by Matthew Wilson
Perfect things to plant now with Matthew Wilson
Matthew Wilson is an award-winning garden and landscape designer, writer, radio and television presenter and lecturer. He has extensive garden design experience having worked on a wealth of projects – from small urban gardens to master planning estates. Matthew has designed two gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower show, is a regular correspondent for the Financial Time and has been a regular panelist on Radio 4's Gardeners Question Time since 2009.
What to Plant Now:
You don’t need a kitchen garden to grow veg! In fact you only need windowsill to grow crops such as cut and come again lettuce, rocket, mizuna and herbs like parsley and basil. In this project I’ll show you how to sow seeds for either growing on a windowsill or for planting outside at the seedling stage.
1. Fill a pot with compost, ideally seed and cutting compost. As you fill, break and lump the compost up with your fingers. If you are window sill growing then choose as big a pot as you can. If you don’t have a ‘conventional’ pot to grow in you can use yoghurt pots, food cans or even loo rolls. Just make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom.
2. Open the seed packet and empty about a quarter of the contents into one hand. Don’t empty the whole packet all in one go, it can be hundreds of seeds and you’ll want the remaining seeds to make further sowings at two week intervals.
3. Using your thumb and forefinger, take a pinch of seed and sprinkle it onto the surface of the pot, aiming to get an even spread of seeds over the entire surface.
4. Cover the seeds with a fine layer of the same compost. You can either pass the compost through a baking sieve or use your hands to break it down to a fine texture. You only need enough compost to just cover the seeds.
5. Write a label with what you’ve sown, and the date you’ve sown it. This will be helpful when you come to sow another batch of seeds – known as succession sowing – 10 days or two weeks after the first.
6. Water the pot really well, using a watering can with a rose or a water mister – if you don’t have one of these don’t worry, you can use a cleaning product spray bottle (such as antibacterial spray) having thoroughly washed the bottle out first. Then cover with a clear plastic bag.
7. Secure the bag around the ‘neck’ pot with a rubber band, and place on a warm windowsill. Remove the bag to water each day, then re-cover. Once the seeds start to germinate you can lift a corner of the bag to help air circulation. Once the seedlings are as big as your thumb, remove completely.