Inch by inch, step by step the light is returning but my it feels so slow, we have now passed what feels like the longest month, January and there are changes are in the air. Almost imperceptibly every day there is a change in the light, small green shoots are emerging from the brown dark soil and the morning bird song volume in my garden is just slowly creeping up. Especially the Robin, my morning walk down to the greenhouse sees him (or her) perched on the tree serenading me. Looking forward to the time when I can starting picking flowers again from my garden.
I’m also counting down the days till I can get my seed box out and start the sowing year. I love that feeling of tipping the seeds carefully from the seed packet into my hand and pressing them into fresh compost. Followed by that moment when the little seedlings emerge, I still get so much joy from that every year it never goes away.
I just adore growing from seed, little packets of joy that promise so much. Let’s just admire the beauty of them, they are all so different, from the tough round black mini marbles of the sweet peas to the spiky coils of Calendula seeds that I imagine look like little seahorses.
There are the Thunbergia (Climbing Black Eyed Susan) seeds which look like tiny sea urchins, Cornflower seeds that look like little shaving brushes and the always popular Scabiosa ‘Ping Pong’ where the seeds are like shuttlecocks.
Ok maybe I’m going a bit crazy but they are all so unique. Some are big chunky seeds that you can hold between your finger and thumb to sow individually, like climbing Nasturtium or the gloriously stripy black and white sunflower seeds.
Others are so tiny they are like dust and need to be sown thinly and carefully on the surface of the soil, like Foxgloves and Nicotiana.
Some are long and thin, like Cosmos, and others are round and flat, like Cobaea which I tend to sow on its side so that water doesn’t sit on top of the seed and cause it to rot.
Seeds are precious things, its getting more expensive for seed companies to grow and harvest them so prices have gone up a bit on many of them, so take your time with sowing. Sow when the time is right, use nice fresh compost. I use Melcourt Sylvagrow multipurpose compost which is lovely stuff and I’ve had great success with. We have a guide for sowing all the Higgledy gardens seeds here. But its just a guide, the best advice is just to have a go, if you are unsure just sow a small amount and then you can try again later if they don’t germinate. See what works best for you and your garden, some of you may have fancy propagators but you can do just as well with a sunny windowsill.
Some seeds germinate almost within days, I find Cosmos given some warmth from a propagator or a sunny windowsill can soon push their heads out of the soil. Whilst other you need lots of patience with and the germination can be erratic or a few a time rather than a big flush of seedlings. Some like Larkspur and many perennials seed like a spell of cold weather to break their dormancy so you can sow these in early spring and expose them to cold or take the easier option and put the seed packets in the fridge for a couple of weeks and then once in the warmth they should germinate quickly.
But its still a bit too early for most things at the moment, still quite poor light levels and cold but I have sowed some Larkspur after putting the seed packets in the fridge. I will also likely in the next week or so sow some Cobaea scandens which I’ve written about in more details here. I will also check through my autumn sown sweet peas and see how they are doing and I may make a second sowing of those. There are a few of the more hardy annuals that could be sown undercover soon. I’ll be sowing some Calendula (I especially love Calendula ‘Snow Princess’), Echium ‘Blue bedder’ (as much for the bees as for me), Scabiosa, Salvia viridis (see my blog on this fabulous flower) and Chrysanthemum ‘Rainbow Hippy Love Child’ (a big favourite of Ben). See the Easy peasy bundle for a selection of seeds that are easy and you can start sowing now. Plus I’m going to sow some perennials especially Gaura ‘The Bride’, I want those wafty wands of butterfly like flowers in my bouquets this year.
But I’m sorting through my seeds and planning my sowing year. I’m growing some old favourites but also going to be growing lots of new things. I love to experiment with new varieties so I will keep you posted. I’ve a fairly small garden so just grow small amounts of lots of things. I’m stocking up on fresh peat free compost and sorting out my seeds trays and pots. I’m doing a big tidy of my potting shed which will soon be my favourite place to be.
Are you excited about the new seed sowing year?