Getting the most from your seeds

Greenhouse benches are filling up.
Greenhouse benches are filling up.

Suddenly we’re sowing seeds, pricking-out and potting-up as if there were no tomorrow.

Such is the pace when your greenhouse is the engine room of the garden. Most of the annual crops we grow pass through it at some stage.

How long do I wait for seeds to germinate? If you’ve followed correct procedures for a standard range of ornamental or edible plants, there should be some sign of shoots within two to three weeks of sowing. If there’s still nothing after four weeks I’d be asking why.

Start with a suitable compost and avoid broadcasting the seed too thickly because this encourages damping-off. Cover them with vermiculite, perlite or fine compost to the depth advised on the packet. Some seeds are so small that they require no covering. I add fine silver sand to the packet, shake it and broadcast all over a compost surface.

Ensure all composts are moist enough, watering from below via capillarity or overhead with can and rose attachment, then place the container in a warm environment. The temperature suggested is 20C to 25C.