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Planting from seed takes a lot more time and patience than starting with young seedlings or grown up plants, but all the care that you put in can reap great rewards./
The first thing to do is decide what you’d like to grow, but remember to think about the conditions provided by your space just like you would with other plants. As always, choosing a plant that likes the conditions you can provide will result in more success.
Each plant comes with its own growing requirements, so keep in mind that these are just general suggestions for getting started. Once you’ve decided on your seeds, you’ll need to sow them in a small pot or a seed tray. Fill it most of the way up with compost, place your seeds onto the soil, and cover with another sprinkling of compost.
You can often figure out how much space the seeds need by their size; small seeds can be scattered over the surface of the compost, but larger ones will need a couple of centimeters between them. If in doubt, the seed packet will guide you. Seeds need quite light compost to allow the delicate young sprouts to be able to push through, so look for a special seed compost for this.
Label your containers (you don’t want to forget what you’re growing!), water your seeds well and leave in a warm space. Some plants are happy on a sunny windowsill, but others like a warmer space, such as an airing cupboard or a makeshift greenhouse. You can create this with a tray and plastic lid, or alternatively just pop them in a closed ziplock bag.
Keep the soil moist and check your seeds daily so that you spot them breaking through the soil. Once seedlings start to grow you can remove them from their mini-greenhouse or cupboard, if they’re in one. Make sure they now get some sunlight and the soil is still kept moist.
At first your seedlings will produce a little set of leaves, but don’t move them until the first ‘true leaves’ appear. These are the ones that grow after the very first set, and they’ll usually be a bit bigger.
When you see these true leaves you can move the seedlings into their own pots. If you’ve got all of the kit then you might have a dibber to do this with, but otherwise a pencil works just fine.
Hold the plant gently by a leaf, and use the pencil to dig into the soil and loosen the roots. It’s ok if a leaf gets damaged, but bruising the stem could kill the plant. Once you’ve freed the roots you can replant in a separate pot. Water the seedling well, and start using a liquid dose of fertiliser every couple of weeks to make sure it’s getting all the nutrients it needs to grow.
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