Sowing seeds for summer

Sowing seeds for summer

Growing plants from seed is one of the joys of gardening. It’s great for gardeners on a tight budget, giving you masses of plants for minimal cost, and there’s no beating the sense of triumph that comes from seeing those first seedlings poke their green heads above the soil. Sow a few seeds now in spring, and they’ll give you a spectacular show in summer.

Tips on sowing seeds

Seeds are not all the same, and what works for one won’t necessarily work for all. Some need light to germinate, while others won’t start growing below a certain temperature.  Before sowing, check your seed packet for the seeds’ requirements. Although seeds can sometimes germinate in the most surprising circumstances, you’ll have much more success if you give your seeds the environment they prefer.

Sowing seeds outdoors

To prepare the ground for sowing seeds, dig it over to get rid of any weeds and large stones, then tread over it lightly to firm it. Finally, rake it so that the surface is smooth and level, with a crumbly texture (generally referred to as ‘a fine tilth’).

You’ll see several terms used to describe methods of sowing seeds on seed packets and in gardening books. Broadcast sowing is one of the simplest, often used for wildflowers that would normally self-seed. It involves simply taking a handful of seeds and scattering them evenly across the ground, then lightly raking them over to cover them. 

Sowing in drills is a method often used for sowing vegetable seeds, as it gives you a neat row of plants that can be easily distinguished from any surrounding weeds. Use a stick or the edge of a trowel to draw a narrow channel in the soil where your row of plants will grow, then sow your seeds in this channel and rake the soil back over it.

Sowing seeds indoors

Plants with a long growing period, like tomatoes and chillies, and tender annuals like cosmos, are sown indoors in early spring to protect them from frosts and planted out when the weather is warmer. Heated greenhouses and propagators are ideal for this, providing a constant, controlled temperature for young seedlings. Still, many seeds will also germinate quite happily in pots on a sunny windowsill from mid-spring onwards. 

Seeds to sow indoors in spring

These seeds can be sown indoors in spring and planted out once the frosts are over.

  • Nasturtiums 
  • Salvia
  • Marigolds
  • Tomatoes
  • Aubergines
  • Squash 
  • Courgettes
  • French and runner beans

Seeds to sow outdoors in spring

These seeds can be sown directly outside in spring for beautiful summer flowers and delicious harvests.

  • Sunflowers 
  • Beetroot
  • Wildflowers
  • Hardy annuals
  • Carrots and parsnips
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Coriander
  • Chard

Spring is the perfect time to start sowing seeds for a sensational summer garden, and you’ll find everything you need in our centres. Visit us today and start sowing!

You might also be interested in:

8 great ornamental grasses to grow

Ornamental grasses add so much to a garden, bringing borders to life with their airy flower stems, softening paving and edging borders. There are grasses for sunny spots and grasses that will grow happily in part shade. Here are a few of our favourite ornamental grasses and how to care for them.  

8 great ornamental grasses to grow

  1. Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese silver grass) is an elegant deciduous grass with long arching le...

How to test your soil pH

This how to test your soil pH guide will give you all of the information you need to know your soil better. Without good soil and knowing exactly what type and PH it is, your plants may not thrive so well. When you know more about your soil, you can choose the right plants for the right place and work with what you’ve got to have a fully biodiverse and beautiful garden. Here's how you can test your garden soil to find out. 

1. Get a testing kit

Many diffe...

Plants for shady gardens

Shady gardens are sometimes seen as a problem, but this doesn’t have to be true. Shady gardens can be just as beautiful as those blessed with sunshine. The emphasis is all on foliage shapes, textures, and the subtle colours of shade-loving plants in the shade. With the right plants, you can turn a shady garden into a cool, tranquil haven to relax in. 

Perennials for shade

Perennials add colour to shady spots through both flowers and leaves. Here are some ...

Houseplant of the month: The autograph plant

Clusia rosea is called the autograph plant because its leaves are so thick and tough that it’s possible to carve your name in them without harming the plant, although this isn’t recommended as good plant care! The big, glossy green leaves give this attractive houseplant a stylish air that goes well with clean lines and contemporary décor. Clusia rosea does very occasionally flower in hot summers, producing pink or white flowers, but it’s the foliage that’s the main attraction...


Opening hours

  • Monday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Friday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday
    09:00 - 17:00
  • Sunday
    10:30 - 16:30
Show all opening hours