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To sow or to buy… that is the question!

In addition to the traditional method of sowing seeds, garden centres, DIY stores and even supermarkets are now providing more options for people looking to grow their own vegetables from young plants, but I’m not sure how I feel about this. In one respect I’m excited about the movement, and think that it’s a great step forward; mainly because it introduces vegetable growing to a wider audience and it takes away the scary ‘unknown science’ of germination. Now you and I know that with most veg, seed sowing does not have to be any more scientific than making a line in the soil with a stick and throwing in a few seeds. Cover them over, slosh on some water and hey presto, as if by magic they germinate (it’s no surprise really as that’s what they were designed to do!).

Planting young vegetable plants is also very easy. There’s no thinning out of the seedlings if you over sow, it’s much less time consuming (the whole veg plot could, in theory, be planted up in one go) and it’s great for children (and impatient adults) who like an ‘instant impact’. It also removes the need to spend ages choosing from the bewildering array of varieties on offer, as normally there’s just one type available (although seasoned gardeners will see this as a major disadvantage!).

There are other downsides too, and I think the main one has to be the fact that you don’t get the thrill and satisfaction of that special day when you go outside and observe the seedlings poking through the soil. Having checked daily since the week after you sowed them (as I do!), you get a real sense of achievement when the fresh new leaves emerge from the crusty seed coat. The other major downside is cost, and some young plants do actually work out more expensive than buying the end product from the supermarket, but I guess there’s not much fun in that.

Either way, I don’t think it really matters. Whether you’re a time starved parent or have several hours to spare sowing neat rows, there’s nothing quite like eating home grown peas, popping them fresh from the pod.

Other jobs to be getting on with this month:

  • Keep on top of weeding – hoeing on a warm dry day is the best method
  • Make regular sowing of vegetables such as beetroot, lettuce, carrots and peas
  •  Build a cane wigwam and sow runner beans at the base, 2 beans per 8 foot cane
  • Harden off tender perennials such as Fuchsias, Pelargoniums (Geraniums) and Buzzy Lizzies
  • Divide Primulas after flowering

Until next time, happy gardening!