Grow Your Own
In association with CSSC and East Kilbride Development Trust
Who's behind Grow Your Own?
CSSC member and volunteer Robert Gillies and a group of like-minded friends wanted to give something back to their community and improve the town they lived in. They thought it would be great to have fruit trees all over the town where the kids could get free fruit and that was how theEast Kilbride Development Trust began.
The Trust also offers courses in composting, bee-keeping and chicken-rearing and encourages cooking and healthy eating amongst various other community projects.
CSSC and East Kilbride Development Trust in partnership
CSSC donated to the Trust to help towards their annual running costs and in exchange, the group has agreed to send seeds to any members looking to start their grow-your-own adventure.
Beginner’s Guide to Seeds by Robert Gillies
Growing vegetables from seeds is a cost-effective way of producing your own food, as well as giving a real sense of satisfaction when you’re eating your own crop of vegetables at the table. It’s a great learning and teaching tool for kids, to appreciate the time and effort it takes to nurture and grow plants.
- Seed compost
- A container for growing seeds such as growbag, pots, jam jars or food tins
- Watering can
- Lolly stick or something else to label the name of the plant you’re growing
April is an ideal time to sow your seeds inside, as they’re grown in a controlled environment, with the right temperature, water and sunlight. When you come to move your seedlings outside, the actual date will vary according to the area you live in and current weather conditions.
You don’t need a vast amount of space to grow seeds, simply use recycled items such as yoghurt pots, food tins, egg boxes or toilet rolls to start growing your seeds. Make sure you place your seeds somewhere with sufficient light and warmth, such as a windowsill or balcony.
- Put the seed compost into your container, bringing the soil level almost to the top.
- Make a shallow line or a hole in the seed compost using your finger, this is known as a ‘drill’.
- Water the drills with a watering can with a fine spray.
- Pick up just a few seeds with your fingers and sprinkle the seeds along the drills.
- Cover lightly with compost.
- Add a label with the plant name and the date you planted the seeds.
- Place your containers in an area where they’ll be warm with good access to sunlight
Pricking out your seedlings
When to prick out your seedlings?
When your seedlings have reaching about 5cm tall and have developed their true second leaf, which looks like the leaf of the adult plant. This is an indication that roots have grown, and the seedling is ready to be pricked out.
Your seeds will need some extra space once the second set of leaves emerge, so choose a new tray or a pot with at least 7.5cm depth to allow the roots to develop.
- Make sure the compost is moist in the new seed try and make a hole using your finger that’s big enough and deep enough to house the new plant.
- Use a small stick or pencil to help lift the plant out of the first pot, making sure you keep as much root as possible. Hold the plant by its leaves, not by the stem. You should be able to see quite a substantial root system, just as long as the plant itself.
- Transfer the seedling to its new, bigger container.
- Ensure that the seeds are level with the compost and planted about 3cm apart.
Seedlings should appear within two weeks and then be large enough to move into a larger pot in about eight weeks. To transfer them to larger pots, follow the steps above.
For more information about when you can expect to harvest a crop from your newly planted seeds, please refer to the RHS’s advice.
Hardening off helps your seedlings to grow better and stronger so they are better equipped to deal with the elements. During the day, put your seeds outside in a sheltered, lightly shaded area and then bring them back inside at night.
We've put together a comprehensive seed calendar to help you plant your seeds at the right time to ensure a healthy harvest.