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!