It’s national gardening week here in the UK so this is quite a timely post — when I mentioned seed sowing on my instagram the other day, I got a few questions asking to show what I’m up to, so this post is a bit of an introduction to my seed-stash plans right now. I will preface this post by saying that this is the first year I’m growing without a greenhouse, so am doing things slightly differently to previous years. I do have some windowsills (not like in my old apartment) + will be starting some things off indoors + in my car….yes, you read that right! I have been putting some of my small pots in the car when the night temperatures are set to be low to give them some protection… a little bit like a mobile greenhouse! I only have a mini cooper so no room for anything large, but my tomato plants + cosmos etc. are quite happy here for short spells (+ it stops my tiny kitchen being overrun with pots).
First, let me talk you through what I will be attempting to grow, the majority are from seeds but some I have had as young plants.
- red tumbling tomatoes (from a young plant)
- yellow tumbling tomatoes (from a young plant)
- sweet peas
- ranunculus (bulbs)
- anenomes (bulbs)
- oxalis (from corms)
- 3x caladium bulbs (for indoors)
Next, let’s talk about containers… it is very much a case of making do here + using what I have available to me during lockdown. Some of my pots + propagators haven’t arrived from the move so taking a DIY approach has been the way forward so far this year. For the last two months I’ve been keeping hold of any containers that might come in handy for germinating my seeds. You really don’t need anything fancy — an egg box or a yogurt pot (even better if it has a lid!) can easily be repurposed into a mini propagator! The pots below are mainly reserved for my houseplants, but I will make an exception this season + use some for starting off my seeds indoors…
MAKING A REPURPOSED PROPAGATOR:
- Use a tray with holes in as your ‘base’ and place this inside a tray without holes (FYI I’m using an old mushroom container). Fill with your potting mix/seed compost + water lightly.
- Sow your seeds: follow the packet instructions about placement + depth, how much to cover etc.
- Add some water to the bottom tray without holes (the brown one in the photo above) If you try to water from above at this stage, the seeds might get moved around too much/ washed into a ‘clump’ — so I prefer to water lightly before sowing, then add a little bit of water to the tray below to slowly seep into the potting mix. This will ensure the tiny seeds aren’t disturbed too much.
- Place on your other lid — balance it, or use sellotape to hold it in place if it doesn’t fit exactly. This will create a mini greenhouse environment to help your seeds get germinating!
- Place in a warm position + be patient. Make sure the potting mix is not kept TOO wet, as this can cause mould.
In terms of soil, I haven’t been able to get hold of any seed compost (which is finer + lighter for little seedlings to grow + doesn’t have nutrients in) so I’ve been making a light concoction using what I have — it’s actually similar in ratio to how I make up my houseplant potting mix. I use peat-free multi-purpose compost, coco coir + perlite.
Here are a few photos to show what I have been up to so far… these seeds below were put in my long planters a few weeks ago:
Spinach progress…below left 23 April, below right 29 April:
Sweet pea seeds from my friend Brad, planted 29 April too:
My current windowsill set up on the left:
Sink watering station + below right, my ‘at home’ propagators:
Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit more of my planting… in the next instalment I will show you my flower bulbs + caladiums getting potted, an update on my tomatoes + any progress on my seeds. Hope this has inspired you to get sowing something this Spring! As always, there’s more over on my instagram.
Stay safe —