Sowing seeds – 5 questions to ask before you buy

It is still winter here, although the snow has melted day time temperatures  are just above freezing so I’m relying on the seed catalogues and trips to garden nurseries to fuel my desires for trying my hand at seed sowing.

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The juicy photos of ripe vegetables and beautiful blooms is all so enticing, stunningly illustrated seed packets perhaps more alluring (dare I say) than the contents and before I know it I either have a home full of seeds with very little space for growing  them all and overwhelmed by the sheer variety and staggering amount of different shapes, sizes, properties and requirements…..so I resorted to my trusted fail safe a list!

A list of questions to help narrow down the bewildering choices.

  1. How much space do you have?  Flowers, veg or herbs do you have an allotment size plot or like me a small raised bed for vegetables and although I don´t mind mixing and matching some fruit bushes in amongst the flowers the rest will be grown in pots on our terrace.
  2. What do you love?  Everybody has their likes and dislikes from the marmite of the vegetables world, brussel sprouts, which I love but is it worth taking up a corner in my plot for something that we seldom eat or better to plant a couple of varieties of kale because we can eat mountains of the stuff?
  3. How much time do you have?  I love to potter so for me spending a few hours outside watering, weeding and hopefully picking runner beans and sweet peas will be a time for me and the kids to enjoy the summer.  If enjoy lightening a barbeque at the weekend why not grow a few herbs to throw on the flames or season the food and some salad leaves to jazz up your burgers.
  4. What is your budget? I gave myself a rough budget otherwise I will succumb to the “oh but this is good too”  and “isn`t this pretty”  I am like a kid in a toy shop, walking in for just a look and returning later with a boot full of plants, pots and another bird feeder because you can never have too many right?
  5. How much would you spend on buying the same produce from the supermarket,  florist or market?  If you adore cut lilies and want to fill your home and garden with their scent or must have fresh coriander in every meal then these are the things you`ll want to grow.

And just to add try different varieties that are not available in the shops.  We eat plenty of salads with radishes , beetroot and cucumbers so while I will buy the good old red radishes I`ll slip in a few heirloom types and maybe try some Spanish black radishes!

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