Seeds, Bulbs and Propagation

Kings Seeds, Suffolk Herb seeds (1)

 

Growing is what gardening is all about, it’s where the magic is and where it all starts.

We stock Kings Seeds. They’ve been in business since 1888, in Kelvedon, Essex, the traditional home of the British seed industry. Our bulbs come from WPC Prins, one of the top Dutch bulb companies.

We’ve got all the equipment you need to get your seeds and bulbs started.

Growing from seed is cheaper and more involving that buying plants, you can also tailor cropping times to suit you, and plant at just the right time for local weather conditions.

Soil temperature is key to germination. The seed packet will give you a start and end date for the planting season, but be aware of local conditions.

Seeds need to be watered to get them started. Fresh tap water is better than collected water butt water, which may contain harmful bacteria. Moist but not soggy is what you’re aiming at until your seeds germinate. Use a fine spray for those first waterings.

Light is the final ingredient for successful germination. Follow the depth directions on the packet.

Growing inside will give you even more of a head start. Try to work out the date of the last frost in your area and start seeds about six to eight weeks before that. This should give you plants ready to plant out in most cases.

Most seeds will germinate at temperatures between 24˚ and 32˚C (75˚ and 90˚F) inside. Propagators work like mini-greenhouses to increase the warmth of the sun and keep humidity up – clear plastic bags can do a similar job. Direct sun can kill seeds.

Seeds shouldn’t be planted in a nutrient-rich medium as the seed carries enough food to get the plant started. Take a look at our range of composts, including John Innes. Make sure the pots you use have holes in the bottom to avoid waterlogging. Do label your pots – seedlings are like peas in a pod!

You can now buy seeds set in tape and mats to help you space them correctly. Mixing very fine seeds with sand can help you spread out your sowings of loose seeds.

Outside, you need to prepare a good quality seed bed. You should always ensure that the top of the soil is loose so that roots can get started. If you have lots of clay or sand in your soil or it forms a crust, compost or other organic matter can help aerate it.

Store your seeds carefully for next season. They need to be dry and cool. Put them in the fridge – but not the freezer – if you have room, in sealed bags or jars. Date them so you know when they’ve passed their use-by date.

Kings have a range of plants to suit every garden and every gardener:

Flowers – colour all year round

Wild flowers – bring the British countryside into your garden

Perennials – perennials keep coming back, you don’t need to plant them each year

Herbs – plant close to the kitchen if you can, use pots if you’re short of space

Vegetables – you’ll never taste better than home grown and you’ll save a fortune

Legumes – peas and beans

We also stock seed mixes:

Green manures – these quick-growing plants are dug back into the soil to provide nutrients for next year’s plants

Tub and basket mixes – specially designed to suit container growers

Bulbs

We get two deliveries of bulbs each year, for spring and autumn planting.

Flowers from bulbs are some of the most colourful in the garden, tulips particularly. Autumn-planted plants like snowdrops and scillas give the earliest colour as winter ends and spring plantings of such plants as gladioli bring height and drama. Bulbs also give colour late in the season, nerines are a wonderful splash of autumn colour.

Most spring-flowering bulbs are planted in early autumn, usually by the end of September, though tulips are planted in November.

Summer-flowering varieties including alliums, lilies and crocosmia, are also planted in September and October.

Some summer-flowering varieties need to be planted in early spring, once the danger of frosts has passed. Garlic should go in in spring too.

For autumn colour, plant in the late summer.

Check each plant for its ideal planting conditions. Over-wintering bulbs usually like sunny, dry conditions. Many plants from bulbs, like snowdrops, come from woodland habitats and enjoy cool, moist conditions.

It’s a good idea to plant your bulbs not long after you buy them. They are kept dry to keep them dormant and don’t store easily.

Planting in groups gives a good display. Most bulbs should be planted at two or three times their base-to-tip length. Always plant them upright.

Bulbs make good container plants in high-quality compost. They’ll need plenty of water once they’re growing and can over-winter with care. Feeding through the growing season will help them store strength for the next year.

Propagation

We’ve got everything you need to get your seeds started.

Seed trays and trays with lids that make them mini greenhouses

Cell inserts – for planting larger seeds

Capillary matting – stores water in tiny tubes, allowing plants to draw up fluid

Peat pots – these biodegradable pots can be planted straight into the garden without disturbing your seedlings. We have a range of sizes.

Insect guard – keep bugs away from tender young plants without harming the environment

Grow tunnels – warm the soil or offer protection to plants. Fleece insulates and offers frost protection, polythene gives a greenhouse effect, and netting will keep pests away.

Vermiculate – this natural mineral used as a soil mixer or seed cover, insulates and improves drainage while retaining water.

Perlite – improves aeration and drainage and holds water