Thursday, 3 April 2014

Arthritis research UK, article 4 by me :)

Sowing seeds with Niki Preston

Sowing seeds with Niki Preston

Spring is my favourite time in the gardening calendar and probably the busiest. Now is the time plan your summer garden, are you going to sow your own seeds take some cuttings for freebie plants or buy plug plants?
Maybe a combination of all three, that’s what I do. Firstly though I had to work out how on earth I was going to sow seeds without dropping the seeds or sowing them all in one corner. After trying several different ideas from a plastic spoon to act as a false hand to circular seeds sowers that the seeds kept getting in I finally discovered the perfect sower, the super seeder, available from Amazon and now most garden centres.
It looks rather like a syringe. The end comes off and you fill the syringe with you seeds, it will sow most sizes, except very large ones. Replace the end and press the button at the end and a small amount of seeds are deposited in the seed try, move on a bit, press again, more seeds and so on until you have sown lovely neat rows of seeds. This also removes any over sowing so all the seedlings have more chance of germinating and you don’t need to thin them out quite so much.
Plug plants make a brilliant alternative to sowing your own. If seed sowing is just too hard then give plugs a thought. They still need potting on and need lots of tlc but without the sowing hassle, no worrying if they will germinate or keel over, just healthy plants to plant out when ready. I try to order mine in January as you seem to get the best deals and I have found that you also get the healthiest plugs if you order early.
Cuttings are also a great way to indulge your garden passion and get some freebie plants into the bargain. I have found two very good snipers that are just the job. One is very small and great for those very delicate cuttings, even deadheading tiny flowers such as viola and the other is slightly more sturdy and comes with a handy cover so you can pop them in your pocket with stabbing yourself, both are available from www.garden-gear.co.uk both are excellently priced at £3.99 for the herbies snips and £4.95 for the Darlac deadheading snip. This are both very lightweight and need only a gentle squeeze, these are the only two snips that I can use with one hand.
A little bit of research and a few basic tools and your new summer garden will be off to a flying start.

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