Spring Gardening Tips: Sow Seeds in Containers

Sowing seeds in trays and containers gives you maximum control over their growing conditions before you plant them outdoors, especially useful for plants with specific needs.

As always when sowing, pay attention to the depth of planting and the moisture of the soil or seed raising mix you are using. When growing plants indoors, the other really important things to remember is that you will need to control the amount of heat and light the plant receives. This is often crucial to keeping indoor plants alive. Research the individual needs of the seed you are planting thoroughly before sowing.

1. Get your tray ready. You should use seed raising mix rather than garden soil. Moisten the seed raising mix before you put it into the tray by putting it into a plastic bag, adding some water and shaking vigorously.
2. Sieve seed mix into a tray. Remember to check the moisture level of the mix regularly as you do this - don’t let it dry out. Evenly sprinkle the seeds by tapping them from a folded piece of paper.
3. Planting the seeds. Put a fine layer of sieved seed mix over the seeds, then a fine layer of grit. Store at a suitable temperature and label other important details like plant type and date planted so you can easily keep track.
4. Removing the seeds. Once the seeds are large enough to handle (roughly when each seedling has grown three small leaves), lift them out using a widger (a double-ended stainless steel gardening tool for transplanting seedlings and inserting cuttings). Hold them by the seed leaves.
5. Transfer the seedlings into pots or trays. As the seedlings emerge, you’ll harden them off by gradually increasing their exposure to sun and heat before you plant them out. You should keep pots or tray in a well-lit, shaded position. To keep animals at bay, you can place a netting over the seeds. To protect sensitive seeds against excessive moisture loss, use a sheet of glass.
6. Planting out. When it comes time to plant them outdoors, be sure to plant in a sunny position, water regularly and feed it with a liquid feed that is high in nitrogen.

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