It takes unbearably long for the soil to warm up in the Spring, but as the Equinox looms there is often a warm spell when you can risk an early sowing of some outdoor seeds. With all small seeds, warmth is key for germination, sowing early is a risky business.
Carrot germination is the supreme challenge. We discussed last month the idea of sowing indoors in pots, gel or damp paper towels. You then transplant into the growing bed the moment you see any sign of life—before the roots are more than a nanometre long. This is not an option for my sausage-fingered self, we sow outdoors in damp soil warmed by a layer of fleece.
Large seeds such as peas, broad beans and well chatted early potatoes do well from a March sowing. With all soil sown crops, growth is stronger and faster under fleece. You may have to put some netting over the fleece to keep birds and badgers at bay, jackdaws like fleece for their nests. We start peas and beans in seed trays indoors to get around the mouse problem. And do you like what mechanics and gardeners wear? Overall.
This year we have bought nearly all our seed online from Premier Seeds in Salisbury. The seed packets are mostly 69 or 99p and no postage, and you get masses of seeds. They say they were fed up with the price of seeds and thought they should be cheaper. Suits me! They buy bulk seed from big companies and trial them in their Salisbury garden—which is just what the likes of Kings and Suttons do.