Get your seeds on

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Begin 2024’s gardening journey in March sowing seeds – a magical job that lays the foundation for a season of colour, says Charlotte Tombs

In March, as winter loosens its grip on the South of England and signs of spring really get going, the anticipation of seed sowing fills me with excitement. There’s an undeniable thrill that comes from witnessing the first seed germinate, a promise of new life and vibrant growth. With approximately eight weeks until the last frost, now’s the perfect time to kickstart the gardening season.
If you haven’t grown from seed before, you really should give it a go; it’s so rewarding and so much cheaper than buying your plants ready-grown!
One of the techniques I use for seed starting is a soil blocker. This ingenious tool creates tiny soil blocks, providing the perfect environment for seedlings to establish themselves. I love how efficient it is; 40 soil blocks neatly fit into a takeaway tub, and when covered with the tub lid, it transforms into a mini greenhouse, creating a warm and moist environment ideal for germination. Plus, you don’t waste seed or compost, or waste time pricking out.

What to pick?
As I prepare to sow my seeds, I carefully select from an array of varieties suited for early spring planting. Calendula, with its cheerful orange and yellow blooms, is a must-have for adding a pop of colour to the garden. Cornflowers, in shades of blue, evoke a nostalgic charm reminiscent of English cottage gardens. Malope, with its delicate petals in a deep Vulcan red and white, adds a touch of whimsy to any flower bed. These all make great cut flowers – in all honesty I don’t grow anything that doesn’t make a good cut flower or smell amazing… preferably both! Sweet peas are another favourite of mine, with their intoxicating fragrance and delicate tendrils that climb effortlessly up trellises and fences. Annual phlox, with its clusters of vibrant blooms to attract pollinators, adds a burst of colour to the garden. Quaking grass, with its graceful seed heads that sway in the breeze, adds movement and texture to floral arrangements, and statice, with its papery blooms in shades of purple, blue and white, is perfect for drying and preserving.

A little bit of magic
As I sow each seed into its designated soil block, I can’t help that buzz of excitement, knowing that in just a few weeks, these tiny seeds will burst forth with life, transforming into robust seedlings ready to be transplanted into the garden. I water each takeaway tub, ensuring that the seeds are evenly moistened, and then cover the tub with its lid, creating a cosy haven for germination to take place. Some seeds require dark for germination, some light, so do read the seed packet.
Seed sowing in March is more than just a job on your list; it’s a celebration of nature’s resilience and the promise of new beginnings.
As I look forward to the blooms and abundance that lies ahead, I’m reminded of the joy that comes from working with Mother Nature through the seasons of the year. And as I witness the first seed germinate, I’m always filled with a sense of wonder and gratitude.

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