djjjukdjjjuk Posts: 212

Hi everyone

so, this year will be my first 'proper' attempt at raising anything from seed. i have propogators, cell trays, thermometers, plant labels by the many and am ready to get going image

in my current temporary residence (will be moving in June/July) i have no greenhouse (and no chance of getting one). i dont even have a plastic growhouse, maybe it would be worthwhile getting one? so am limited to indoor window sills.

to make it more difficult, the house is west facing, so all windows are either east or west, none being particularly well lit although its far from dingy and dark.

i have approx 300 cell modules to sow in aswell as 60x 6cm pots for bigger seeds.

ive put thermometers around the window sills of where i think the best place for these propogators is, as at last night around 9pm temp was 20c, this morning at 7am 15c. so maybe slightly lower than seeds need (isnt it between 17-23 average?) though having said that im guessing the seeds would be warmer within a propogator than in the open room. window sills particularly can be colder, would it be worth putting a bit of fleece or some other warm material underneath the propogators on the window sill?






  • Hi, I manage to germinate quite a few seeds on a bright west facing window ledge. I sow them in 9cm pots and pop into a sandwich bag, I used to sow in seed trays, propogaters but it takes up so much room. A mini greenhouse would be good for growing on after pricking out (aldi have some at a good price) then you could put them into pots ready for your move. Hope this helps, I'm new to this site so I'm hoping someone will agree with me and I haven't given you duff advice;-) anyway it works for me, happy sowing

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    djjj, it depends what you are planting; I have for years just germinated seeds in seed trays with plastic 'lids' on south and east facing window sills. In the main it has worked well. The small plants then went into my unheated conservatory. But this year because I wanted to speed things up and grow a few extra for the flooded gardens, I treated myself to a heated propagator (£30 approx). It has worked v. well so far.

    I think your problem would be not so much the germination, but what to do with them when they are 2 or 3 cm high. They will start to bend towards the light source and could end up becoming 'leggy' or etiolated. If you had a green house, you could pot them on into little pots and keep them in there and then they would receive more light, but there is a danger they may get too cold if we have a frosty spell.

    If you are really dedicated, once they have been potted on and are in a plastic greenhouse, put all the little pots in seed trays so that they are easy to move and if the weather forecast is really bad, whip them all into the house overnight.image

    Hope this helps

  • djjjukdjjjuk Posts: 212

    hi guys, thanks for the advice.

    so really i could do with something to stick them in after they get to that 2/3cm height.

    i see that the plastic greenhouses do come with fleece covers - would this provide both enough light and warmth? maybe someone who has experience of using one of these can provide the answer. if they would be warm enough to pot them on outside in 3 or so weeks time using the plastic greenhouse, i shall invest in a couple.

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    djjj, it all depends on the weather. In this country that can always provide big surprisesimage

  • Hi,  fleece is definitely a good idea but agree with artjak whip them back indoors if a frost threatens. I wouldn't want to put them outside much before end of April anyway so maybe sow end of march? And remember those May winds, make sure it's weighted down or attached to a wall! I've lost many a plant to a blown over mini greenhouse.

  • Oh, meant to say we still get frosts up to the first week in June so don't let the sunny days trick youimage 

  • djjjukdjjjuk Posts: 212

    do you think its too early to sow now then GF? by outside i take you mean in an unheated greenhouse, not directly outside. i probably should mention what seeds i have at this point:

    • calendula, tagetes, french marigold
    • Nigella damascena (2 varieties)
    • Cornflower (2 varieties)
    • tomato red alert, gardeners delight
    • carrot early nantes, aqualdulce claudia broad bean, spinach bloomsdale, mixed lettuce
    • a load of herbs, but i see these are late spring sowings anyway so N/A for now

    out of these i believe off the top of my head the tomato, carrot and broad bean can or should be sown around about now. with the carrot, i have veg patio planters but no winter protection or cloche to sow them under directly outside, this seems to be advised for carrot?

    the other seeds i have can be started throughout spring so it might be better to wait for those. maybe stagger the seed sowing so i can manage them a little better rather than do a 300 seed sow en masse?

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    The carrots want to go straight in the ground; follow instructions on packet. The others as advised, sow the seeds about 3 weeks before it is safe for them outside if you want to avoid the greenhouse route. When I had a plastic greenhouse, I had to lash it to the fence with ropeimage But then my garden is in a very exposed position.

  • For most of the seeds you mention the conditions to get them to germinate are not too critical so long as its warm enough and most houses are.  As somebody else has said, its what happens after they've germinated that is critical.  If you don't have plenty of light they will grow very tall and weedy looking.  I've got an unheated box with a light in the hood and its really brilliant. You can artificially lengthen the day with a timer.  Last year was my first experience of it and I can't wait to get going with this year's plants.


  • djjjukdjjjuk Posts: 212

    Hello Angela. if i can ask where did you get this box from you talk about, or is that some sort of DIY concoction?

  • Most seeds will germinate in these conditions you might find that some germinate slower. To get your true temperatures set your propagator up on the window sill and put your thermometer inside you will find it's warmer inside the propagator.


  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Angela27, could we see a pic of this light box?image

  • Oh sorry art jack, only just noticed your post.  It's dark now so don't want to go out now.  Will see if I can see a link to a similar one.  Mine was a Christmas present last year.


  • Hi art jack, it's called Garland Grow Light Garden on Amazon and is £71.73. Hope this helps.


  • I germinate all my seeds in a Garland windowsill electric propagator and then prick out the young seedlings singly into small pots/module trays. They grow on inside on a south facing windowsill until large enough to be hardened off in my minigreenhouse outside.  They are then planted out by end of April - Mid May. 

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,289

    I would say that it's worth a go sowing the calendula,nigella  and cornflowers. I did an Autumn sowing of calendula  and they did germinate and survived the winter in my coldframes.  I've generally sown seeds indoors and them moved them out. Once they've got their true leaves showing and some good roots, they will need potting on to get the best of them.

    I would definatley try and do a staggered seed sowing approach,you will be amazed at how many plants can grow from a packet if the conditions are right!

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,059

    I have never owned a propagator or a light box, my seeds do well

    on window sills, worktops any free surface. If you sew them whem the days are longer, they have enough natural light.


    If you have any seedlings that are leggy just repot up to their shoulders, you need to do this for tomatoes anyway.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
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