Warming up, sorting seeds and spreadsheets

There is an old gardening saying that if you can sit on the ground with your trousers down, the soil’s warm enough for sowing. I don’t intend to undress in the garden to test the soil temperature, but we did sit on the sunny lawn yesterday afternoon and felt that spring is in the air.

Excitingly, it’s time to sow seeds outside.

I made a small start about 10 days ago, sowing radish, broccoli and choy sum into one of the new raised beds. Some of those seeds have sprouted already, which convinces me that outdoor sowing will be ok.

Yesterday evening I sorted out my seed collection, which had been getting rather disorganised. I counted 24 packets of seeds sown so far, and have a group of 36 more that I want to do before the end of March.

Basket of seeds to sow

This basket of seeds, sorted by sowing month, is my seed filing system and sowing to-do list. I generally don’t like to spend ages listing a plan of action in great detail, because it’s quicker to JFD (just freaking do it).

However, I do find it useful and motivating to detail what has been done.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson

My ‘done’ list of sown seeds is now organised and online:

And now that I have sowing data, I can get a little geeky with it. I can see that half the seeds sown so far were herbs.


I could pretend this was a conscious plan in order to get maximum flavour from the garden as quickly as possible. But it wasn’t. I’d better sow some veg and flower seeds soon!

2 thoughts on “Warming up, sorting seeds and spreadsheets

  1. Ooooh! I see that pesky Russian tarragon on your list….a rampant artemisia related to the culinary French Tarragon, but not as refined. It will grow 5′ tall, spread rampantly underground and by self-seeding the entire neighborhood, your paths, and gutters! I speak from experience…and it has no flavor. French Tarragon makes no seed and must be grown from cuttings. Beware!


    1. Hi Carolee, thanks very much indeed for that tip! I have about a dozen Russian tarragon seedlings, and I’ll keep them quarantined in pots. If they’re flavourless then they’ll be off to the compost bin.
      Thanks again for your tip 🙂


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