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Get to Know your Garden Intimately-Part Six Sowing Seeds and Transplantng

Updated on August 9, 2015

The many Packets of seeds available.


The secret of growing seeds

This series of gardening articles are aimed at the beginner and those that are unsure of what to do in certain types of soils or what to grow there. Or they are unsure of what to do about certain gardening requirements during the seasons. Therefore the text will be as simple as possible to understand. Here we look at sowing seeds and transplanting the resulting growth. Sowing from seed can produce a beautiful display of flowers { and indeed vegetables}which will have cost us the minimum amount of money to attain.

Sowing seeds sounds easy and straight forward, but there is much more to than meets the eye. It is true that some seeds for example poppy seed can be scattered on the soil and many of them will germinate. But these seeds are the exceptions and many other types of seeds need much more thought and care in order to germinate and then to grow successfully. Have you tried to sow seeds which have been unsuccessful ?, many of us have.

So why do seeds fail to grow ? lets examine some of the reasons in some more detail.For instance if seeds are sown to deep they will probably either rot in the damp,cold soil,without getting the light and warmth necessary for germination or they perish before the tender young shoots can reach for the sun and air. The soil in this respect,which was designed to give them life can in fact end up being their grave.

Seeds need warmth and moisture in varying degrees in order to germinate and one without the other will surely bring failure. Let us think now about clay soil { see part two in this series}. clay is often too cold at the time of sowing to help in any way with the germination process and as already mentioned many will rot in these conditions. {many seeds can,however, lay dormant for long periods of time and then may germinate when conditions suit them,this could be months or even years later and not what we want at this time}.

Conversely,seeds may be kept in a warm dry room in sand or soil,but they will not grow. They can be sown in rough,lumpy ground,a portion will be buried under the clods,and will never grow,and many that do germinate will not find a fit soil for their tender roots and will perish.A few may escape their difficulties and flourish. OK,the above mentioned, is basic common sense I agree, But there are other reasons for failure that are not so apparent.

Pansies grow well from seed


Seeds. What they do and do not require for germination

We are thinking of thinking of sowing seeds outdoors. Let us suppose our soil is well prepared,as fine as we can make it, and it is of that loamy sandy character that is best suited for small seeds. We will suppose too that the seeds were sown on the surface with a little soil/compost sifted over them,and our seeds were only sown when the warmth was appropriate to aid germination. Thus we have done everything right so far and if the weather is both warm and showery,very few will fail.

However,as is very common,when the time comes to sow seeds outdoors,there is a succession of cold rain storms, many of the tender kinds will perish. A night frost will ruin many more. On the other hand, if the weather should prove warm and dry, the surface will become very dry,and the seeds only having alight covering will be dried up and perish as soon as they germinate and before the young rots can grow to a sufficient size and strength to get down into the sol to seek out moisture and the nourishment they need. The finer and more delicate seeds will suffer the most in adverse weather conditions.

Germination Table


Germinating Zinnia shoots


How we over come weather conditions.

To overcome these problems there are many aids at our disposal. The more affluent gardener can purchase an heated propagator, wherein the temperature we require can be maintained For the rest of us a warm airing cuboard ,or a sunny window shelf is sufficient for the purpose. In this way a stable temperature can be maintained no matter what the weather is doing outside.

This of course gives us the advantage of having strong ,more established plants to put outside when the soil is warm enough to maintain their growth. Having the seeds on a sunny window ledge can,however, this may also present us with another problem,as care needs to be taken to prevent the scorching of seedlings and young plants,especially so on warm or hot days.

Seeds sown indoors can be sown in trays,{pans} ,pots or other suitable containers. The modern day gardener can now purchase tray with individual compartments which will stop root disturbance when transplanting. { see below}. The seeds and soil/compost can be covered by a piece of glass which will help to retain moisture removing it from time to time to let the air in.

If we are to sow outside the ground can be prepared of alight mellow soil in a sheltered situation in the garden. As soon as the weather becomes settled and the ground warm,sow the seeds covering them with a little fine earth and if the seeds are very small sift it upon them.

Plastic clotches {either home made or purchased ones} can be placed over them if the seeds are subjected to wet rainy conditions.

Light and air are required as soon as the seedlings appear above the ground, or they will become weak and pale. Indoors if they are in need of light and air they will become drawn and leggy. The seeds we have mentioned are tender or half hardy annuals {read the packet} which are planted out only when conditions are favourable and the danger of frost has past. Also the plants need to be well established before they face the heat of summer.

There are a few exceptions when the seeds need to be sown where the plants are to grow. Instructions will be on the packet. These are species that will not tolerate transplanting. In such cases only sow when the conditions are favourable,again this will be stated on the packet.

Germinating Sun Flower Seeds


A commercial seed bed of rice


Sweetpeas can readily be grown from seeds they make excellent fragrant cut flowers

Originally posted to Flickr uploaded to Commons by Raghith
Originally posted to Flickr uploaded to Commons by Raghith | Source


Once our seedlings have become established {having already been thinned out to attain maximum room for their development} they will need to be 'hardened off'. This means placing them outside during dry days and brought in again at night,or placed in a closed cold frame. This action continues for a week or so.

Once the plants have been hardened to the weather and the danger of frost is over,the plants can be transported to their beds and containers where they are to grow. If possible this should be done on a dull day,if not, they may need some shade from the heat of the sun.

When transplanting in hot weather {this is sometimes unavoidable} soak them in the tray or pot in which they are growing an hour or so before the operation is to be commenced. Also soak the ground where they are to grow at the same time.

When taking out the plants the roots must be disturbed as little as possible. { The containers with individual compartments for each plant mentioned above stops the roots from being damaged to much and also prevents disturbance of neighbouring plants}. Put the young plants into the ground gently but firmly and give them the room they need to grow and spread.

Seeds that have been sown directly into the ground and have germinated must also be thinned out for the same reason.

Once transplanted the young plants will need to be cared for until they show new growth. This generally means watering when needed and the weeds around them taken out as they compete for space and water with our young plants. This being done we just wait for the floral display that will surely follow. Of course you can buy ready grown established plants,however, these can be expensive,because your paying for someone's labours. When you have raised plants from seeds and you reap the rewards of your labour as you admire your flower beds and containers in full bloom it is much more satisfying,and we feel it has been worth that little more effort.

Good impressive displays can be a reward of sowing seeds


Enjoy your successes.

Originally  posted on Flickr uploaded to commons by Magnus Manske
Originally posted on Flickr uploaded to commons by Magnus Manske | Source

Do not dwell on any failures but enjoy the successes the more.

The best and most skilful gardeners will fail occasionally,and neither the seed or the gardener will be to blame. So do not see failures as being detrimental to your labour but enjoy the successes even more.

However, failure to a great extent is a sign that we have been guilty of mismanagement somewhere and we must resolve to find the cause,for we have gone wrong somewhere in respect of the sowing or transplanting.

It is very easy for us to blame the seeds as being 'bad'. But if we do this we not only loose the seeds but also the benefit of experience something that money can not buy.

Enjoy your gardening and your garden !

Enjoy being among the flowers

Originally posted to Flickr uploaded to Creative Commons by M2545 {talk}
Originally posted to Flickr uploaded to Creative Commons by M2545 {talk} | Source


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    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Hi Deb, yes sometimes a little basic knowledge can inspire you to carry on gardening for many years to come,it is something you never forget.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This took me back to the days when I was growing up, and we did all of this during the cold weather in Maine, transplanted the plants, and used the cold frames. That had given me the basics for the garden, and was truly time well spent. Thanks for the memories.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England


      Hi, your opening comments are very true,and thank you for your kind encouragement. Best wishes to you.


      Hi Mary, your very welcome and thank you too.for your kind words and all your votes.much appreciated. Best wishes to you.


      Hi, you are so right flowers cheer any location in any container. Thank you for your kind comments.Best wishes to you.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Nothing like spring blossoms to cheer up any space, even if in just a flower pot. Great hub, thanks for sharing this very informative article.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Another great hub on gardening. I remember growing flowers and tomatoes from seeds. I had little pots all over the place making sure they got enough sun. I remember, too, collecting the flower seeds at the end of the season so I could plant them for the next year.

      Thanks for the memories and good advice!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 3 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      In my opinion, growing your own plants from seed to transplant in the garden separates the beginner from the self-sufficient gardener. Good job writing this article.