IT'S time to get some more glasshouse seeds sown.
including tomatoes, coleus, petunias and geraniums - will
benefit from bottom heat, note.
Sow them in pots and trays filled with special seed-sowing
compost which has been firmed, levelled and watered liberally
and then allowed to drain for a while before sowing. The compost
should be moist, not saturated. Once sown, allow a fine layer of
sand or compost to fall over the surface. Ideally, apply this
using a sieve. Label your sowings with each plant's name and
variety. Note the date on which they were sown, too. Having done
that, pop them into a propagator and watch for them germinating.
To avoid damping off, make sure the young seedlings have
plenty of ventilation. Do not, however, subject them to cold
When the seedlings are big enough, prick them out into large
trays or small individual pots. An alternative is to sow into
plug trays, removing all but one seedling in each plug when
young. Potting up can then be deferred until such times as the
roots have filled the plugs. Outdoors, this is a good time to
take root cuttings from certain alpines and perenniels.
Lift a parent plant and look for thick, fleshy roots - the
are the ones which store plant food. Remove a few lengths or
sections. Half fill seed trays with free-draining, sandy - but
moist - compost and lay the roots in rows on their sides. Then
cover them with more compost.
Extra thick roots, like those of papaver orientate, can be
cut into shorter sections and set vertically, their upper ends
just below the surface of the compost.
Place the trays in a cool place - under glasshouse staging is
good, as is a cold frame. Other plants which grow well from root
cuttings include crambe, phlox and pasque flowers.Young plants
should begin to emerge later in the spring, at which stage they
can be potted up and grown for planting out in the autumn.
Seedling weeds which may have begun to appear in the borders
around your garden should be sprayed with a weedkiller. Act now
in order to nip a potential problem in the bud.
But, where possible, avoid walking on wet areas in the garden
at this time of year. Walking on wet ground compacts it,
damaging its structure.