Sowing Seeds: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

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Photo by Pixabay/DarkWorkX

How to Sow Seeds Under Cover

Start seeds off under the protection of a greenhouse, tunnel or cold frame, or use a sunny indoor windowsill. Use a propagator for tender crops like tomatoes, or secure clear plastic over the top of pots with a rubber band.

Germinate cool-season crops such as onions, celery and cabbage on a sunny windowsill then move into a greenhouse, tunnel or cold frame once they’ve germinated.

Alternatively, grow seedlings indoors under grow lights.

Choosing the Right Time to Sow

Avoid sowing too early. This can result in having to transplant seedlings into bigger containers more often before it’s time to transplant into the ground, wasting potting mix and taking up valuable space under cover.

Refer to the Plant List in our Garden Planner to find recommended times to sow and plant in your garden’s location.

Seed Flats vs Plug Trays

Seed flats are great for very small seeds (eg basil), and easy-to-transplant flower seeds. They are space-efficient during the first stage of growth. Transplant seedlings into their own pots or plug trays when they’re big enough to handle.

Plug trays with larger plugs are ideal for bigger seeds such as beans, and smaller plugs for crops like lettuce and onions.

Sowing Your Seeds in Plug Trays

Fill your plug trays with seed compost, or screen all-purpose potting mix to a fine texture. Use your fingertips to make shallow depressions– about a quarter of an inch deep is fine for most crops. Sow your seeds into the holes then bury the seeds by sieving a little more potting mix over the top. Label trays with the variety and date of sowing. Water carefully.

Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources

Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.

Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

More Videos

Watch more videos on gardening techniques and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.

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