A place for everything
Just as in your home, your potting shed or potting area needs a good measure of order. That way, you have everything you need to hand. You’ll need a stable surface to do your sowing. A good supply of pots and compost. And several shelves that allow you to see what’s starting to germinate and what needs a bit more nurturing. If you need to make your own basic shelves, a couple of scaffolding planks supported on old terracotta pots or bricks will do the job nicely.
What to grow?
A trip to a local National Trust garden – or a smaller one that opens its gates as part of the National Garden Scheme – can provide some great ideas. Whether you fall for dahlias, zinnias, sweet peas or asters, if you’ve spotted them flourishing nearby, there’s a better chance they will grow well in your garden too.
Sowing the seeds
Expert gardeners like to plant seeds in rows of three-inch square plastic pots. Admittedly, they aren’t as pretty as round pots, but rows of square ones in a tray mean less gaps for sneaky snails to lurk. Now simply follow the directions on your seed packet until you spot the very first green shoots peeping through.
After that, it’s all about gentle watering, ample sunlight and checking their progress. Too little light or water can produce ‘leggy’ seedlings – too long, spindly and weak to survive.