Go on, give it a grow!

Prices of imported flower have leapt 40%, so here’s tips on how to grow your own – and it’s so satisfying and simple, says Charlotte Tombs.


Some of Charlotte’s seed- growing results from last year

The crunchy, frosty – or drizzly – days from late winter to early spring herald the ‘big sowing of flower seeds’ for me as a British artisan flower farmer.

I’m being hopeful here – and I’m always hopeful. Hopefully I will have chosen the right ‘must have’ flower for this season (yes there are flower trends), hopefully it will germinate, hopefully the slugs won’t eat it, hopefully it will grow into a big strong plant, hopefully it will flower in time for your big occasion, and hopefully it will be just the right shade to complement your bridesmaids’ dresses, sashes, groom or usher’s ties or cravats.

That’s a lot of hope tied up in a tiny seed that sometimes is no bigger than a grain of sand.
In addition to all that hope – and inevitable failure – a lot of time is invested by growers.
Flowers are perceived to be expensive (they are not, of course, when the grower has spent eight hours in the rain, covered in mud!).
I have read in the trade press that it is estimated that the cost of imported flowers has jumped by 40% this year. So why not think about growing your own from seed? It is really very simple and incredibly
rewarding; beneficial for your mental health and fills you with a great sense of achievement.


Charlotte’s ‘soil blocker’ gadget creates useful compressed blocks with a seed indentation in each

No equipment required

You don’t need a lot of expensive kit; a sunny window sill, a bag of all-purpose compost (preferably peat free – share one with a friend if a whole bag is too much) and literally any container to hold soil in; if it has a lid even better. Current TikTok trends have many people growing on their window sills in old plastic fruit punnet boxes from the supermarket.

There are so many different methods of growing from seed and you’ll find one that suits you; currently our spare room floor is covered with seed trays making use of the underfloor heating. And our kitchen window sill is home to old Indian takeaway containers (yes, obviously washed out…) which are home to 40 seeds each.


Charlotte’s spare room floor is currently a seed nursery

Because I sow so many seeds I do have a gadget called a soil blocker which compresses the compost and makes tiny little blocks with an indentation for the seed in the top which I then sprinkle vermiculite on to retain moisture.
Just follow the instructions on the packet and as soon as the seeds have emerged, move them to a sheltered outdoor space – bring them in at night to protect from sneaky late frost and frigid winds.


The takeaway boxes on Charlotte’s kitchen window sill hold 40 seedlings each.

You’ll soon be gripped

Seed sowing can become quite addictive. There are some great social media accounts that take you through all the different steps: check out Swan Cottage Flowers on Instagram and Facebook. Zoe posts regularly and takes you by the hand through all the different steps of growing from seed. Give it a go, you’ll be hooked.

Or follow me Northcombe Flowers (or Instagram here) and I’d be happy to help; give me a follow and see my ‘Flower Farmers Year’ in photos. I promise a beautiful flower-filled feed. Hopefully.

by Charlotte Tombs

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