Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sprouting Seedlings: Something Special!

Whilst gardening as a pastime is its own reward – a timeless, peaceful and enjoyable communion with nature – there are many different 'thrills' that the modern gardener encounters throughout the year; and none as special as seeing seeds sprout for the first time.

Last weekend was very much about laying the groundwork for the summer ahead – literally.  Having cleared the garden and sorted out the shed, I spent a long afternoon in the shed potting up flowers and planting various vegetable seeds (you can read last weekend's post by clicking here).

However, this weekend I have experienced my first genuine 'agricultural thrill' of 2013, when I noticed that my cauliflower and cabbage seedlings had sprouted!  You may recall that in last weekend's post, I had noted that I had never previously attempted to grow these two vegetables before, so this sprouting was made all the more exciting.

In my five years of experience, I have found that, for the urban gardener, germinating seeds is often one of the most challenging of tasks.  Vegetable seedlings are often very delicate, and compost in small pots and trays is liable to dry out quickly: yet at the same time, it's also easy to over-water them.  So it is always a small victory to see young vegetable seeds pushing up through the compost and into the world; their green shoots contrasting with the black soil you have been staring at for days when watering your pots and trays.

Cabbage Vegetable Seedlings

I also feel that there is a genuine connection between gardener and plant.  Whilst I'm not adverse to buying in plants, flowers, shrubs and so forth, I feel very differently when it comes to vegetables and flowers that I have grown from seed.  There is such a personal connection with that plant; such a passion, borne out of diligence and care, right from the very beginning of that plant's life.  I have carefully potted up a flower pot or tray; I have carefully opened the seed packet and covered the seeds with a bed of compost.  I have placed those trays and pots in a warm, light place; watered them; checked on them.  It's a very personal thing.

 Cauliflower Vegetable Seedlings

So for me, this weekend's progress is a special moment, experienced once every year.  And this is a feeling that anyone can experience, regardless of space or experience.  I'm hoping to plant my vegetables out in the garden of my Peak District cottage this year; but will be growing plenty of these young vegetable plants in containers, pots and windowsills, to demonstrate that no matter who you are or where you live, YOU CAN GROW YOUR OWN! 

It's a wonderful feeling to see seeds that you have nurtured grow into thriving plants that bear wonderful vegetables from the garden: and I sincerely hope that my blog posts can help you to capture this feeling and inspire you to have a go!

Look out for Wednesday's post, in which I'll take you through my do's and don'ts for vegetable seedlings!  In the meantime, feel free to drop by and have a chat with me on Twitter, @londonveggarden.


  1. I agree! It is always so exciting to see those first little sprouts! I have recently moved to central London from the countryside to live with my boyfriend. We have a small garden for our basement flat and I have already set to work and transformed it into a lovely little plot! Can't wait for my tomatoes, strawberries and rasperries to fruit, my veg bed to start sprouting and the gorgeous sweet peas and wildflowers (too attract the bees) to spring to life! Bring on the summer now please!

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