Growing from seed

Seed sowing in modules

A collection of black plastic modules

Medium sized seeds such as chillies, tomatoes, pumpkins and squash are easiest to sow and grow in modules..

Modules should be filled with good quality seed compost and watered before the seeds are sown. Make sure the water has fully permeated through the compost by watering a couple of times and letting run off stop before watering again.

Place one seed on top of the compost in each module. Once there is a seed on each module gently press the seed down into the soil. With smaller seeds such as tomatoes this can to be just below soil level, but for larger seeds such as squash they can be pushed half way into the module.

Top up any modules that are looking as if they need extra soil if necessary but try to avoid this by good filling in the first place.

Read the back of the seed packet to see where the seeds need to be for best germination.

If they are on windowsills remember to turn them regularly to ensure they don’t get leggy.

Seedlings will need to be kept moist at all times, but it’s very important not to overwater or they may quite easily rot off and fail.

If any appear to be rotting remove them immediately so that the fungal disease that is causing the problem doesn’t get chance to spread.

Leave the small plants in the modules until the roots are appearing from the bottom and then pot on or plant out into the garden.

Seed sowing in Trays

Small seeds such as brassicas can be sown into seed trays. The method is exactly the same as for modules except that it is possible to sow far more seeds in a tray than in a tray of modules. However there are a few things to remember.

Try to keep the seeds sown at regular intervals in the tray so that there is room for some growth before needing to prick them out.

Because all the seeds are effectively in one huge module they are far more likely to suffer from rotting off, making it really vital there is no overwatering. If you see any rotting off, remove those seedlings immediately and increase the amount of air around the tray – a few hours outside will help as long as the weather is clement.

Seedlings will need to be pricked out once they have two sets of true leaves. True leaves are the set of leaves that come after the leaves that appear at germination.

Seedlings in seed trays are most likely to need potting into pots or even large modules before finally being planted out into the garden.

Seed Sowing In Pots

Larger seeds such as beans or pumpkins will perform better by being started off in small pots as it will stop them becoming leggy and encourage a really good rooting system before they are planted out. The method is exactly the same as with modules except push the seed half way into the pot and water after sowing.

Potting on

For information about potting on, please visit this page.

Tips for growing from seed