Vegetable Seeds Growing Guide

Artichokes - (Globe)    

Veg Seedlings

We must admit that for the space globe artichokes take up they are hardy high yielder’s, but their architectural quality makes them virtually dual purpose, so why not grow them in the herbaceous border? Beautiful and delicious!

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F), and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings individually to 8cm (3in) pots of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 90cm (36in) apart from late spring onwards.

Sowing Outdoors

Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover them with a little soil. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established, then thin to 2cm (1in) apart.

Transplanting
When the seedlings are growing strongly, transplant them to their cropping positions from mid to late summer, allowing 90cm (36in) each way between plants.

Special Notes / Harvest
Do not allow flower heads to form during the first year. Remove these as soon as noticed.

Pick the heads, and use the scales while they are still young and fleshy.

Aubergines   

Try this exotic looking vegetable – grow like tomatoes in patio pots close to the house. A definite sun lover, the fruits are both ornamental and tasty. Superb quality fruits will be freely produced from mid summer.

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 18-25C (65-75F), and keep moist.

Growing On / Thinning
Keep seedlings in a light position, but shade from bright sun. When large enough to handle, transplant 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost or singly into small pots. Grow on in a minimum temperature of 15C (60F).

Hardening off / Planting out
Plant into growing bags, large pots or the greenhouse border when the first flowers have opened.

Aftercare
Water regularly and feed with liquid fertiliser as fruits begin to swell.

Beetroot    

Beetroot is a quick and easy crop to grow maturing in as little as ten weeks. It stores well over winter too. Harvest from the tender baby beet stage or grow on to maturity. They are perfect for adding to salads or serving as a vegetable boiled or roasted.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly, about 2cm (1in) apart in pre-watered shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Allow about 30cm (12in) between rows. As seedlings develop, thin them to about 10cm (4in) apart. Keep soil moist at all times to prevent roots becoming dry and woody.

Special Notes / Harvest
Twist the tops off the roots rather than cut them. This prevents bleeding.

To produce baby beets, thin seedlings to just 5cm (2in) apart and pull them when they are about the size of a golf ball.

Broad Beans    

Everyone can grow broad beans. They produce a huge crop, are not fussy about soil, are one of the first bean crops to be sown and in some areas they can be sown in autumn for an even earlier crop.

Sowing Indoors

From February to May, seeds can also be sown individually 2.5cm (1in) deep, in 8cm (3in) pots of seed compost. After sowing, place pots in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Keep moist but not saturated. Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions before setting them out from April onwards to their cropping positions at the spacings given above. This often gives an earlier crop than outdoor sowings.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow individual seeds 5cm (2in) deep and 10cm (4in) apart. Broad beans are usually sown in double rows about 25cm (10in) apart. Allow 60cm (24in) between each set of double rows.

Aftercare
To deter blackfly (sometimes a problem on broad beans) pinch out the growing tips of the plants when they are in full flower.

Special Notes / Harvest
Pick them as young as possible for the very best flavour. When very young, they can be cooked and eaten in their pods. Broad beans are delicious cooked, cooled and used in salads too.

Broccoli & Calabrese Seeds  
  

Broccoli takes some beating and comes at a welcome time of year. Simply steam or lightly boil the spears for a delicious treat. Most children who do not like greens enjoy broccoli.

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F), and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings 5cm (2in) apart to trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 45cm (18in) apart from late spring onwards. Water plants generously in dry weather.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover them with a little soil. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 45cm (18in) each way between plants. Firm in, and keep well watered in dry spells.

Special Notes / Harvest
Cut shoots when they are about 15cm (6in) long.

Brussels Sprouts    

When picked straight from the garden sprouts are delicious. They stay fresh on the stem for weeks so you can harvest a few just as you need them. The leafy tops are great too and can be used like cabbage.

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 60cm (24in) apart during summer.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover seeds with a little soil. Keep soil most until seedlings are established.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 60cm (24in) each way between plants. Firm them in, and keep them well watered in dry spells.

Cabbages    

Cabbages require very little attention, making them one of the easiest crops to grow. There are varieties to grow throughout the year and they are especially invaluable during winter when fresh vegetables are hard to find.

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 45cm (18in) apart from late spring onwards.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seed thinly in pre-watered shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Keep soil moist at all times. As seedlings develop, thin them to about 2cm (1in) apart.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 45cm (18in) each way between plants. Firm them in, and keep them well watered in dry spells.

Carrots    

No vegetable garden is complete without a row of carrots. With successive sowings there are varieties to crop from early June to October.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seed thinly in pre-watered shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Allow about 25cm (10in) between rows. As seedlings develop, thin them initially to about 2cm (1in) apart. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Special Notes / Harvest
Carrots grow best in light soil which has been well dug incorporating lots of well-rotted organic matter and is a crumbly texture. If compost or manure is too fresh carrots will grow misshapen or forked. To avoid the dreaded carrot root fly, thin out seedlings in the evening, flies are attracted by the smell of the bruised thinnings but do not fly at night.

A simple idea is to insert canes at four corners around your row, wind cling-film around the canes forming a low cage about 8-10 inches high around your carrots, making sure the bottom is in direct contact or tucked into the soil. Carrot Root Fly flies low to the ground and the film will form a barrier it cannot cross, but allows light and air to get to your precious seedlings!

Harvest from when they are as big as your little finger. By pulling alternate roots you will thin the crop and can allow the rest to grow to full size.

Cauliflower    

There is such a good choice of cauliflowers for summer, autumn and winter cropping - so we need never be without our favourite vegetable!

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost.

Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 45cm (18in) apart from late spring onwards.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover them with a little soil and keep moist until seedlings are established, then thin to 2cm (1in) apart.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 40cm (16in) each way between plants. Firm them in, and keep them well watered in dry spells.

Special Notes / Harvest
Cauliflowers prefer a sunny site and soil that is well consolidated, so try to prepare your plot in early autumn by digging in plenty of organic matter, compost or well-rotted manure. It will then have couple of months to settle. If you have acid soil, lime the growing area in winter. In spring apply a top-dressing of Organic Extra and rake the surface very lightly.

Celeriac    

If you like celery you should enjoy celeriac, it has a slightly nutty, celery flavour. It is very versatile and can be used in a number of ways – grated to add raw to winter salads. Steam or boil and puree with butter, or roast with potatoes and squash.

Sowing Indoors
Sow in February or March in modules to avoid root disturbance. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out in May or June. Allow 30-35cm (12-15in) between plants and 40cm (18in) between rows.

Aftercare
Keep well watered in dry spells. As celeriac grows it is important to pull off any side shoots to expose the crown, this will encourage bigger roots. Celeriac does best under moist conditions so keep plants well watered at all times. In late September draw soil around the swollen stem base to keep the flesh white.

Special Notes / Harvest
Harvest from mid-autumn to early spring. Celeriac can be left in the ground over winter in light soils, to harvest when required but in heavy ground or soil prone to water-logging, harvest in late autumn/early winter and store in a cool, dry place.

Celery    

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out in May or June. Allow 25cm (10in) between plants in a block formation to encourage blanching of the stems.

Aftercare
Keep well watered in dry spells. Celery does best under moist conditions.

Chard    

If you have never grown Swiss Chard, have a go because it's so tasty. If you have, you are sure to appreciate the spinach-like leaves and the 'chards' (stems) lightly boiled or steamed.

Sowing Outdoors
Prepare ground for sowing by raking to produce an even surface. Sow thinly in pre-watered rows about 2cm (1in) deep. Allow 30cm (12in) between rows. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Growing On / Thinning
When seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them to about 15cm (6in) apart.

Special Notes / Harvest
If plants survive the winter, they may produce a further crop the following spring.

Chicory   

Luxury blanched leaves in winter, and much easier than you would imagine. Perfect for winter salads, stir fries or braised with a little butter or olive oil.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds in May/June ½in deep. Cover with soil and keep moist until seedlings are established, then thin to 15cm (6in) apart.

Growing On / Thinning
Apollo chicory is ideal for forcing in winter for tender, blanched heads. Lift plants in October/November and remove all the leaves 1in above the crown. Set five roots upright into an 8in pot and pack round with soil or sand. Force in darkness at about 55º (a dark cupboard is ideal). They will be ready in about 3-4 weeks.

Special Notes / Harvest
Alternatively, place a bucket over the top of the pot to block out light and put in a frost free place, such as a garage or shed. This will take a bit longer than if forced in warmth but in several weeks, tender white chicons will have formed. These can be cut off at the base and the process repeated until spring. After this, remove the bucket and allow plants to grow as normal.

Courgette   

Sowing Indoors
Sow seeds individually on their edge in small pots of moist seed compost 2cm (1in) deep. Place in warmth 15-18C (60-65F). As seedlings develop, grow on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun.

Sowing Outdoors
Water sowing positions, then sow two or three seeds close together in a group 2cm (1in) deep. Allow 90cm (36in) between groups. After germination, leave only the strongest seedling in each group.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions when danger of frost has passed. Allow 90cm (36in) between plants.

Aftercare
Water freely and frequently, especially during dry spells.

Special Notes / Harvest

Cut fruits when about 10-15cm (4-6in) long. Regular harvesting prolongs the cropping season. Larger fruits can be left to grow and used as marrows.

Cucumber    

Sowing Indoors
Sow seeds individually on their edge in small pots of moist seed compost 1cm (1/2in) deep. Place in warmth 20-25-18C (70-75F). As seedlings develop, grow on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun.

Planting in a greenhouse - when plants are well established, plant into growing bags, pots or the greenhouse border. Train plants up canes, strings or wires.

Aftercare
Keep plants well watered at all times. Regular feeds with a liquid fertiliser are beneficial. Male flowers (those without a swelling behind them) may occasionally be produced. Remove these as soon as they are noticed.

Fennel    

The swollen leaf bases of "bulbs" are delicious chopped raw in salads or braised and served with fish or meat. They have a texture similar to celery and taste reminiscent of aniseed. The attractive ferny foliage is also edible and is a great garnish.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a pre-watered shallow row, lightly covering with a little soil. Keep soil moist, as dry conditions impair germination. Allow 30cm between rows.

Growing On / Thinning

Thin seedlings to about 20cm apart when large enough to handle. Ensure remaining seedlings are still firm in the soil

Aftercare
Water plants generously in dry weather

French Beans - Climbing    

Sowing Indoors
Sow individual seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep in 8cm (3in) pots of seed and potting compost. Keep pots in a frost free greenhouse. Ensure the compost remains moist at all times, but not saturated. Gradually accustom the young plants to outside conditions for 2 - 3 weeks before planting them out to their cropping positions from late May onwards, when the danger of frost has passed. Ensure supports are in place before planting out. Allow 20cm (8in) between plants in the row.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow two seeds close together at intervals of 20cm (8in). French bean seed is sensitive to cold, wet soils and will not germinate in unfavourable conditions. We therefore recommend you do not sow seed outdoors before May. Climbing beans require support and it is best to have this in place before you sow.

Support
As the beans climb, they will need support. A frame of canes and strong netting is ideal, or the beans can be grown up wigwams of sticks or canes, where they become a decorative feature in the garden. Ensure any structure is at least 180cm (6ft) high. Plants will climb and twine naturally as they grow.

Aftercare
Climbing beans require plenty of water to produce a good crop. Water generously in dry spells. When plants are in full flower, an occasional mid-day spraying with a fine hose encourages flower set and bean production. Climbing beans are generally disease and trouble free. They thrive in a sunny position which is not exposed to cold winds.

Special Notes / Harvest
Pick the beans when they are young and tender. This encourages plants to remain productive longer.
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French Beans - Dwarf    

Sowing Indoors
Sow individual seeds in 8cm (3in) pots of seed and potting compost. Keep the pots in a frost free greenhouse. Ensure the compost remains moist at all times, but not saturated.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow individual seeds 5cm (2in) deep and 8cm (3in) apart. French beans are usually sown in double rows with 30cm (12in) between each row. Each row then supports the other. They will require no further support. French bean seed is sensitive to cold, wet soils and will not germinate in unfavourable conditions. We therefore recommend you do not sow seed outdoors before May.

Aftercare
French beans require plenty of water to produce a good crop. Water generously in dry spells. They are generally disease and trouble free.

Special Notes / Harvest
Pick beans when they are young and tender. This encourages plants to remain productive longer.

French beans freeze well. Simply slice, blanch them in boiling water for a minute or two, drain, allow to cool, then bag them for the freezer.
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Herbs

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seed thinly in pre-watered shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Allow about 30cm (12in) between rows. Thin seedlings to about 20cm (8in) apart when large enough to handle. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Growing On / Thinning
Keep seedlings in a light position, but shade from bright sun. When large enough to handle, transplant to 8cm (3in) pots, allowing 3 or 4 seedlings per pot.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out when danger of frost has passed. Allow 30cm (12in) between each group of plants.

Special Notes / Harvest

Alternatively, sow a few seeds per 8cm (3in) pot of seed compost. Cover with a little more compost, keep moist and place pots on a warm windowsill. Harvest leaves as required.

Kale    

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 45cm (18in) apart during summer.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover with a little soil. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 45cm (18in) each way between plants. Firm them in, and keep them well watered in dry spells.

Kohl Rabi    

The bulbous stems may look strange, but just taste them and you will know why they are so popular in much of Europe. Prepare and cook like turnips.

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 20cm (8in) apart from late spring onwards.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow, short, pre-watered row. Lightly cover with a little soil. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established, then thin to 2cm (1in) apart.

Transplanting
When the seedlings have produced about four true leaves, transplant them to their cropping positions, allowing about 20cm (8in) between plants and 30cm (12in) between rows.

Special Notes / Harvest

Pick when no larger than a tennis ball.

Leeks    

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in pre-watered, short, shallow rows, lightly covering the seeds with soil. Keep soil moist at all times.

Hardening off / Planting out
Plant out from May onwards when plants are about 15cm / 6in tall. Make holes about 15cm / 6in deep with a dibber. Drop a plant into each hole and just water in - there is no need to back fill with soil. Allow 20cm / 8in between plants and 45cm / 18in between rows.

Aftercare
To produce a long, white shaft, draw up soil around plants as they develop.

Lettuce    

Sowing Indoors

Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 25cm (10in) apart from late spring onwards. Water plants generously in dry weather.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a pre-watered shallow row, lightly covering with a little soil. Keep soil moist as dry conditions impair germination. Remember small sowings made every three weeks through the summer should ensure a continuous supply of delicious lettuces. Allow 30cm (12in) between rows.

Growing On / Thinning
Thin seedlings to about 25cm (10in) apart when large enough to handle.

Aftercare

Water plants generously in dry weather.

Marrow    

Sowing Indoors

Sow seeds individually on edge in small pots of moist seed compost 2cm (1in) deep. Place in warmth 15-18C (60-65F). As seedlings develop, grow on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun.

Sowing Outdoors

Water sowing positions, then sow two or three seeds close together in a group 2cm (1in) deep. Allow 90cm (36in) between groups. After germination, leave only the strongest seedling in each group.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions when danger of frost has passed. Allow about 90cm (36in) between plants.

Aftercare
Water freely and frequently, especially during dry spells.

Melon  

Sowing 
Sow seed in mid or late April - sow a few extra pots in case of failure. Cover pots with glass and keep at a minimum of 65F. Remove the glass after germination - maintain a minimum night temperature of 60F. The seedlings are ready for planting out when there are 3-4 true leaves. 

Cold Frame Planting

Prepare the soil in April. Dig half bucketful of well-rotted manure or compost into the soil at the center of the frame. Water if necessary - close the light. harden off seedlings and plant out in late May. Close the lights after planting - cover surface for 7-14 days if sun is bright.

Greenhouse Planting

You can plant into manure-enriched border soil or in compost-filled 10in pots, but growing bag cultivation has become the most popular method. Put the bags in position at least 1 week before planting. Always plant at the side of the house and create a support system before planting. Train plants up canes, strings or wires.

Aftercare
Keep plants well watered at all times. Regular feeds with a liquid fertiliser are beneficial. Do not remove male flowers (those without a fruit behind them) as these are necessary for pollination of the female flowers.

Harvesting

Do not harvest Melons until they are fully ripe. There are several indications - the end away from the stalk will give slightly if gently pressed and the end towards the stalk will start to develop a circular crack. Netted and cantaloupe types develop a characteristic aroma and the fruit when lifted parts readily from the stalk. Do not keep for more than a few days in the refrigerator. 

Parsnip    

Sowing 
Sow seed fairly thickly in pre-watered, shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Allow about 40cm (16in) between rows. Delay early sowings if soil is very wet or cold; later sowings will make up any lost time. As seedlings develop, thin them gradually, eventually to about 15cm (6in) apart. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.  ALWAYS BUY PARSNIP SEED FRESH EACH YEAR, AS IT DOES NOT STORE WELL ONCE THE FOIL SACHET HAS BEEN OPENED.

Soil Facts & Looking after the crop
If you want to grow long and tapering parsnips you will need a deep, friable and stone-free soil which has been well-manured for a previous crop. Any reasonable soil in sun or light shade will grow a good crop on one of the shorter varieties. Dig deeply in autumn or early winter and refrain from adding any fresh manure or compost. Lime if necessary, Break down clods and rake in fertiliser when preparing the seed bed. Parsnips seldom produce satisfactory roots after transplanting, so throw thinnings away. Hoe regularly to keep down weeds. Tare care- never touch the crowns of the developing plants. The crop requires very little attention and it is not usually attacked by pests. The soil should not be allowed to dry out, but it will be necessary to water when there is a prolonged dry spell.
 
Special Notes / Harvest
Roots can be left in the ground until required. The roots are ready for lifting when the foliage begins to die down in autumn. We believe their flavour improves after autumn frosts. Parsnips do best in well dug, stone free soils which have not been recently manured.

Peas    

Sowing Outdoors
Make a flat bottomed drill 15cm wide and water it well. Sow about ten seeds per 30cm, spacing them evenly in a zigzag manner. Cover with about 2cm of soil, and firm it down with the flat edge of a rake. Allow about 60cm (24in) between rows. As seedlings emerge, the shoots are very attractive to birds, but a few little twigs placed over the row will give some protection.

Support
As the peas start to grow, support them with netting or pea sticks.

Aftercare
Keep well watered, especially in dry spells.

Peppers    

Sowing Indoors

Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds evenly spaced over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 18-25C (65-75F), and keep moist.

Growing On / Thinning
Keep seedlings in a light position, but shade from bright sun. When large enough to handle, transplant 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost or singly into small pots. Grow on in a minimum temperature of 15C (60F).

Hardening off / Planting out
Plant into growing bags or the greenhouse border when the first flowers have opened.

Aftercare
Water regularly and feed with liquid fertiliser as fruits begin to swell.

Special Notes / Harvest
Peppers freeze well. Simply de-seed, cut into strips or rings and freeze raw. Ideal for adding to casseroles and stews.

Pumpkin & Squash    

Sowing Indoors
Sow seeds individually on edge in small pots of moist seed compost 2cm (1in) deep. Place in warmth 15-18C (60-65F) and cover the pots with cling film until seedlings emerge. Grow on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun.

Sowing Outdoors

Water sowing positions, then sow two or three seeds close together in a group 2cm (1in) deep. Allow 90cm (36in) between groups. After germination, leave only the strongest seedling in each group.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions when danger of frost has passed. Allow about 90cm (36in) between plants.

Aftercare
Pumpkins are thirsty and hungry plants. Water freely and frequently, especially during dry spells. Once fruit starts to swell, feed plants regularly with a liquid fertiliser.

Radish    

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a pre-watered shallow row, and lightly cover seeds with a little soil. Keep soil moist, as dry conditions impair germination. Remember small sowings made every three weeks through the summer should ensure a continuous supply.

Aftercare
Water plants generously in dry weather.

Special Notes / Harvest

Pick roots while small and young.

Rocket    

Sowing Outdoors

Sow seeds thinly in a pre-watered shallow row, and lightly cover seeds with a little soil. Keep soil moist, as dry conditions impair germination. Remember small sowings made every three weeks through the summer should ensure a continuous supply.

Growing On / Thinning
Thin seedlings to about 10cm (4in) apart when large enough to handle. Ensure remaining seedlings are still firm in the soil.

Aftercare
Water plants generously in dry weather.

Special Notes / Harvest

Pick leaves as required. Can be grown under fleece to protect from flea beetle.

Runner Beans    

Sowing Indoors

Sow individual seeds 2.5cm (1in) deep in 8cm (3in) pots of seed and potting compost. Keep pots in a frost free greenhouse. Ensure the compost remains moist at all times, but not saturated. Gradually accustom the young plants to outside conditions for 2 - 3 weeks before planting them out to their cropping positions form late May onwards, when the danger of frost has passed. Ensure supports are in place before planting out. Allow 20-30cm (8-12in) between plants in the row, and allow 60cm (24in) between rows.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow two seeds close together 5cm (2in) deep, at intervals of 20cm (8in). Runner bean seed is sensitive to cold, wet soils and will not germinate in unfavourable conditions. We therefore recommend you do not sow seed outdoors before May. Runner beans require support (see below) and it is best to have this in place before you sow.

Support
As runner beans climb, they will need support. A frame of canes and strong netting is ideal, or the beans can be grown up wigwams of sticks or canes, where they become a decorative feature in the garden. Ensure any structure is at least 180cm (6ft) high. Plants will climb and twine naturally as they grow.

Aftercare
Runner beans require plenty of water to produce a good crop. Water generously in dry spells. When plants are in full flower, an occasional mid-day spraying with a fine hose encourages flower set and bean production. Runner beans are generally disease and trouble free. They thrive in a sunny position which is not exposed to cold winds.

Special Notes / Harvest

Pick beans when they are young and tender. This encourages plants to remain productive longer.

Runner beans freeze well. Simply slice, blanch them in boiling water for a minute or two, drain, allow to cool, then bag them for the freezer.

Salads Leaves    

Sowing Indoors
Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 10-15C (50-60F) and keep moist. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings 5cm (2in) apart into trays of potting compost. Gradually accustom them to conditions outside for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions 25cm (10in) apart from late spring onwards.

Sowing Outdoors

Sow seeds thinly in pre-watered shallow rows, and cover with a little soil. Keep soil moist as dry conditions impair germination. Small sowings made every three weeks ensure a continuous supply.

Growing On / Thinning
Thin seedlings to about 25cm (10in) apart when large enough to handle. Ensure remaining seedlings are still firm in the soil.

Aftercare
Water plants generously in dry weather.

Spinach    

This high yielding and delicious leaf vegetable can be sown to crop in either summer or winter, so is particularly useful. The leaves are delicious steamed or picked when young to use in salads.

Sowing Outdoors
Prepare ground for sowing by raking to produce an even surface. Sow thinly in pre-watered rows about 2cm (1in) deep. Allow 30cm (12in) between rows. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Growing On / Thinning

When seedlings are large enough to handle thin them to about 15cm (6in) apart. No need to thin seedlings if required as baby leaves.

Swede    

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in pre-watered shallow rows, and lightly cover with a little soil. Allow about 40cm (16in) between rows. As seedlings develop, gradually thin them until they are about 15cm (6in) apart. Keep soil moist until seedlings are established.

Special Notes / Harvest
Swedes are hardy, and will withstand frost. Lift as required or all together for storage in dry sand or peat till needed. Swedes do best in well dug soils which have not been recently manured. Best results are usually achieved from a May sowing.

Sweetcorn    

Sowing Indoors

Sow seeds individually in small pots of moist seed compost 1cm (1/2in) deep. Place in warmth 15-18C (60-65F). Grow on under cool, light conditions, but not in bright sun.

Sowing Outdoors

Water sowing positions, then sow two seeds 2cm (1in) deep at stations 45cm (18in) apart each way. Keep soil moist until seedlings are well established. When seedlings are around 8cm (3in) high, discard the weaker at each station and leave the stronger to develop. Do not transplant weaker seedlings - they do not thrive.

Hardening off / Planting out
Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions for 2-3 weeks before planting out to their cropping positions when danger of frost has passed. To ensure good pollination, plant in blocks, allowing 45cm (18in) each way between plants.

Tomatoes    

Sowing Indoors

Almost fill a seed tray with moist seed compost. Sow seeds thinly over the surface, and lightly cover them with a little more compost. Place in warmth 18-20C (65-70F), and keep moist.

Transplanting
Gradually accustom to outside conditions 2-3 weeks before planting out when danger of frost has passed. Allow 45cm (18in) between plants in the row and 60cm (24in) between rows.

Growing On / Thinning
Keep seedlings in a light position, but shade from bright sun. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings individually to small pots of potting compost, and maintain a minimum 15C (60F).

Aftercare
Water plants generously and regularly. When the first fruits start to swell, feed with a tomato fertiliser.

Special Notes / Harvest
Support the main stem of each plant with a bamboo cane. Remove side shoots as they appear. Remove the growing point of each plant once 4 or 5 trusses have formed.

Turnips    

Home grown turnips have much more to offer than supermarket varieties, they are best harvested when quite small and tasty.

Sowing Outdoors
Sow seeds thinly in a shallow pre-watered row. Lightly cover seeds with a little soil. Keep soil moist as dry conditions impair germination. Remember small sowings made every three weeks through the summer should ensure a continuous supply.

Aftercare

Thin plants to about 10cm (4in) apart to allow development. Water plants generously in dry weather.

Special Notes / Harvest
Pick roots while small and young.

Monthly Jobs for Vegetable Seeds Growing Guide

December

January

February

March

May