Gardening with Dean: How we plant our salad seeds ready for summer

Follow our step by step guide to see how we plant our salad seeds at Rockingham, ready to be enjoyed throughout the summer

This week in the gardens at Rockingham Castle, the team have started to plan for the summer ahead within the private walled gardens. As a hub for propagating and growing produce for the family to enjoy, now is a perfect time to start sowing salad seeds for nutritious and cost-effective produce.

This process is simple and rewarding, something that anyone can achieve at home on a sunny window ledge or greenhouse!

Here are some tips from our Head Gardener, Dean, on how to get started:

Step 1

As we know, costs are increasing in all areas of the garden with seeds and compost prices that are only going up. By using a half-sized seed trays for sowing you won’t use too much seed compost and you will still have plenty of seedlings. You can normally sow two varieties in each tray as well and then use the seeds you have left over to make repeat sowings over the next few months to give a constant supply.

Step 2

At Rockingham, we use ‘Vermiculite’, a type of crushed, expanded volcanic rock, this helps retain moisture to help in germination and also seems to help with “damping off “ the main enemy of baby plants. Simply put a thin layer over the compost after sowing the seeds instead of the normal last layer of compost.  Vermiculite can be found at many garden stockists and although not essential, it is relatively cheap and really seems to help with getting more seedlings to grow successfully.

Step 3

Sow lots of different varieties of seeds as there are many more salad leaves available to eat than you would find in the supermarkets this is both interesting and healthy for you. Once they begin to develop, pick a selection of smaller leaves and shoots to use as micro-salad. The larger and more established seedlings can then be potted on or out into the garden to flourish into full size produce.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with our Gardening With Dean series across the Rockingham Castle website, Instagram and Facebook – and share your pictures of your summer salads with us!!

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