Further confessions of a seedaholic


I am a self-confessed seedaholic.  I can’t resist, its hopeless.  My addiction is really tested in the winter months when its hard to get outside to gardening and I find myself wandering around the internet in the evenings.

This evening I have decided I need to sort through the box which I can barely close the lid on as I really need to start the serious seed sowing for the season.  Alpines and seeds which need cold to break their dormancy have all, more or less, been sown back in January.  When we had a few warmer days earlier this week I found myself peering at the seed trays and muttering words of encouragement which I have to admit are beginning to get more and more impatient.  So far the Allium are the only seeds to have germinated outside.  In the greenhouse I have castor oil seedlings that desperately need pricking out which is a job for the weekend.  But most of the other things I have sown in the propagator haven’t germinated yet and I wonder how much the low light levels are impacting as I am providing the right heat levels.   I took the precaution of not sowing all the tender seeds in one go and kept some back from each packet as I wasn’t sure if I was sowing the seeds too early.  It is all very fascinating and this year I am trying to keep proper records on a spreadsheet – no doubt I will get to April and forget to update it.

Lurking in my seed box are everyday annuals such as Cosmos and Rudbeckia which I can’t imagine a summer without.  Last year they didn’t do very well partly due to the seemingly never-ending rain but also because I was stretched too far with the allotment.  This year I am hoping with only the garden to focus on I will be a good gardener and look after my seedlings better – we shall see!  There are various perennials such as Delphinium, Linaria and Lysimachia which took my fancy late in the evening.  Oh and more  seeds from the Hardy Plant Society and Alpine Garden Society such as Aquilegia and Geraniums which don’t need cold to germinate.  Then there are the seeds from Chiltern Seeds that haven’t arrived yet, I discovered they had a pale yellow foxglove while I was reading something late at night and well once on the web-site all hope was lost.  Oh and I also succumb to some Barnhaven Primrose seeds as I have a growing fascination with Primula and there is just time to sow them.

But it’s not all ornamental, hidden amongst the packets of flowers are one or two vegetable seeds – some cucumbers for my eldest son. I have found in recent years they do better for me than tomatoes and I have read on several occasions that cucumbers and tomatoes are as different as chalk and cheese in their preferred growing conditions so its goodbye to tomatoes and blight and hello to the lovely cucumbers.  I also have some Carvelo Nero seeds as I want to grow them for winter eating and I think they will look quite stunning in the borders with the frost on them.

So now I must go and sort the packets out into some semblance of order.  I suspect I will then spend the evening wondering how on earth I am going to fit all the seed trays in the greenhouse and cold frames which are already full and it’s too cold to start hardening plants off.  Tough decisions will have to be made but hopefully the results in the summer will be worth it.  Plus if I get some of the alpines to germinate then maybe next year I can start to think about entering my club’s annual show which is at the start of April, who knows.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

20 thoughts on “Further confessions of a seedaholic”

  1. Oh dear, this sounds just like me, tempted by the gorgeous seed catalogues! I usually go through them with a marker pen, then later cross half of them out before I dare go onto the internet!! I think we all do it so there is no real hope for any of us is there?

  2. That’s some seed regime you’ve got going there! I’m often so glad I don’t have room for a greenhouse or else I suspect I’d be in the same position as you. I wish your seedlings well!

  3. Glad to see I’m not the only one that loves jungle seeds!! Bit pricey but they have some really neat stuff don’t they?? Not gonna lie I’m a seedaholic too and I was so organised earlier this year but doesn’t like like much if even gonna get sown at all, let alone on time!!!

  4. I actually rang Chiltern the other day to see what had happened to my order and they were working on orders placed on 8th feb, when I ordered on 20th! They are clearly rather busy. I blame their utterly beguiling website and terrific range. I am beginning to panic a little since I was relying on having started lots of that order by now so that the next lot could get going. As to things needing cold to germinate, mine are being very recalcitrant, I am worried that it might have been poor compost. I have lots of seed trays sat there doing nothing, and I need them all to germinate so that I can re-use the trays! Is there an AA-style group us seed addicts could belong to do you think, because even having cut down my order drastically I will still be struggling to find a box large enough for all the packets. Good luck with the alpines, hope you get to enter the show.

  5. Yes, I know the feeling! Even with my foil covered cardboard there wasn’t enough light indoors so only ungerminated seed is in the top bathroom. Every
    Thing that has germinated is now in the greenhouse. It takes so long from germination to first set of true leaves, most of the tomatoes have done it a d most have been pricked out but everything else needs to GROW. I too am doing a spreadsheet, it is good to know exactly how long it takes for each variety to germinate and then to grow on. It will be helpful next year. Anyway, just ENJOY!

  6. A big box difficult to close, yes, I have that too. I find it very hard to give up and throw seeds away. They don’t go very far away though, just to the compost where I secretly think maybe they will grow.

  7. Do you have any tips for growing cucumbers? This is my first year trying to grow them. I feel I’ve been a bit impatient as I’m currently trying to germinate the seed, but the book says to wait until Apil.

    1. I am going to sow my cucumbers in the greenhouse this week. I find that if you put the seed so it is resting on its side – the narrow edge that helps with germination

  8. I am writing from the Mediterraneum and for two days we are having highs in the 19º, I am telling myselt to restrain because know is coming another storm, that will harm all planting directly, but how can you? I have by box of seeds (mainly exprimental herbs) prepared and I’ll think about it tomorrow, but I should not complaint considering the mild climate here!

    1. Hi Anastasia
      No Cosmos and Rudbeckias are sown in the greenhouse as half hardy annuals

  9. I think I might have caught the seed bug from you 😉

    So far this year I’ve given away nearly 80 packets of seeds. I still have 3 tins stuffed with them. So what did I but at the garden centre this week?

    Yep, buy some more!

  10. I have developed a new control method after years of ordering based on what is in the catalog. I start with my budget number, which I put aside for my first pass through the catalogs. I total the first pass and then mark off selections until I bring it back down to a more sane level. That seems to have helped. The one trap is I have become a better shopper and I have found myself looking for deals so I can push the number back up. it is an addiction…I am constantly struggling with it.

  11. I had to have a seed clear out as I could no longer close my seed box! Such an exciting time isn’t it? I have lupins and cosmos and tomatoes all germinating. Now, if I can only keep them alive. Dave

  12. Reminds me that I must get some Cosmos started off, I always remember too late after concentrating on the veg side of sowing. After reading the comments above, you know that you’re not alone in your compulsive seed buying! I found that it’s futile to resist and caved in by going to Ikea to buy a large wooden box to house them all.

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