Real Men Sow

A Little Bit Late is Better than a Little Bit Cold.

Posted on by in sowing, spring with 1 Comment


I sowed some seeds at the weekend: a few mangetout, sweetcorn and leeks. The sun was out, the greenhouse warm and all was well. It felt good.

Nothing remotely remarkable about that, of course. It’s April and I had designated last week as Seed Sowing Week on Real Men Sow.

However, I have a confession. After spending previous Januaries, Februaries and Marches exclaiming the virtues of sowing early seeds, the mangetout, sweetcorn and leeks were the first seeds I’ve put in this year. There have been no undercover broadies, taking a flyer in the greenhouse and no use of cloches.

For this year, I’m kicking back and taking my time.

Some of this has been enforced. Rory is growing quicker than any weed and Lewis is just a menace – a beautiful, energetic and very playful menace, but a menace nonetheless. Time has definitely been in short supply since Rory came along and Lewis turned into a proper little boy.

Little Bit Late is Better than a Little Bit Cold
However, I learnt a lovely phrase recently: a little bit late is better than a little bit cold. The basic premise of this tip being that if you think you’re behind with your sowing, you’re likely to be okay because the sun and longer days will be on your side, and you won’t be coercing your seeds into germinating in tricky temperatures.

Looking back, this has regularly been the case for me. I enjoy the challenge of an early sowing, trying to eke out a mangetout harvest earlier and earlier, but actually the spring sowings crack on and are never far behind. My Spring broad beans often prove a better crop than my overwintered ones too.

Trawling back through the blog archives, I even posted about feeling behind back in 2012, but that year was still fine and my harvests still productive. As it goes, I don’t think leaving your sowing until April or May is any great shakes.

I can’t guarantee the caterpillars won’t eat my brassicas or my toms won’t get blight, but I reckon most things will be okay again in 2016, despite my later than usual sowing.

Sowing Steady. Everything is Going to Be Okay :)
With that in mind and the pressure to rush lifted off my shoulders, I can look forward to the next few weeks, and some gentle seed sowing here and there. A few seeds sown in the lighter evenings, a bit at the weekends, and maybe even some early pre-work mornings in the greenhouse with my first cup of tea of the day.

I’ve seen a few people worrying on various social media platforms about being behind with their sowing, so I suppose the moral of this blog post is don’t worry, be happy. We’ve got plenty of time.

As long as you’re inside the dates on the back of the seed packets, everything will be hunky dory. And it’ll probably still be the same even if you’re not.

Happy sowing.

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One Comment

  1. HelleApril 17, 2016 at 8:36 amReply

    I’m with you on this, or will be from next year. This year I’ve started lots of things very early, too early, and some are beginning to suffer from lack of space and light. I love getting started early, but there is just too much hassle with starting too early. Autumn sown broad beans have never worked for me, the spring sown ones are doing just fine. Have fun with the garden and your “menace” ; -)

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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