Seed sowing is a wonderful time at the start of every year. All plants on earth started as seeds. First, we must think of what a seed is made up of. It is an embryo or the fertilised ovule which gives origin to a new plant. This plant must grow and produce flowers whose seeds will ripen, creating a colony of similar plants as a result.

Few of us gardeners can resist sowing seeds and producing plants from apparently inanimate objects; just a small pack can fill a border bed with great colour or feed a family.

Getting seeds to start growing is usually quite simple in our garden. We sow most vegetable plants in spring by seed.

We collect most of our own in the late autumn so we remain relatively disease-free and know the soil type where the parent plant would have been growing.

We collect seeds from peas, broad beans runner beans, turnips, parsley, lettuce, celery and also from our own potatoes. The seeds must be harvested on a dry day and stored in cardboard containers in dry places.

Tomato seeds are the first to be sown during the last week of January. This is done in trays and then placed in a warm room. It usually takes about 14 days to mature.

Then comes lettuce which is very easy to start, also cabbage, and then peas and beans. The last two need a little help pre-germination, so I soak them in a dish of water. This helps to set them off to an early start.

Small seeds only need to be kept moist in their compost trays. I never leave them to soak in water as it makes the soil cold. Un-germinated seeds such as beetroot, carrots, salad onions, turnips and parsley are sown in flat drills. Any thinnings will be used later for salads because they are tender.

All flowers that go to seed in our garden are saved, sweet pea, delphinium poppy, pansy and lots more are good examples.

Easy to grow

These seeds are very easy to grow; often, they will fall and grow without any help where they fall. We have a small glasshouse here in the garden, which is very valuable for raising seeds as it can get very hot. These plants have to be kept moist so must be watched very carefully.

Most vegetable plants are grown from seed, along with most of our annual flowering plants.

However, some gardeners find it understandably easier to buy in plants that are ready to transplant. Whatever way you decide to do it, it is a pleasure to watch them. grow and transform.

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