Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Everybody has to start somewhere right? Seed sowing is a cost effective, and in my opinion, probably one of the most rewarding ways to grow and develop a garden.
Let's start at the basics by understanding what plants you would like to grow. Do you want evergreen? The repeat bloom of a herbaceous perennial year after year? Or the diversity of an yearly sown annual? Most gardens certainly have a selection of evergreens and perennials, mostly collected from garden centres or plant nurseries over the years but did you know you can grow many varieties of evergreen and perennials from seed?
Lupins, Echinacea, Salvia, Verbena - all the garden centre staples, can be grown from seed and will start to reward you fruitfully after the first growing season. For evergreens, especially the larger shrubs, these can take a little longer, but there are other varieties like Ajuga, Buddleigh and of course Rosemary and Thyme that will mature quickly and will soon be producing blooms.
Annuals are my favourite seeds to grow, there's a huge variety to choose from with many rewarding you with beautiful blooms. They can range from hardy to half hardy. Hardy annuals and biennials can be sown in late Summer the previous year, with half hardy annuals in early spring. If sown in late summer they can be planted out to overwinter providing you with an early flush of flowers. Half hardy need to be sown somewhere warm and protected from frost, only planted out once the threat of frost has subsided.
Anyone can grow from seed all you need is a multipurpose compost (I always buy peat free), and an item that can be repurposed as a tray or pot. I often sow into paper cups as they are cheap, compostable and have a good depth for root growth. March is probably the busiest time for seed sowing and with the above bits and a warm windowsill you should see little seedlings in no time!
Looking at a late summer early Autumn sowing check out Five Cut Flower Biennials to Plant in July and August