Special Guest – Helen Dillon
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We welcome our resident gardening guru Geoff Stebbings from www.thebikinggardener.com with his weekly tip for what we should be doing in our garden this week.
Most gardeners start sowing too early. It is really difficult to wait to start sowing. But unless you have a greenhouse your windowsills will get crowded with straggly seedlings that long to be outside but it is still too cold. If you leave sowing till later these seedlings soon catch up and will be young and healthy and grow into much better plants.
Some seeds are easier to grow than others and cosmos, marigolds and old-fashioned calendulas and nasturtiums are the ones to start with.
Secrets of success
Always start with clean pots and trays and with fresh compost. Buy a new bag of compost to sow your seeds in so it is free from disease and weeds and is not too wet.
Fill the pots and trays loosely and tap them to firm the compost.
Water them to settle the compost before sowing. You can sieve some compost on the surface if sowing fine seeds such as snap dragons or petunias.
Sow the seeds thinly and cover with Perlite which will help keep them moist.
Keep them in a propagator or cover with a clear plastic lid (fruit containers are ideal) and keep at about 20c.
When they germinate wait until the seed leaves are fully expanded and the first true leaves are appearing in the centre.
Then transplant them into small pots or trays – carefully lift them (a dining fork is perfect) and hold them by the seed leaves – not the stem!
Water carefully and grow them on – plant out in mid May.
You can find Geoff at his daily talks at the Allianz Garden Show Ireland this year which takes place at Antrim Castle Gardens from 5th – 7th May.
Catch up on Geoff’s other tips from this series:
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