It’s always very tempting to make a headstart in the garden at this time of year as spring steadily approaches, but it’s not always a worthwhile exercise. Seedlings grown on a windowsill tend not to be as hardy and resilient. We prefer to grow with the seasons. This way we find that our plants are stronger and healthier, and more likely to give you good results.
There are a lot of articles out there about extending the growing season and they often suggest starting early by sowing seeds indoors. We remain unconvinced. For us, the seedlings that are sown indoors early in the season (with artificial light and heat from a nice warm radiator) are no quicker to reach their harvesting point than seedlings that are sown a few weeks later without the use of artificial light/heat. But we have found that there is one big difference between the two – the seedlings that are sown later are stronger, healthier and, weirdly, a little bit tougher when it comes to withstanding slugs and other pests.
This basically comes down to one simple thing. When a plant is sown at the right time of year (the natural way – nature always provides the best conditions for growing after all) it gets enough light and heat, so it can concentrate its energy in putting down roots and getting nutrients, rather than wasting energy in desperately searching for the warmth and light of the sun. This is why we choose not to put massive great heaters in our polytunnels, and why we always encourage our customers to plant out that little bit later in the season rather than trying to rush things. As a very wise brand once said, “good things come to those that wait.”