seeds indoors or in a heated greenhouse is a good way to get
plants off to an earlier start than nature normally
key is not to sow too many - think how large they will be in
early May, and plan to grow for that size.
For really early
sowings in january or February, choose plants that take a long
time to develop such as begonias, antirrhinums and sweet peas.
Most other annuals should be sown around March or April time.
Fill a seed tray with seed compost, lightly firm it down and
water until moist but not saturated with water. Where the seeds
are very small, it is best to mix the seeds with fine sand or
dry compost and then spread the mixture onto the top of the
moist compost. Do not cover the seeds with more compost, but
cover the container with cling film or any clear
polythene. Larger seeds should be covered with roughly their own
height of compost - read the seed packet for exact details.
the container in a shaded or dark position in a warm room in the
house. The ideal temperature is 20 - 22C (68 - 72F), although
the temperature in an evenly heated house should be OK. Watch
the seeds daily for emerging seedlings - this normally takes
about two weeks. As soon as the seedlings appear, remove the
polythene and place the tray in a light position (a windowsill
is suitable). For the first couple of weeks, it is
essential to keep the seedlings out of direct sunlight, it will
scorch and kill them. If the window sill is cool, cover the
container with a cardboard box at night, but remember to remove
it each morning. When the seedlings are large enough to handle (about
3/4 inch), prick them out from the seed tray and repot them in 3
that they will need to be hardened off before