How to direct sow seeds with a mindful twist
This week it is all about direct sowing. Which means when you sow the seeds straight into the ground or like I sometimes do into a big container filled with peat-free compost.
1. Break your soil or compost up into a relatively fine crumb.
This allows the tiny seedlings that will emerge from your seeds to put their roots easily into the soil around them and draw up precious nutrients and water. You can use a rake, hand fork, trowel or your fingers to do this. If you use your fingers, focus on the sensation of the soil between your fingers.
2. Choose your seeds and check the direct sowing month on the seed packet
This year I have direct sown the following seeds:
- Spring onion
At time of writing it's early May so i'm actually a little late in sowing some of these, but hey I like to make my own rules :)
3. Consider successional sowing
You may decide you have space to sow two rows of spring onions for example. Now unless you really, really like spring onions and want to eat them for every meal, you might want to leave a couple of weeks between sowing your first row of seeds and your second. This means that just as you have finished eating your way through your first row of spring onions, the second row will be ready to harvest.
4. Draw a line in your soil
Using your plant label, a trowel or an old spoon draw a straight line in the soil. This is going to be your row to sow into.
TIP Sowing in rows allows you to quickly identify what is a weed (not in your row) and what is a baby plant or seedling (in your row). Your weeds can easily be pulled out by hand or with a trowel and your baby plants left to continue growing.
5. Engage your senses and notice your seeds
Take your packet of seeds and give them a little shake. What do you think they might look like? Will they be big or small, round or flat?
Open the packet, tip a few out onto your hand and have a really good look at them. Notice their shapes, are they all the same? Are they all the same size? Are they all the same colour?
By focusing on everything you're doing will really help you to, be present in the moment and find a bit of calm and relaxation as well.
6. Sow your seeds
Pick your seeds up between thumb and forefinger and sprinkle them along your line. Now you will always end up dropping more than you want to. I like to zone in on the feeling of the seeds between my fingers as I drop them. Cover them over with soil.
7. Add your plant label
Its really easy to forget to put your plant label at the end of the row and then completely forget that you've sown something there.
Mark the name of the seed on to your plant label with a pen and add to one end of your row.
TIP if you do't have anything to use as a plant label then an old lolly stick or a strip of plastic pot works perfectly!
8. Give them a drink and keep them well watered.
Give your seeds a good initial drink of water, even if the ground is wet. Keep your row of seeds well watered especially if it is sunny and dry.
9. Thin seedlings
Once your seedlings appear you may need to sacrifice a few of them in a process called thinning. On the back of your seed packet it will say something like 'thin to 15cm' or 'allow 15cm between plants'. This means pulling up some of your baby plants so that the ones left in the ground are 15cm a part. You can replant these seedlings elsewhere, but as they are so delicate they may not survive.
Benefits of direct sowing
There are a couple of reasons why you might choose to direct sow your seeds.
- Less labour intensive than sowing seeds in pots, potting on as they grow and then hardening them off before they can be planted outside.
- Less watering required if its rainy.
But it will largely be down to your seed choice as to whether or not direct sowing is an option or not.
Unsure as to whether your seeds are suitable for direct sowing? Learn more on my 'How to start a vegetable garden for a healthy mind and body masterclass'.
Come find me on Instagram and let me know what seeds you're sowing. If you have questions then please send me a message.