If you want more bang for your gardening buck, you’ll find a smorgasbord of seeds and bulbs at Flower Power. Seeds and bulbs are easy to grow and with a bit of patience, will reward you with beautiful flowering blooms and your favourite edibles. Whether you want plants for summer, autumn, winter or spring, you’ll discover a huge range to choose from, including a pick of perennial bulbs, which will reward you with blooms year after year.
Seeds and bulbs
Flower bulbs, flower seed, vegetable seed, and more at Flower Power
They say that the best things take time, and never is that more true than in gardening. And if you want the ultimate satisfaction, growing your own flowers, plants and edibles from seeds and bulbs will get you there.
As well as being extremely satisfying, it’s also more cost effective to buy seeds and bulbs than seedlings or mature plants. They are surprisingly easy to grow and with a bit of patience, will reward you with beautiful flowering blooms and your favourite edibles. Whether you want plants for summer, autumn, winter or spring, you’ll discover a huge range to choose from, including a pick of perennial bulbs, which will reward you with blooms year after year.
How to plant seeds
There are two main methods for sowing seeds for vegetables, herbs and beautiful plants and flowers: direct sowing and sowing into germination trays for transplanting later.
A small handful of plants respond well to direct sowing, but the majority germinate best in seedling containers in controlled environments.
Seeds that prefer direct sowing include many vegetables and melons.
How to plant seeds directly into soil: Prepare the soil by digging through a high-quality compost and rake the surface fine and even. Leaf, fruiting and flowering plants like lots of organic fertiliser, while root crops need less. Water the soil lightly.
Follow the directions on the vegetable seed or flower seed packets, taking note of the planting depth, the seed spacing and distance between rows. Cover the seeds lightly with a seed raising mix and water gently but thoroughly, making sure to soak the soil. If you like, you can mix a seaweed fertiliser into the water to help with root growth.
Keep the soil fairly moist, not soggy, until plants germinate, then continue to water as each variety requires. In dry seasons, you can cover the seeds with soaked hessian or timber to keep the soil moist and protect seeds from birds until they germinate.
Many plants prefer to be sowed in germination trays and transplanted when they’re established. This also has the advantage of making it easier to control the environment, protecting seeds from birds and giving young seedlings a better chance of surviving weeds in the garden.
To germinate vegetable seed or flower seed in germination trays, fill the trays with seed raising mix and follow the directions on the seed packets for depth of sowing. Gently, so as not to disturb the seeds, thoroughly moisten the mix with diluted seaweed fertiliser.
Cover the germination tray with clear plastic – cling film or large glass bowls work well – to create a miniature glasshouse. Put them in bright, indirect light and keep them moist but not waterlogged until they have germinated and are strong enough to be transplanted in your garden.
How to plant bulbs
First, make sure the spot you’re considering planting in has well-drained soil. Flower bulbs rot in soggy ground and struggle in sandy soil. You can help this by adding organic matter, but you’ll always be better off starting with a location that suits your bulbs.
If you’re only planting a few bulbs, or you’re tucking bulbs in among other plants in an existing garden bed, use a trowel to dig holes. If you’re planting lots, just dig a trench. The general rule for your hole or trench size is to go about three times as deep as the bulb’s height; deeper in sandy soils, shallower in clay soils. Check the packet for specific instructions.
Roots grow out of the bottom of the bulb, so the soil underneath is more important that the soil on top. You can dig deeper holes than recommended and pop a bit of compost in the bottom if you like, and add a high-phosphorus fertiliser. Water soil lightly.
Dig holes about three bulbs’ width apart from each other so they have room to spread out underground but, again, follow specific packet instructions.
Put the roots, or basal plate, of the bulb against the bottom of the hole, so the nose points up. If you can’t figure out which is which, you can put the bulb on its side and the plant will figure it out as it grows. Backfill with your excess soil and press it in firmly, then water thoroughly. Mark where you’ve planted so you don’t accident dig up your bulbs.
When to plant bulbs and vegetable seed
As a general rule, the best time to plant flower bulbs is late autumn, and you should expect waves of colourful flowers by spring. However, each plant will have slightly different requirements so you should read the packet or ask a Flower Power expert when to plant bulbs.
Seeds will be best planted according to the variety. Some germinate well in cooler weather, but most prefer warmth to get started.