Planting early


Basically I am wondering what is the best way to keep seedlings alive whilst I wait for the weather to pick up?

I put all my seeds in two heated propagators over the last few days. (in those little fiber pots).

Reason for starting this early is because last year a lot of my seeds didn't germinate and as such I am starting early so I have chance for a second run if it happens again.

So, what can I do with all the little seedlings for the next month or two whilst the weather is still poor?

  • I can pot up a few of the chillis and put them on my window sill but I don't want to be doing that with everything.
  • I also have a greenhouse
  • Can I just leave them in the fiber pots and repot when warmer?
  • I am in Preston (North West).

Thanks, Grant


  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Grant I know we are all itching to get growing but I think you are way too early to start sowing things. If you wait another 4-6 weeks and seeds fail, which they shouldn't if you have a heated propagator you would still have time for a second attempt. I can't suggest how you'd keep them going without them being leggy with current low light levels. 

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,915

    the hot chilli peppers need to go in around now (if not earlier - my brother sows between xmas and new year, but he has heated propagators and greenhouses at his works),

    everything else its way too early. my planting starts in about mid February with tomatoes, all the rest is mid March onwards. otherwise everything gets leggy and will probably fail as you can't get enough light to them

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,915

    as for the chilies, pot them into 3 to 4 inch pots and give them warmth (20 degrees is good) and as much light as possible (grow lights if you possible can) and water sparingly (they do not like being wet at any time) then only pot up when you can see roots out of the pots and only pot up to the next size - if you pot up too big then the plant can struggle.

  • image

     you are not alone. i think we all get withdrawal symptoms during the winter months  imageimage

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    Treehugger living in the north of England like Grant, I disagree about chillies Stacey the lady who specialises in chillies says to sow mid Feb and she's far more southern. I've bought a heated propagator to germinate them in and I am waiting for at least another two weeks. I could germinate them now but couldn't give them adequate light and growing on temperatures even in my (daytime only) heated conservatory. 

    Two years ago when we had an awful Spring I ended up having to pot on 50 tomatoes twice !  and had to keep them in the conservatory because I got too keen and sowed too earlyimage I didn't need 50 I was growing for friends image

  • GardenGrower11GardenGrower11 NottinghamPosts: 295

    I'm with Grant and Treehugger on this.

    Growing chillis seems to be one of those things that can become a healthy obsession, so it's natural to be itching to get started already.

    Start too early, and it's the double whammy of not enough heat to germinate, then not enough light as well as heat to help them thrive. But these can be overcome with heated propagators, bright windowsills, extra artificial lighting etc, although you might still end up with results that are caught up by seeds planted much later.

    Chillis are always the first thing I grow each year. They really do benefit from the longest possible growing season. Later plantings don't always catch up as easily as you find with tomatoes, which I agree are best left later, till at least mid-Feb if you have a HP, and early March if you don't.

    I've started chillies even earlier than Grant, also in a heated propagator. They're doing fine, around an inch high and with true leaves already growing. They need the heat for germination, but will tolerate more cold once they're seedlings. At that point enough light is more important in preventing legginess.

    I have them on the sunniest windowsill, then move them in to the kitchen, the warmest and brightest room, for the evening, then back to the sunniest windowsill first thing the next morning.

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