Grow your own vegetables from seed

There is a great deal of satisfaction from growing your own vegetables from seed and, from the day you sow your first seeds you will be watching them daily to check if there is any new growth peeking through, even though it most probably states on the packet "Seedlings usually appear in 7-21 days."

That is true of course but it is possible to reduce these times if you are able to provide some warmth for the seeds to germinate. An electric propagator would be handy if you can afford one, but if not then pop your seed tray onto a sunny windowsill, cover with cling film, a clear plastic lid or bubble wrap and they will be as snug as a bug in a rug.

When you grow your own vegetables from seed you will quickly realise that seeds like lettuce are swift to germinate but on the other hand chillies, parsnips and some others can take 21 days and even longer which sometimes makes you think they won't come through at all, but fear not and don't despair.

One thing we must stress is Don't Over Water. Make your soil or compost nice and damp and when you cover it with plastic or whatever then that will keep the moisture in the seed tray. Over water these tender little seeds and you stand a good chance of having them rot.

Remove the seed tray covering as soon as the seedlings appear or they will grow spindly and weak. Germination and planting out depends entirely on what you are growing and the different micro climates in the country. Lettuce, for example, pops through in just a few days but carrots may take three weeks in the same conditions.

Likewise, the climate in the South is far warmer than it is here in the Midlands or the North and this has to be taken into account. Generally we think that here in the Midlands we are several weeks growing time behind the south of the country 200 miles away.

If this is your first attempt at growing your own then you will probably make the odd mistake (I made 100's!) but you will easily get the idea after the first year. One of the main things to get right is the timing of your planting if you are planting from seed that is, but every packet will have information about that on the back.