Everyone is an expert it seems on the subject of when to sow this and when to sow that. I’m really not surprised at all that beginners to growing get so confused by this subject, it’s enough to confuse me and I’ve been growing some years now!
Well just because I’m a bit of a rebel I’m gonna put it straight out there and say, “NO! NO NO, just NOPE! I am not going to do it this way or your way or any way but my own. And it’s not because I’m actively rebelling, I just know what works best for me and in my climate, in my space and in my day and age.
It’s ok to reference an old vintage book that says sow your broad beans in November for an early crop. Ermm well I did that and well they cropped at the same time as my February sowings which was pretty disappointing. Times have changed and our climate and seasons are ever-changing. However I found that if I sow my broad beans at the beginning of January (sort of like my new year gift to myself – sorts the itchy green fingers right out) that I get broad beans that romp away. This year they were hardened off for 2 weeks during February and planted out standing at 10 inches at the end of February. Now I’ve looked at other folks over wintered sowings and most are not even half this size. I haven’t done anything spectacular to get these results just sown in modules in an unheated porch and watered, that’s it!
The other thing that really get’s under my skin, is hearing growers who winge on at early sowers about ‘LEGGY PLANTS’ and “Too Early” snide rumbles. You’ve probably heard these remarks here and there. Leggy plants? So what, newbie growers don’t coil in fear! I sow 5 tomato seeds to an 8 inch pot in a propagator in late January with no grow lights (I did have a vintage one but it broke) and yes they became extremely leggy due to the short days this time of year. But so what, in just a couple of weeks they are going to be potted on anyway. I just submerge the leggy stem into the compost and they grow into fine healthy plants that crop well, problem solved. I do this because I need my windowsill space for my next lot of sowings, so these get potted on then hardened off into the polytunnel where they will stay for the year to crop.
I understand people want to share their growing experience with others and this is great and what makes a fabulous community but sometimes it can come across negative. If you’re new to growing and someone dismisses your efforts that’s a bit of poor play if you ask me and just isn’t necessary. We learn best by trial and error so new gardeners should be encouraged, ask them questions, praise them, share your experiences but don’t tell them what’s the ‘right way’ in a pedantic manner, it’s each to their own. Because you never know, they may just do absolutely marvellous this year with their new flukey cookey methods and who made you Charles Darwin anyway?
I sow and grow by what feels right to me in tune with the current season (which were floods here in Yorkshire last year) and by what I can accommodate in my space. I think the best method of growing is by trial and error and what feels right to you.
So go on, sow away and have a fantastic time doing it. If it doesn’t work just dust off the potting bench and start again, there’s no losses just learning!
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Brightest Blessings Always,
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