Is it too late to plant seedlings?

Ex-seedling-ly simple tips for gardeners

by Caroline Whiteman, Community Gardener

seedlings in pots at eventSome gardeners always give the impression they are on top of the planting and planning that goes into productive growing. Their seedlings look strong and healthy while others haven’t even sown the first seed.

Spring can easily run away from the aspiring grower so quickly it can seem in the blink of an eye the window of opportunity has been missed. Fear not tardy seed sowers, nature is a forgiving friend. Even in the years when the weather acts out there are still ways to ensure some great yields on your plot.

Some old timers reckon that the late sown seeds usually catch up with those sown earlier in the year. It’s not too late to get your spuds, beetroot, sweetcorn, beans (dwarf and runners), brassicas (cabbage, kale, Purple sprouting broc), chard, rocket, peas, radishes and carrots in. And that’s just for starters. Be prepared to play a bit fast and loose with the recommended seed sowing times on packet, a bit of risk-taking can pay off if you’re prepared to accept that not everything will germinate.

For those plants that need the longest possible growing season; think tomatoes, peppers, chillies and aubergines, there is the option of buying or swapping young plants at seedling swaps and sales. Do remember newly transplanted seedlings do need a bit of extra care, regular watering and protection from late frosts will give the best results.

Brighton is blessed with a plethora of informal growing groups and friendly allotmenteers so these ‘seedlings needing homes’ aren’t so hard to come by. Every year there seem to be surplus of tomato seedlings around and yet somehow the urge to sow more the following year wins out. Seek out other growers and you’ll be sure to find spare plants. You may even discover your new favourite variety.

Some useful dates for your diary ..

BHOGG Seedling sale at the Open Market

Sat 14 May 11-4pm

If swaps aren’t an option keep your eyes open in your local grocers and farmers’ markets as seedlings often appear here. Alternatively you can buy plug plants/seedlings directly from;


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