowing medium, dirty seed trays.   

    If you use commercial sowing compost it should be free of pathogens.  If you use your own compost or old compost, consider sterilising it with a steam treatment or a blast in the microwave.  Use tap water for seedlings rather than rainwater unless you know your butts are squeaky clean.  Sow thinly to avoid over crowding.  Take care.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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