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Scratching the Gardening Itch

By Jonathan Jones

At the turn of the year I start to get an itch. It is a very specific gardening itch.

Like a lot of persistent itches, it’s next to impossible to resist the urge to scratch. I’m talking about the urge to sow seeds. Keen gardeners reading this will know exactly what I mean.

My hosts here at Suttons are complicit, with their beautifully put together seed catalogues and the oh-so tempting offers that arrive in my email on a daily basis.

I usually get through the tail end of the prior year without succumbing to the temptation to scratch the itch, to sow seeds. I am able to satisfy the craving by poring over seed catalogues, planning what I’ll sow the following year, and placing the all-important seed order.

Once January has rolled around, the urge to scratch the sowing itch becomes impossible for me to ignore.

That’s all well and good but it’s often unhelpful to sow much this early in the year. It’s too cold and the light levels are insufficient, often resulting in poor germination and leggy growth.

But What About the Itch!

I need to scratch it!

Scouring my stock of seeds, I have convinced myself that it would be sensible to sow some chilli seeds. In the UK these need a long growing season to fruit well, so my logic is the sooner I sow, the better.

I have several varieties to try for the first time this year, including one from the new Suttons range – Chilli ‘Pearls’, a mild and fruity variety that I’m looking forward to pickling.

Chilli Pepper Pearls

Chilli seeds need heat to germinate, 18 to 25 degrees Celsius is perfect. I have popped mine in a heated propagator that I built last year, but otherwise a sunny indoor window-sill would serve.

It is still a little early in the year. If I am totally honest with myself, mid-February might be more sensible, but itches need to be scratched.

You’ll be glad to know I haven’t thrown caution completely to the wind – I held back half the seeds from each variety to sow in a month or so. Just in case.

Have you been scratching your sowing itch? What have you sown?



Jonathan Jones is a plant obsessive who has been raising plants from seeds for a few good years with some pretty good results. You can keep up to date with Jonathan’s progress on his blog, The Propagator, and by following him on Twitter.

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One thought on “Scratching the Gardening Itch”

  1. Adam Leone says:

    Ah I know what you what mean! I usually get that itch around March, and then again in September! Chilli seeds, must be sure to give them a go this year 🙂

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