Sowing and Transplanting


Fill a pot with compost and firm it gently. You can use seed trays, cells, or any other suitable container you have handy. Stand it in water until the surface is damp.

Sow the seeds thinly and press them against the damp compost. If they're small, don't cover them, otherwise cover them with a thin layer of compost.

Label them and put them in the appropriate place to germinate - outside in autumn or winter if they need stratification, outside in spring or summer, or in a propagator.

Nick seeds with hard or impervious seedcoats, just enough to allow water to get in. Try not to damage the seedleaves inside the seedcoat.

Large seeds can be sown singly in their own pot, to give them room to develop a good root system before they need to be disturbed.

A Propagator - a seedtray with a lid - is useful for delicate seedlings. One with heat from underneath is useful for seeds of tropical plants.


Prepare a pot of compost by making a hole or dent in the compost big enough for the roots of the seedling. You can use a dibber, a pencil, or your finger.

Take the pot of seedlings that you want to transplant - those that don't like their roots to be disturbed (like Poppies) take transplanting better when they're small.

Lever out a small batch of seedlings with a narrow flat blade - I use an old screwdriver or small fork - and carefully separate the individual plants.

Seedlings from seeds germinated between paper towels (the Deno method) will already be separate. Just pot them up as each one is ready. Always hold seedlings by their leaves, not by the stem.

Drop each seedling into the prepared hole, and then push the compost around the stem to hold it in place firmly. Water by standing the pot in water until the surface is damp.

Cells - trays with separate compartments like joined pots - are useful for small plants or for keeping seedlings of the same type together until they're ready to go into the garden.

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