when to sow your seeds
Growing your garden from seeds is a great way to enjoy flowers in the garden and veggies for months on end without breaking the bank. Just remember that different seeds require different sowing times and methods, and some can be sowed gradually over several months to prevent running out of space and giving you a constant harvest.
To ensure successful germination, make sure your seeds have the right amount of warmth, light, and moisture. Also, keep in mind the importance of good hygiene, fresh seed and compost, and proper soil preparation.
To help you stay on track, we've compiled a handy month-by-month guide to sowing seeds.
January is the perfect time to plan ahead and order seeds for the year. If you're eager to get started, setting up a cold frame, polytunnel, greenhouse or heated propagator can allow you to sow tender crops, like chillies, that require a longer growing season. You can also sow garlic outside during this time and start growing sweet peas and microgreens on a windowsill. Check out our list of 10 microgreens to grow for some great options.
Sow now in January
Flowers: Sweet peas, undercover.
Garden greens: Microgreens, chillies, aubergines and peppers plus tomatoes under cover; garlic outside.
If you're wondering what to sow in February, you have plenty of options! It's a great time to get a head start on your gardening and sow tender crops like tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, and peppers. Don't forget about hardy crops and annuals, including sweet peas. If you're feeling ambitious, try sowing perennials, too. Sow peas under cover in guttering for an early harvest. A heated propagator is ideal, but a warm, bright windowsill will also do the trick. And don't forget to sow garlic for a tasty addition to your garden.
Sow now in February
Flowers: Sweet peas and perennials like Echinacea.
Garden greens: Spinach, peas and broad beans. Plus chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines, undercover. You can grow garlic outside.
In March, take advantage of the warmer and longer days by sowing hardy crops and flowers outside. If the weather is still chilly, prep the soil with polythene to warm it up before sowing, and shield seedlings with cloches or horticultural fleece. Keep sowing tomatoes, chillies, and aubergines under cover while beginning to sow half-hardy annuals.
Sow now in March
Flowers: Cosmos, nicotiana, cleome, nasturtium, cornflowers, marigold (Calendula), clarkia, cerinthe and morning glory.
Garden Greens: Aubergines, chillies and tomatoes (under cover), broad beans, peas, beetroot, Swiss chard, radish, kale, spinach, spring onions, first early potatoes (outdoors), plus shallot and onion sets and salad leaves (protect under fleece or a cloche).
Sowing seeds ramps up in April with the longer, warmer days, making it the ideal time for sowing many flowers and crops outdoors. For more delicate plants like courgettes or runner beans, start them off under glass, either in a greenhouse or on a bright windowsill. April is also the perfect time to plant out second early potatoes, followed by maincrop seed potatoes and onion and shallot sets towards mid to late-April, along with garlic and Jerusalem artichokes.
Sow now in April
Flowers: Nicotiana, cosmos, wildflowers, poppies and many more.
Garden Greens: including aubergines, chillies and tomatoes, plus courgettes, squashes, pumpkins, marrows and leeks undercover. Beetroot, carrot, celeriac, peas, radish, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, broad beans, spring onions, second early and maincrop seed potatoes.
Sow seeds directly outside now that the threat of frost has passed. May is an ideal time to plant most seeds, including tender crops like courgettes and runner beans towards the end of the month. Sow half hardy annuals, such as sunflowers, and biennials for future blooms.
Sow now in May
Flowers: You can sow cornflowers and sunflowers directly outdoors, and zinnias and other varieties under cover. Foxgloves, sweet rocket, and wallflowers can be sown outdoors or under cover.
Garden Greens: You can sow a variety of vegetables directly outdoors including beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas, radish, carrots, and spring onions. At the beginning of the month, sweetcorn, cucumber, runner beans, and courgettes can be sown under cover, and then transplanted outdoors towards the end of the month. You can also sow courgettes, squashes, and pumpkins under cover.
For a steady supply of fresh veggies, keep sowing fast-growing crops like beetroot, radishes, and lettuce every week or two. Protect your carrot sowings from carrot fly using insect-proof mesh, and give carrots a try. Sow biennials and experiment with direct sowing half-hardy annuals outdoors. Directly sow runner and French beans, and courgettes outside for later harvests.
Sow now in June
Flowers: Sow zinnias, cosmos, and other half-hardy annuals under cover. Sow foxgloves, sweet rocket, and wallflowers directly outside or under cover.
Garden Greens: Sow lettuce and radish seeds every week or so for a continuous harvest, as well as beetroot, peas, runner beans, French beans, soybeans, spring onions, courgettes, carrots, and purple sprouting broccoli.
Sow biennials now and begin sowing winter vegetables. Carrots can be sown now to avoid carrot fly, and continue sowing radishes, beetroot, and lettuce. For a late crop, you can sow runner or French beans. If you want to grow potatoes for Christmas, plant them now.
Sow in July
Flowers: It's time to sow foxgloves, wallflowers, sweet rocket and other biennials for next year's blooms.
Garden Greens: Sow runner beans for a late crop, as well as Swiss chard, kale, winter cabbage, and spinach for crops the following spring. Sow spring onions, radishes, beetroot, and lettuce successionally for a continued harvest. You can also sow radish and potatoes for a Christmas crop.
August is an important month for sowing winter crops and you can also sow many crops for harvests into autumn and beyond. Explore some winter veg options to sow in August. Additionally, keep sowing quick-growing crops like radish between slower-growing ones.
Sow in August
Garden Greens: In August, continue sowing lettuce (protect from direct sun), rocket, spring onion, and radish, and start sowing winter salads like mibuna, mizuna, mustard leaf, and lamb's lettuce.
September is the perfect time to begin sowing hardy annuals to enjoy early summer flowers the following year. While some plants like Ammi majus benefit from an autumn sowing, many other hardy annuals can be sown now. This is also a good time to sow leafy vegetables like spinach, as well as winter salads and fast-growing crops like radish.
Sow in September
Flowers: Ammi majus and other hardy annuals
Garden Greens: Spinach, winter salads, radish
October is a great time to start preparing your garden for the winter and planning ahead for next spring and summer. You can sow winter salads such as Japanese and Chinese salad leaves, corn salad, mustard, and other quick-growing crops that will be ready for harvest before the winter sets in. Peas and garlic can also be sown outdoors at this time, but be sure to protect your peas from mice.
Sow in October
Flowers: Sweet Peas
Garden Greens: Winter salads, peas, garlic
In November, there are a variety of crops that can be sown. For an early crop next year, consider sowing broad beans - you can find a helpful guide from Monty on how to do this. This is also a good time to sow garlic, onions, and shallots. And if you want early summer flowers next year, you can start sowing sweet peas now.
Sow in November
Flowers: Sweet peas
Garden Greens: Garlic, onions, shallots, broad beans
December may not seem like the obvious time for seed sowing, but there are a few things you can still plant. For instance, garlic is traditionally sown on the shortest day of the year. Microgreens are another option, as they can be sown and grown year-round for an intense pop of flavour. And, if you're already thinking ahead to next summer, you can also sow sweet peas now.
Sow now in December
Flowers: Sweet peas
Garden Greens: Garlic, micro greens