03 July 2020 By Kitty Yarrow
Growing and Sowing Under Glass With Sarah Wain
Sarah Wain, joined us for a live interactive webinar where she discussed sowing and growing under glass, answering some burning questions from attendees.
During her time at West Dean, Sarah has gained an incredible amount of knowledge from sowing and propagating to cleaning your growing tools.
Learn more about how you can build your growing repertoire and your skills as a gardener.
There was a false sense of security this year with the very warm period we experienced after winter. Sarah used to wait until the week of RHS Chelsea Flower Show before sowing cucurbits outside and the earliest she would sow indoors would be the end of April.
Even so, if the weather that follows Chelsea turns windier and cold, the plants might not thrive – so be guided by the prevailing weather and plant out when it’s calm and warm in a sunny position.
Sarah suggests using a barn cloche over newly planted cucurbits to keep the rain and wind off until they are established. If your seeds failed to germinate check some of these crucial points:
⦁ Was it an old seed?
⦁ Did you sow the seed on its narrow edge in fresh seed raising compost?
⦁ Might you have over watered?
⦁ Was the seed set to germinate in a warm place? As constant warmth is key for germination
Growing successful oriental salad crops is all about the sufficient available moisture for their root systems. In order to thrive, they need free draining soil with compost added regularly to build up the soil structure.
Water well and thoroughly, actively looking for moisture in the compost to know when to water is also advisable. These crops do well from autumn and spring sowings but tend to rush up to seed when the days are long and warm.
Chillies need a warm environment to germinate and thrive, if possible Sarah suggests using a heated propagated bench which will give them a good start.
Once sown, cover the seedlings with vermiculite, this is preferable to soil as vermiculite allows for new seedlings to appear easily without damage. Vermiculite is readily available from garden centres.
As a general rule Sarah suggests yielding from a particular crop for about 3 years then buying completely fresh seeds to get the most out of your chillies.