Sarah Raven reveals why you shouldn't be sowing all seeds in a seedling tray

Gardening expert Sarah Raven recommends sowing some seeds in gutters, particularly for seedlings that are fussy to transplant – and it's great if you have heavy clay soil

Sarah Raven sowing seeds into seed trays
(Image credit: Photography © Jonathan Buckley)

February is the perfect time to begin sowing seeds as we look ahead to spring. Sarah Raven has shared a successional seed sowing tip that will allow you to keep your garden productive and full of life. 

Whether you're just learning how to grow flowers from seeds or are an experienced gardener, using gutters when sowing seeds will help you to get seedlings off to a strong start. 

Sarah Raven is an English gardener, cook and writer. You can buy seeds, plants, bulbs, and gardening kits on her website.

Sarah Raven sowing seeds into seed trays

(Image credit: Photography © Jonathan Buckley)

Planting seeds in gutters

Sarah is a fan of sowing into gutters, which you can get cheaply from builders’ merchants. You might want to try this cheap garden idea indoors, or in a potting shed to avoid wind or bad winter weather.

Gutters are ideal to use instead of direct sowing into the soil, especially if you live in an area with heavy clay soil. They are great for plants that don’t like their roots to be disturbed, and for successional sowing – for example, parsley, lettuce and salads. 

With pea tips or beetroot, Sarah will sow clumps of seed in stations along the gutter, not covering until all the seed has been placed. Then, she will lightly press in or cover seeds with a light dusting of compost. 

Sarah Raven sowing seeds into seed trays

(Image credit: Photography © Jonathan Buckley)

When planting out in flower beds or raised garden beds, place hands between plants gently and push the seedling out of the mouth of the gutter and into a prepared row in the garden. Next, move the gutter along and push out the next plant, spaced about 10in (25cm) apart. 

Sarah says that sowing seeds in a gutter is also a good mind jogger for successional sowing. Once a gutter has been planted, you can go back and sow more seed.

This is a great way of ensuring a good succession of plants all the way through the growing season. Whether you're growing vegetables and salad or flowers, a gutter is a handy seed-sowing tool that serves as a visual reminder to plant more and keep your garden blooming.

Sarah Raven sowing seeds into seed trays

(Image credit: Photography © Jonathan Buckley)

Lots of half-sown seed packets hidden at the back of the drawer? Sorting out your seeds in time for sowing is one of the best February gardening jobs to tick off when preparing your garden for spring.

Will you be trying out Sarah Ravens successional seed sowing tip?

Millie Hurst
Millie Hurst

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.