To sow or not to sow...
This unseasonably warm February weather entices me towards my box of seeds. I keep my seeds, in their original packets, separated into 2 separate (smallish) storage boxes. The first is a cardboard box that originally housed a chilli growing kit. Something I brought over 10 years ago when I first started dabbling in growing vegetables from seed (and chilli seeds, I quickly learnt, were not the best seed for a beginner - difficult to germinate in this cold UK climate). The second is an old tin that was once full of chocolates left for us at some holiday accommodation a few Springs ago. I keep my seeds separated into vegetables/herbs and flowers. I'm learning (slowly) that some things are easier to grow from seed than others. Books and the internet are helpful tools when trying to decide what to grow in your own garden and usually I start here for inspiration but generally find that it eventually all comes down to trial and error.
Thankfully, at the same time as I found myself drawn towards my boxes of seeds (sun beating down on the kitchen window), I also happened to read Charles Dowding's latest update from his amazingly informative no dig gardening website. Charles Dowding is a master of organic gardening and his website and Instagram pages are full of so much useful (and free) advice.
His advice for February/early March is to make sure to follow your usual sowing times - don't get carried away with the sunny weather and make sure that anything you sow now is frost hardy and is kept undercover (an unheated greenhouse will be fine). So hold off on your tomato seeds and courgettes and stick to what you would usually plant at this time of year. Wise words and exactly what I needed to hear. He goes on to remind us that any seeds sown towards the end of March, once the chance of frost has passed, will catch up with earlier sowings with the increase in warmth and the longer daylight hours.
So I've pulled out some flower seeds that I had to hand (cosmos, rudbeckia and cupid's dart) that are suitable for February sowing and have placed these indoors in the warmth on windowsills. I'll wait until they germinate before I pot on and eventually move outside to their final planting positions once all chance of frost has passed.
Following Charles Dowding's advice I've sown in seed trays salad onions, sprouting broccoli, normal broccoli, spring cabbage, spicy greens, frisee lettuce, jack ice lettuce, parsley, spinach radish and coriander and placed them undercover in my (very small) unheated greenhouse.
And now I wait for germination and make plans for what to sow next.