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  • Sue

Itchy fingers

Every year, in February, I feel compelled to start sowing seeds – vegetables and flowers – and I have to rein myself in from starting too early. If you make the mistake of sowing things too early then, unless you have the facilities to raise a lot of plants under glass, you can end up with spindly leggy weak seedlings that have shot away before you can plant them out – or you do plant them out too early and, following a sudden frost, they perish. Willpower is called for.

This is what I have sown so far in 2022:

Chillis – these need to be sown early. They take ages to germinate, even in a heated propagator. This year I sowed mine on February 22nd, and noticed, as I rootled around amongst old plant labels, that last year they had been sown on February 8th. That was not too soon. Even though they don’t go outside until May, you do need to sow them now.

NB Sweet peppers are closely related to chillis, so if you grow them from seed start in February. (I am not growing them from seed this year).

Parsley – this went directly into the ground on the same date (22nd) and I put a few seeds into a pan of seed compost in the propagator as Parsley is difficult to germinate. There is an old saying that you can only germinate parsley seeds if the woman is head of the household, so I would like to report that I have a 100% success rate – except that would not be true. Maybe 95%.....?

Basil – a couple of days ago it was the turn of basil. I grow Genoese basil as I find it particularly aromatic. We sow a small tray of seeds, but end up with about 6 plants each year and find that that gives us a mass of basil from about May onwards. I get the best results if I ultimately plant the young plants directly into the ground in the vegetable garden, but I usually keep a couple in pots on the terrace as well, because the scent as you brush against them is divine.

Radishes - it must be a childhood thing, but I can never resist sowing a few radishes as a catch crop where there is a space. You don't need to sow many, as small and frequent sowing is the answer, and it is a bit early, but I just couldn't resist and the first lot went in earlier this week.....

However – next week it will be March and then the seed sowing starts in earnest, both into seed-trays for germination under cover and directly into the ground, which is already starting to warm up.

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