One of my favourite garden tasks in late winter and early spring is starting to sow all the seeds I've bought in or saved from the nursery gardens. I spend time from late summer to the end of autumn collecting seeds from the nursery gardens. These are stored in paper bags, hanging from the ceiling, so they keep dry until I am ready to spend a day sorting them out in December. In 2020 David built me a pulley system to hang them all on, basically a washing line for seed bags!
|Collecting seeds from the nursery gardens, these are angelica seeds|
|Collecting Nasturtium seeds|
|Saved seeds hung up in the office to dry|
Sorting out all these seeds takes a day, so I get the heater on, some music or a podcast on my phone and work through them one bag at a time. Some seeds are really easy to sort from their seed cases, some almost do it themselves and some are much more difficult and involved. Some like poppy seed fall easily into the bottom of the bag and there is almost no work involved with them. Others like members of the daisy family need a bit more work to separate the seeds from the other parts of the flowers. Once I have removed the seeds from the seed cases they get put into a glassine bag with the plant name and date on the front. These then go in a box until I am ready to sow them in February and March. This year I have saved sixty different varieties of seed from the garden and five different varieties for selling to customers.
|Seeds sorted and ready for storing|
|In the first year we owned the nursery I had over|
400 packets of seeds to sow! The ones I inherited with
the nursery, my own and packets I bought.
Once we get into late February and March I will be sowing all my packets of seeds in trays and pots in the polytunnel. Perennials get sown in 1 litre pots and the annuals in plug trays. Some annuals will be sown direct into the ground in situ in May, once the soil warms up.
|Seeds coming on in the cold greenhouse|
Mice are a nightmare to anyone sowing seeds or growing bulbs in winter. I know they are hungry but my seeds are not bought as mouse food! I have in the past covered the pots in the greenhouse with wire mesh too small for them to get through.
A note about storing seeds until you are ready to sow them. Ideally use a dry, airtight container (plastic boxes are good) and then pop them in the fridge. This keeps them viable, stops them rotting (if too humid), an ideal temperature of 5 degrees Celsius is good, and many seeds will keep like this for years.
|Sowing seeds in the polytunnel|
|Seeds sown in the polytunnel|
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