The only trouble is, it's not necessarily a good idea. Looking at the weather forecast for NE Hampshire for the next 10 days, I see that the maximum temperature is supposedly going to be 7 degrees Celsius, and the minimum -3C. This means that sowing seeds outdoors is really out of the question; even with protection it would be inadvisable.
A few days ago I sowed some Broad Bean seeds, but even with the protection of my lovely Gabriel Ash coldframe, they are not going to be particularly happy.
|The Broad Bean seeds are in the little black pots|
I know that a lot of people will think me a kill-joy, but I really believe it makes sense to wait a bit longer before sowing anything much. If you happen to have artificial heating and lighting arrangements then I make an exception. Chillis and tomatoes are often sown early by those lucky enough to have the correct kit, but even then I think it's best to wait until after the middle of February, when the day-length passes the 9-hour mark. Seedlings grown on the mythical sunny windowsill are more than likely going to end up weak and leggy.
Many of my potted perennials and herbaceous plants are still taking shelter in the coldframes - the big one seen above, and this less fancy one:-
From this point onward I will use any opportunities that present themselves to acclimatise these plants to unprotected conditions, by opening the lids / doors for a couple of hours whenever we get a sunny day, because they must be craving some warmth and light after the gloom of Winter. [Note to self: must remember to close them before sundown!]
I shall also soon be making full use of my "Longrow" tunnel cloches.
In the Autumn I sowed some Lamb's Lettuce and Radish seeds under these. The Radishes have done nothing. They germinated OK but have gradually been whittled away by slugs, and produced no edible roots at all, so they were a complete failure.
The Lamb's Lettuce has fared rather better. Germination was good and the slugs seem to like them much less than Radishes. Having grown incredibly slowly over the Winter, they are now beginning to speed up and I hope to get a worthwhile crop in the next month or so.
I have recently transplanted 36 seedlings into some old plastic washing-up bowls filled with a mixture of soil and compost, which are now in the plastic mini-greenhouses. This way they will get shelter from the wind and/or frost, as well as the benefit of fresh compost and plenty of light, so they ought to do well.
|Lamb's Lettuce / Mache / Corn Salad seedlings|
Meanwhile, the first harvest of Purple Sprouting Broccoli can surely only be days away....