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Don't sow now! Or rather, not yet...
I don't know about you, but I am inundated with emails and magazines telling me that now is the time to get my seeds sown. I used to listen, in the past. In went my tomatoes, my peppers, my everything else they told me to do in the 'Things to do in the garden in January' books. And why not? The things seeds need - light, water, warmth - can all be obtained at any time of the year. IF you have money! Because the light levels right now are not perfect. And, weather patterns being as awry as they are these days, warmth might be there, but it also might not be. Water - well if you have a watering can... Ok...
I used to sow most of my seeds indoors. They would struggle in January - the light levels were too low. They would rise upwards. Seeking the light. Very straggly, very thin, very spindly. Very weak when they eventually did get a decent amount of light. I looked into buying those "natural light" machines, which promised to shine down on my lovely little seedlings, but I did not have the budget for them. And, even as a business that sows seeds much of the year, I still don't. I own some second hand propagators but I did not, and still do not, have the budget for yards and yards of such things!
I am lucky; I saved for years to get my Rhino. And that provides a certain amount of warmth - I don't heat the greenhouse, but the windows are excellent for trapping warmth. There is not much though that my lovely Rhino can do about light though.
What do I do in January?
I take cuttings from larger plants all year round.
- Take a cutting
- Plonk it in water
- Wait for the roots to develop
- Place in compost
- Let it grow...
But seeds? No. I stop around September, giving them enough light, warmth and water to be fine throughout the Winter months, ready to sell in Spring. And I do not begin again until February/March, depending on the weather. When the light levels and the warmth are perfect, the little seedlings can grow strong straight away. And will probably be ready at about the same time they would have been, had I sown them a couple of months earlier.
Gardening is all about the environment and, many would have us believe, sadly, about money. The retailers of magical thermostatic devices tell you money can do all sorts of things. But you don't need money. You can be as successful if you just work with nature. Watch.... and wait.... and then - OFF YOU GO!