Preparing to sow in the spring

      Although the signs of the cold are still all around us and the snow may not seem too far away, some people are already getting to work in the garden. This is the ideal time to begin sowing your first seeds.

      Where and when to sow and how to succeed?

      Every plant has different heat requirements so you may need to plant seeds indoors (in trays, 
      plugs or pots), under shelter (cold frame or tunnel) or outdoors. Whether you are planting 
      indoors or outdoors however, you need to know what equipment to choose for different plant 
      types. Follow our advice from the seasoned gardener. 

      Sowing seeds in the warmth

      Although it is still freezing outside, it is a good idea to sow your first seeds at the end of the 
      winter to bring forward harvest times, making sure that all seeds are getting enough light. 
      Plants originating from tropical climates can be particularly in need of this kind of attention. It 
      is also better to start sowing tomatoes, aubergines and begonias at the end of winter rather 
      than waiting for the good weather to come along to warm up the air. 
      Sow your seeds in the warmth, and in a more or less heated shelter. 


      - Plugs: use for vegetables you can pick (cabbages and leeks) or grow in situ (black radish), 
      planting seeds in a few centimetres of compost. Aubergines and tomatoes can also be 
      planted in this way and will benefit from the generous spacing (photo Kit Planting). 
      If you do not have a greenhouse or heated veranda, it is possible to use a propagator 
      (Heating Grow) to obtain the right temperature. 


      - Individual pots: the Growing Pots and Plast Pot are ideal for plants that need to be 
      kept indoors as late as possible before being transferred outside with their earth and root 
      balls. Sow as many pots as plants you require. 

      What should you sow? Species with large seeds that grow quickly, do not tolerate planting 
      on well, and that you only require in small numbers, such as: aubergines, cucumbers, 
      gherkins, courgettes, melons, watermelons, tomatoes (GROWING POT). 

      Top tip: sow three or four large seeds, or 5 to 7 smaller seeds, in pots and only keep the 
      best plant. GROWING POTs are biodegradable (wood fibres) and can be transferred directly 
      into the ground. 

      Geological point: in the Southwest of France and the Mediterranean, these species can 
      be sown directly into the ground as long as you wait until the soil has sufficiently warmed up.

      • Preparing to sow in the spring

        Sowing the seeds in a sheltered place outdoors

        It is possible to sow some crops early (beetroot, carrots, celery, cabbages, lettuces, turnips, 
        nuts, peas, radishes, tomatoes, etc), as long as you choose varieties suitable for early 
        cultivation and protect them in a cold frame or polytunnel. During the day, the plastic or glass 
        covering concentrates the sun's rays, significantly increasing the internal temperature. This 
        facilitates the plants’ growth and will gain you approximately 2 weeks with the hardiest 
        vegetables. 


        - A cold frame is the traditional system. It comprises a box (wood, metal or brick) covered 
        with a transparent lid (plastic or glass) that can be easily lifted (to aerate and water the 
        plants). The frame does not have a base and is placed directly on the ground; sow your 
        seeds directly onto a thick layer of compost, or in trays that are then placed inside the frame. 

        What can you sow? Lettuces, radishes, leeks, cauliflowers and more hardy vegetables will 
        thrive here. Flowers and tomatoes can also be placed inside a cold frame but only during the 
        day and in good weather. 

        Top tip: if there is a risk of frost at night, protect your seedlings by covering the frame with a 
        roll of rice straw. 


        - Cloche tunnels give an excellent quality of light and protect seeds and young plants from 
        the cold. They are not an absolute guarantee against the cold but offer good protection 
        against draughts and the damp. 

        They are easy to use as they can quickly be placed over seeds in the ground if it turns cold 
        during the day or the night. Remember that in such climatic conditions, vegetable plants can 
        be stressed and may struggle to germinate or propagate. Cloche tunnels are very practical to 
        set up and easy to take down and it is easy to aerate your plants by lifting the plastic film on 
        one side, discouraging rot and possible "heatstroke" on sunny days in February. 

        - With taller plants, such as maize, use perforated plastic film as protection (Climair Film 
        laid flat). This acts like a propagator during the early weeks of sprouting and plants are 
        protected from frost, will grow on early, and come through the plastic film to grow upwards. 

        Top tip: this technique is widespread in market gardening because it protects seeds, speeds 
        up growth and means you can harvest vegetables earlier. It involves spreading a sheet of 
        nonwoven fleece on the ground over the seeds to encourage germination and growth. The 
        cover also acts as protection against insects and heavy rain. 

        All you need to do now is start sowing and then wait patiently a while to enjoy your kitchen 
        garden in the sun.

      NORTENE, THE GARDEN OPENS UP
      There was a time that we listened to the garden grow in silence, but today we are giving a voice to those who create the setting.
      1961

      The birth of a brand for those with gardens, flower-decked patios and leafy interiors. The brand establishes a greenscape combining professional expertise and perfect knowledge of the amateur gardener.

      2019

      The garden leaves the ground and becomes vertical. Nortene presents its new online look, rich in practical and innovative accessories for vegetable and ornamental gardens. 100% for consumers, 100% listening to your needs. The verdant setting ventures away from well-trodden paths so that a community of green-fingered enthusiasts can beautify the environment and share with us and with you, their opinions about how to use this spirited nature to garden and decorate.

      NORTENE LETS THE GARDENERS SPEAK

      From a simple idea to an identity, strong, social, community and 100% green, there is now just one click, yours.

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