Songs to sow seeds to

Songs to sow seeds to-March

Here’s a nice collection of tunes to accompany your seed sowing this month. It’s an excellent mix tape from Chronixx and Federation Sound as mentioned on the great David Rodigan show the other week.

It features some well known chronixx tracks over some classic rhythm tracks like jah jah jahovah, king tubby meets the rockers uptown, cuss cuss, monkey man, joyride and much much more!

This month is a funny one for seed sowing as it’s still not warm enough to sow everything outdoors but you can give some carrots, beetroot, kale, broad beans, leeks, parsnips, spinach and turnips a go if it’s not too cold. I sowed a row each of beetroot, carrots, lettuce and spinach the other day, if they don’t work, they don’t work and it’s only a couple of rows of seeds wasted.

You can always start these indoors this month: aubergines, herbs including basil and the like, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, chilli peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes and what about starting a pot of salad leaves on the windowsill.

It’s still a bit early for spuds but in a couple of weeks time it will be and the gardening season will get underway and we won’t know what’s hit us!

STOP PRESS: Cheers to our mate Ciarán in Canada for sending us a pic of his advocado from seed (and some find looking sage in the background) that have grown all the way through their mild winter. How good is that? avocado

Don’t fear the reaper

The early reaches of the growing season are now with us (well for impatient so and so’s like myself they are). Growing from seed is easy and cheap, and as the soil outside won’t warm up until later on in the spring I’ve started off some veg and herbs off in trays on my kitchen windowsill.

Most of the seeds for this forthcoming year were obtained on the cheap from E-bay, “end of season” bargains from a DIY shop, free gifts with gardening magazines bought cheaply from the market and swaps from mates but I did make an exception and bought some full-price seeds from the garden centre around the corner alongside some seed compost to keep them in business. Local garden centres are great and brilliant for advice and the staff will get to know what you like so will point you in the right direction when it comes to new varieties and offers etc so you wouldn’t want to see them disappear.

Last night I started off some garlic chives and thyme in a posh seed tray (with a plastic propagator lid) which was given to me by a neighbour who was clearing out his loft but you could use plastic plant pots, old yoghurt tubs with some drainage holes in the bottom or cardboard egg trays just to start off with.

I gave the tray a good clean and rinse out to prevent disease, then filled it with seed compost (which is low in nutrients and has added sand to improve aeration) and firmed it down with my hand. It then got a good soak first of tap water from a spray bottle (which avoids disturbing the seed later) and I let it drain off in the sink to get rid of the excess liquid.

On the back of the seed packet you will find detailed information with ideal sowing date, depth and and position of sowing and I always try to sow the seed thinly as not to waste them and it’ll also give the seedlings space to grow without competition and as a rule, planting depth is about twice the size of the seed.

After sprinkling on the seed and covering it with the right amount of compost, I stuck the name of the plants and the date in pencil on a plant label on its side then covered it with the posh plastic lid. You could use cling-film or a sheet of glass over the top which you’ll take off when the seedlings start to show. A couple of days ago I started off some tomatoes and sweet peas in small plastic seed tray with a plastic sandwich bag over the top (below) which works too. The secret is to keep the compost just moist and not too wet. There, I told you it was easy!