Go Organic: Sowing the seeds of successBy James Ashford
February 10, 2012
Most vegetables are normally grown from seed. It is the cheapest and usually the best way to start them off.
There are a few notable exceptions which are grown from roots, bulbs and tubers and some things like strawberries which are generally supplied as small plants.
I buy almost all of my seed from the Organic Gardening Catalogue.
As a member of Garden Organic I get a 10 per cent discount and over the years I’ve found them to be reliable and helpful.
They also carry a wide range of varieties especially suitable for growing organically.
Vegetable seed comes in a huge range of shapes and sizes.
Some can be sown directly in the ground where they are to grow, but many other are better started off in pots or seed trays.
This is a very useful technique for organic gardeners and one I use for as many vegetables as I can.
It lets me get the seeds started indoors or in an unheated greenhouse where the extra warmth means they will germinate just that bit sooner.
It also allows me to keep the tiny seedlings well out of the way of slugs and snails.
These troublesome gastropods can chomp their way through a whole row of seedlings in a single night, wasting weeks of work.
By starting my seeds in movable containers I can keep them high up and safely out of harm’s way.
It also lets me control the number of plants I grow and their final spacing much more accurately.
Use a good quality seed compost and choose your containers to suit the size of your seeds.
Larger seeds like runner beans need to go into small pots, but little seeds like lettuce are better suited to modular seed trays.
I normally sow two seeds per pot or module in case one fails to germinate.
If both come up, I nip out the weaker one, giving the survivor the room it needs to thrive.
When the soil warms up and I’m ready to plant out I can choose exactly how far apart I want my veg to be and they should be big enough withstand all but the most determined attack from pests.