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Sowing seeds in March

It's now time to get sowing the thousands of seeds you couldn't resist buying over winter. Check the packets of course, but many crops and flowers can be started this month.


If you sow directly outdoors look to see when annual weeds start to emerge – it may give you a better idea of the soil's condition than the calendar, and if in doubt wait a few days. It is wise to keep seed back to resow, and if you have rare or expensive seeds growing indoors in pots may be a surer option.


Seeds need water, oxygen and warmth to stir them into life, and gardeners have developed ways to get ahead by giving them extra warmth and water.


Presoaking seeds will kickstart them: soak them in clean water on kitchen towel then roll the sheet up and squeeze out most of the water. Keep them in the dark and open them up and re-wet at least once a day. If you leave them too long they will run out of oxygen, plus long rootlets are very fragile.


As a rather rough guide seeds should have three times their depth of compost over them.


To add warmth a heated propagator is great and allows you to start tender plants early, but be warned, too much warmth and not engough light can result in spindly seedlings that fall prey to sapsucking insects and diseases. I make my plants reflectors to make the most of the light using foil and card. I am saving for LED Grolights!

How to save seeds from "easy" vegetables and wild flowers Bristol’s well loved permaculture activist, Mike Feingold will be talking about how to save seed and why this is important. Mike has been at the centre of Bristol’s practical permaculture community for many years. He runs a thriving community orchard at Royate Hill, where he also has his own allotment.

Mike teaches on the Shift Bristol permaculture course and co- ordinates large teams of volunteers every year to run practical permaculture areas at festivals including Glastonbury Festival.

He’s also involved in redistributing unwanted food to communities in need across the city.

Mike’s talk will focus on seed saving from ‘easy’ vegetables, as well as saving wild seed. He’ll also touch on the politics of seed saving.

Mark De'Lisser

Often taking inspiration from the natural environment, poet Mark De’Lisser weaves words that explore the ever shifting tides of the human experience. 


Born in London and now settled in Bath, Mark has written professional commissions for the Bath Abbey and Roots Allotment, and regularly collaborates with musicians.

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