January Planting Guide

One of the more complicated aspects of gardening is knowing when to start sowing seed. There are lots of printables out there that you can use to refer to throughout the year but for a helping hand, we’ve put together a basic guide to which flowers and vegetable seeds you should start to sow in January. Don’t forget, investing in a decent propagator can really help your seeds get off to a fantastic start as can a greenhouse or cold frame.

 

Flowers to sow in January

Begonia

Cat grass

Silver Dust

Cyclamen

Delphinium

Geranium

Lobelia

SalviaLupin

Sweet Pea

Verbena

 

Veggies to sow in January

Alfafa

Aubergine

Borad bean

Beansprouts

Summer Broccoli

Cabbage

Carrot

Kale

Cauliflower

Leek

Strawberry

Onions

 

 

 

Germination

First off, note that most seeds need daytime temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius and can tolerate a drop to about 10 degrees. For this reason, it’s best to start off in a warm place – either indoors if you have the space, or in a heated propagator or heated greenhouse. You’re going to need specialist seed starting soil that you can either buy directly or make for yourself using a mix of peat compost, or coir, and mixing it with compost and a little vermiculite. Depending on your budget, you can purchase specialist seed trays that have a lid, and an outer tray to cope with watering. These make seed rearing and planting out very easy. You can also buy individual mini coir pots. The green option is to recycle supermarket vegetable packaging or even use chopped-down toilet roll tubes.

 

Simply spread a little compost in your container, pat it down with your hand to compact the soil, then dampen the soil – being careful not to make it too soggy. The next stage depends on your seed packet instructions so read these carefully. You should find that most seeds you can sprinkle over the soil surface and then finish the job with a bit more soil sprinkled or sieved over the top. Give it all another pat down and voila, job done.

 

One tip for larger seeds: it’s often better to plant these individually as it makes the seedlings much easier to handle when it comes to stage two.

 

Transferring

It can feel like some sort of miracle when your seeds start to sprout. Watching them grow taller and stronger is just magic – the difficult bit comes when it’s time to transfer those delicate seedlings. Common advice is to wait for the first pair of true leaves - not to be confused with the first seed leaves – and that the seedling is big enough to handle safely. Prepare another tray with good compost, and gently ease out the strongest looking seedlings with a lolly stick. Handle the seedling by the seed leaves rather than the stem that can bruise easily. Pop them into your next tray with plenty of space between each young plant, sprinkle with water and a spot of fertiliser and wait for nature to do its work.

 

Stay tuned for how to harden off those baby plants in our next instalment.