Hello Everyone and welcome to the second instalment of our Grow Along.
Hopefully you now have your seeds, composts and deep pots or rootrainers at the ready.
Firstly, do not concern yourself with pre-soaking, chitting or scarifying your seeds. I find a really good watering in and a bit of warmth is enough to get your seeds germinating quickly.
Fill your pots with compost mixed with vermiculite, about 3 parts compost to 1 part vermiculite.
Using a dibber, pencil or any other pointy implement, dib a hole about 2.5cm/1 inch deep. Drop in your seed and give it a little prod to ensure it is at the bottom of the hole.
Fill in the holes and label with the variety and date before watering gently from above or soaking in a tray.
The next step is to find somewhere warm (and mouse free), if you have a heat mat or propagator that’s perfect. Otherwise try an airing cupboard or near a radiator. Don’t worry they won’t be there long – as soon as you see a shoot, move the pots into a cool, bright position.
At this point, cold and brigh conditions are what you want – I use an unheated greenhouse. Your aim is to grow stocky plants with lots of roots, so you can treat them mean. If it gets really cold (below minus 3-4 degrees C) they will need some protection, either turn on the greenhouse heater, cover them with horticultural fleece or bring them indoors.
Pinch out the growing tip when they have 3-4 pairs of leaves. This will encourage a side shoot to grow and create a bushy plant.
Keep your plants on the dry side during these winter months, I usually water them every couple of weeks.
Ground preparation is probably out of the question at the moment if your ground is as waterlogged as ours. So let’s get on to that with the next post.