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Grow vegetables from seeds
Leeks to Marrows

This is a very rough guide to growing Leeks, Lettuce and Marrow from seeds in the UK, but even within the UK, the climate varies, so due allowance must be made for local conditions.

As well as variations in climate, there are also numerous different named varieties of the different vegetables - always read the seed packet for detailed guidance for particular varieties.

When sowing seeds, always mark the line of seeds to show the position and label the rows so that when the seedlings come up, you know what they are.


Terms used below:

Drill - a shallow depression into the bottom of which seed is sown - normally formed by pulling a hoe or a gardening trowel (backwards) through the surface of a prepared bed. Drills are used where the planting depth is relatively shallow and seeds are planted close together. Once the seeds have been sown, they are covered by pulling a hoe over the surface of the bed to fill the drills.

Seed bed - a specific area of the garden where seeds are sown for germination and later the seedlings are 'planted out' to other areas. The area is normally level and with a fine soil, this helps the young plants to grow and makes it easy to lift the plants for planting out.


Leeks

Where to sow Outdoors in a seed bed

 

Site/Soil Open site - well dug, preferably manured the previous Autumn or dig in garden compost or well rotted manure before planting.

 

Sowing time Late March - April

 

How to sow Sow main crop leek seeds direct into a seed bed, about 1.2cm (½ inch) deep in rows about 15cm (6 inch) apart.

Once the leek seeds have germinated and shots are visible, thin out the leek seedlings to about 3.7cm (1½ inch) apart.

Transplant the leek seedlings in June or early July when they are about 20cm (8 inch) long and as think as pencils. Water the bed the day before lifting the seedlings if the earth is dry. Use a dibber to make holes in the main bed about 23cm (9 inch) apart and plant the leek seedlings in them.

 

Time from sowing to harvest About 30 weeks (early varieties)

About 45 weeks (late varieties)

   
 

Lettuce

Where to sow

Outdoors in seed bed or open ground

 

Site/Soil Light, well drained - preferably well manured for previous crop. Lime if acid.

 

Sowing time

Late March to July

 

How to sow Sow lettuce seeds very thinly in 1.2cm (½ inch) deep drills, leave about 15cm (6 inches) between rows in a seed bed or 25 to 30cm (10 to 12 inches) between rows in open ground.

Successive, small sowings of lettuce seeds will extend the lettuce harvest without producing a glut.

Thin the lettuce seedlings in open ground to about 6 to 12 inches (depending on the variety) as they grow; or transplant the lettuce seedlings from the seed bed when the lettuce plants are about 5cm (2 inches) high and plant them in rows with about 6 to 12 inches (depending on the variety) between the seedlings and 25 to 30cm (10 to 12 inches) between the rows.

 

Time from sowing to harvest

6 to 14 weeks depending on the variety.
   
 

Marrow, Courgette, Squash and Pumpkin

Where to sow

Indoors in pots of compost

Outdoors in open ground

 

Site/Soil Very sheltered site, tolerates light shade in the summer - moisture retentive, humus rich.

 

Sowing time

Indoors- late April

Outdoors - late May - early June

 

How to sow Indoors - Sow two seeds 1.2cm (½ inch) deep on their edges per 5 to 7.5cm (2 to 3 inch) pot, remove the weaker seedling later.

Harden off and plant out late May/early June with 38 to 60cm (15 to 24 inches) between plants if a bush variety or 45cm (18 inches) between plants if a climbing varieties or 120cm (4 foot) between plants if a trailing variety.

Pinch out the growing tips of trailing varieties when they reach 60cm (24 inches) long.

Outdoors in open ground - Sow two or three seeds 2.5cm (1 inch) deep on their edges under cloches or glass jars with 38 to 60cm (15 to 24 inches) between plants if a bush variety or 45cm (18 inches) between plants if a climbing varieties or 120cm (4 foot) between plants if a trailing variety. Remove the weaker seedlings later.

Pinch out the growing tips of trailing varieties when they reach 60cm (24 inches) long.

 

Time from sowing to harvest

10 to 14 weeks
   
 
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