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Caring for Seedlings

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Broad bean seedlings

There are many plants which are easy to grow from seed and the three in these images, Broad bean, Sweet Pea,  Courgettes and cucumbers are all easy to germinate and grow.

At this time of year, whilst it is still cold with occasional frosts, the seedlings need frost protection either a conservatory, greenhouse or under glass.

Broad beans, and all the bean family, have large seeds which are easy to sow and quick to germinate. Late in May all beans can be sown direct into the veg plot, but at this stage indoors is best. Beans are best in root trainers to accommodate their long roots and need no more than regular turning to prevent uneven growth as they pull towards the light, and watering. In this tray of Broad beans there are old seeds from previous year, saved seed from last years plants and new seed purchased 2015 and miraculously all have germinated. All beans are easy to grow; tips on planting and getting a successful crop.

Sweet peas are quick to germinate, they have small but easy to manage round seeds. Many guides advise soaking seed overnight and to nick it to aid germination. I haven't ever done either and have had very good germination year after year. One important step once the seedlings are established is to pinch out the top grow and if you look at the image there is no growing point. I have pinched it back which makes the plant produce more shoots,  as you don't really want just one long sweet pea but for it to produce many stems. Sweet peas are a bit fussy but very rewarding;  lots of growing tips including how to get those lovely straight stems.


Courgette and cucumbers have large and very similar seeds which when they first germinate look very similar. They are of course from the same family and I  have labelled them to ensure they don't get mixed up. I always think I will remember what I have seeded and the variety, but I don't, labelling is better than memory. Both courgettes and cucumbers are more tender and amongst the last veg to be planted out. It is best to delay until the weather has warmed up. The cucumber is an indoor variety and will be grown on in the greenhouse; home grown cucumbers really do taste best and they are easy to grow.

All seedlings need careful watering to make sure they do not dry out and regular turning to keep them growing straight and avoid the seedling being leggy. In the event a seedling is leggy, one tip when re potting is to plant it deeper burying some of the leggy stem in the pot.


Sweet pea seedlings
cucumber and cougette seedlings


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