February is one of the hottest months of the year so now is a good time to start some of your Autumn sowings both outdoors and indoors. Sowing times depends on what district you live in but you can start seeds indoors roughly 6 weeks prior to planting.

Why start seeds indoors?

Some vegetables must be sown direct into the garden as they do not transplant well, where others must be started in punnets or containers, either outdoors in warm or temperate districts or indoors in cooler areas. The reasoning behind this is that they require a longer growing season to develop before the weather gets too hot. Varieties include brassicas, especially broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. Another group are the leafy greens such as spinach, silverbeet, lettuce, endives and chicories.

Let's not forget onions. Try seeds of spring onions, leeks and shallots. For the tropics and the subtropics, your choices include all the warm season crops that gardeners in the south have to wait until next Spring before sowing.

Containers

Make sure whatever container you use is clean and has good drainage holes. You can go as simple as a small plastic container or something convenient and easy like our Jiffy propagation range. If you are the DIY type try egg or milk cartons, yoghurt or paper cups. Some gardeners make pots from strips of newspaper so you are only limited by your imagination.

HINT: When using anything made of peat (much like our Jiffy products) wet the peat thoroughly first before putting in your seed raising mix. The fibre or peat will act as a wick and pull moisture out of your soil.

Medium

You've got your container so now lets fill it not with garden soil but seed raising mix. A good seed raising mix is formulated for perfect drainage and water retention. We recommend seed raising mix over regular potting mix because it's much finer for small seeds to germinate and establish. This is important because you want the mix to make good contact with the seeds.

Certain varieties don't like to be transplanted because of the shock to their root system. Jiffy is great for this because you can sow the seeds, then plant the whole thing, pot and all, without disturbing the roots.

HINT: Always sow about twice as many seeds as the number of plants you want because sometimes (but not always) some of the seeds won't germinate and there can be losses in the transplanting process and again when thinning.


Looking for other Autumn vegetable seeds to sow? Click here to view our 'What vegetable seeds to sow this Autumn' page for inspiration and ideas.