Seed Sowing

ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

I would like to start a topic about seed sowing


When do you do it?

What Kinds of containers do you use?

What kind of soil mix do you use?

Do you use a greenhouse or a coldframe etc?

It would be nice to gather everything together to find out some of the most successful ways to get our plants growing and also to help new gardeners get off to a good start!




  • Hi,

    Nothing is better than sowing seeds, watching them germinate and pricking them out! 

    In the past I have had the luxury of a greenhouse which can make it easier, but I have also had success growing trays and trays of plants in a caravan - one that I was living in!

    This year I am starting some seeds in a shed in my courtyard, they are in small trays with propagator lids, the trays are sitting in a clear plastic storage box wrapped in bubble wrap, I have monitored the temperature and it is around 16 degrees so I have chosen seeds that require a germination temperature of 15-20 degrees.

    I also have some in pots and small trays on the kitchen window sill, fortunately we have a blind so they can't be seen from inside, otherwise I think my wife would object!  The temperature has not dropped below 19 degrees and is usually over 20 degrees.  I cover the pots with cling film and even have some in a detergent liquitab box, it's quite an effective propagator. 

    This year I have bought some seed compost but still pass it through a garden sieve, so far I have found a lump of coal in one bag!  I am gardening on a budget so have not bought vermiculite or a heated propagator, but so far things are going well, my hanging basket tomatoes have emerged and there are signs of violas germinating - and it has only been a week or so!


  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    This is what I was looking for image

    This is only my second year of growing seeds and its not going too badly.

    Ive used those little peat pots which found for £1 for 36 of. Ive got Mesembryanthemum, Stocks, Diascia, Lobelia, Mirabilis, Dahlia, Nasturtium, Gazania and Zinnia seeds all doing well on my South Facing Window.

    I didnt do anything special just popped in the compost (which I should have sieved)

    and off they went. I started them on the 4th March and most have popped up, some are even starting to push up their true leaves.

    I am going to do another batch this coming Monday to see how they fair later on in the year, that will tell me if seedlings started earlier really do get off to a better start :P

  • Gardengirl..Gardengirl.. Posts: 3,649

    I grow mine in a small plastic greenhouse sometimes start of indoors on a window sill.

    I have just used multi purpose compost but am going to try and have a go a seed compost as better dirt for smaller seeds. I have sown a few bits and some looking OK.

    I think some seeds sown a bit later might just catch up with the ones you have sown as the weather gets warmer they grow quicker.

    I just use seed tray or pots things I get when you buy plants from garden centres and some I brought my self.  I think I will start more seed sowing soon as my plastic greenhouse is up and warmed up now

    Do you grow seeds indoor or in a greenhouse?

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    started them indoors. I have a 6x4 plastic greenhouse just outside (gets a little extra warmth from the heat from the house) so I will put them in there as soon as they get a little big for my windowsill ^_^

  • I agree with garden girl, repeat sowing now probably won't make much difference, the varieties you mention have a long flowering season and will flower all summer, the only ones worth repeat sowing are the Stocks (assuming they are Brompton type Stocks?), they flower quickly and then are over, sowing every 2-3 weeks would probably be OK.  Why not store the rest of the seeds of the other varieties in an air tight container for next year? If you have spare compost or peat pots check the seed websites for weekly deals or wait until later in the season to grab reduced seeds from garden centres.

    I have just checked my window sill seeds, All of my Tumbling Tom seeds have germinated, and there are signs of life in the Viola Bambini, Fench Lavender (free with vegetable seeds), Oenothera Lemon Sunrise, Cerinthe, Clitoria, Geranium Maderense, Tomato Moneymaker, and Nasturtium pots, I have sown all the seed in the packets as I plan to share spare plants with family and friends, I may even sell some to recoup some of the outlay. I still have a lot of sowing to do this weekend though! Tomorrow I will check my Butternut and Gem Squash and Courgette seeds in the colder shed.

    Keep the updates coming...

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    I have plenty of seed and plenty of garden to fill :P

    It's more of a trial for me to see if its worth doing it in early or late March.

    Only time will tell :P

  • hollie hockhollie hock Posts: 3,293

    I start most of my seeds off on a heated kitchen window sill in a wilkos propagator  and then move them out to my coldframes to harden off before I prick them out to individual pots/cells.  I use some seed compost that I like and see what happens.

    A of the success depends on the weather and the growing on conditions. Last year the Winter/early Spring was a lot milder so I've found that my seedlings did a lot better than this year. Having said that I've more than enough to be going on with  and the gardening year is still youngimage

  • Gardengirl..Gardengirl.. Posts: 3,649

    I have got a few seeds started but some not doing too well cold damaged, some in the plastic greenhouse - as I left the door open. I am doing most of my seed sowing bit later this year as weather is colder now - so I need to sit on my hands not to be sowing anything much at minute and wait for weather to warm up a bit.

  • I start my seeds off in small pots as I do not need many plants of any one type. I usually put the pots inside a polythene bag, on a sunny windowsill, until the seeds come through and then remove the plastic bag.

    This year for the first time, I have used 50% vermiculite, 50% JI No 2 and have had great success.My early sowings have been potted on into JI No 2 in individual pots to grow on. They are almost ready to move out to the cold frame but the weather is so variable I have put it off for the moment.

    I am always guided by my local weather and try not to be tempted to hurry things up.

  • I start off my flower seeds in those plastic non heated propegators and place them in front of my south facing patio doors inside my dining room.

    I have also seeds inside the clear take-away cartons with lids, and have covered some seed trays from last year with clear plastic.

    I usually place them all outside in plastic walk in greenhouses but fearing it is too cold right now I have opted for inside the house. started them last week. fingers crossed they will germinate . I have alot more to strat but really no room left so will have to be patient until It abit warmer. x

  • I thought I would revive this thread to see how everyone is getting on...

    At the weekend I pricked out:


    Tumbling Tom Tomatoes


    Geranium Maderense


    Still not showing:

    Butternut Squash

    Gem Squash

    (may have started them off too cold)


    Almost up:



    Cardiocrinum(stratifying in the fridge)


    Too small to be pricked out yet:

    French Lavendar




    Sowed at the weekend:

    Cosmos Purity and Double Click (showing already!!)

    Verbena Bonariensis




    (Also succumbed to sowing hardy annuals indoors as garden is wet)





    Still to sow:



    Purchased at the weekend:



    Beefsteak Tomatoes


    Didn't make it:

    Moneymaker Tomatoes



    How is everyone else doing???

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    Ow hello again.

    Well I had to rescue some seedlings I had put out in the greenhouse too early but alls not bad

    I have plenty of Nasturtiums putting on their first true leaves

    A few seashell cosmos



    Busy Lizzies


    Dwarf Dahlias






    I also started more on Sunday as I lost some due to the cold weather. Hoping they put on some good growth over the next 4-6 weeks now image


  • I am still waiting for the weather to warm up before risking hardening my seedlings off. The onions, stocks, celeriac, chillies, aubergine and nicotiana are doing well in the unheated, double glazed conservatory. I have just looked through my mountain of seed packets and decided not to sow anything else until I can move the existing ones outside.

    The single tomato seedling I have grown from a sprouting seed I found inside a tomato has just been repotted, it is looking strong and healthy, it will be interesting to see what it produces.

  • kerrikerri Posts: 20

    currently on my window sills i have several types of dahlias all sprouting ( couldnt wait to plant them so they went by the windows ) violas ,too tiny to pot on, honesty seeds coming up, petunia seeds, zinnias ( 3rd time of trying they just kept getting weak and falling over and dying ) alyssum seeds ,brompton stock 

    i have no more space so weather please warm up, im in surrey and snow is expected this weekend so i wont hope too much 

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,908

    Started onions in modules they're ready to be planted out. Beetroot and kohl have germinated in plastic GH. Swede hasn't.

    Indoors with true leaves - various toms, chillies, various pea's, leeks! spring onion! Various sunflowers, lobelia, marigolds. various flower seedlings. 

    Out of propogator but withuot true leaves - various peppers, aubergines.

    In propogator - more peppers, more toms, cues and space for 3 trays, haven't decided what to start off next but it's looking like broccoli, Calabrese and possibly dahlia's. Haven't started courgettes, squash or any herbs yet.

    Total failures - Maskotka toms, 3 out of 4 seeds came up, then all died. Poor germination for chillies 50%, peppers very slow to germinate and I lost my first batch of pea's 'early onwards'.

  • blackestblackest Posts: 623

    You can't beat a little heat, and mine comes from an aldi plate warmer cost me about €17. I did make a big wooden box for it. but I reckon a couple of cardboard veg boxes would do the trick and a few plastic propagators with a clear lid.

    I guess there is a small danger of electric shock if you just dump pots on top but the trays are self contained.  I use it rolled out and that seems to get a soil temperature of around 20 ish degrees. If you needed more you can fold back on itself (there is a built in thermostat). The speed of germination is incredible Hollyhocks were germinated in 24 hours ( my herbs seem slow to germinate thou). I'm rapidly running out of greenhouse space.

    I'm still waiting on true leaves on just about everything thou.   

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,095
    I was wondering if a washable electric blanket would be any good under seed trays, they have a thermostat and can be quite cheap to buy, anyone any thoughts on this?
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
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