When it comes to sowing seeds gardening lore has many variations about how thickly to sow, but they add up to the same advice:
Plant seeds in a row,
one for the pheasant, one for the crow,
one to rot and one to grow. or
Sow seed generously one for the rook, one for the crows
one to die and one to grow.
In short, err on the generous side. Between seed predators and natural failure they're not all going to germinate satisfactorily. And if you're lucky and they do, you should prick out he unwanted seedlings to avoid overcrowding.
Long ago they used to say that to " keep byrdes, antes and mice away from seeds you should sprinkle them first with juice of houseleek." By all means. But it's quicker and easier to roll them in a paraffin damped cloth before sowing, and especially good for broad beans. Little pieces of gorse stuck in the seed rows also helps to deter mice, who don't like a prick in a tender plant any more than we do.
Sow beans in the mud,
they'll grow like wood.
The rule in gardening, never forget,
to sow dry and set wet.
Gardeners are prone to head shaking and pursed lips on the subject of when to sow. These warnings mean be sure the cold, wet phase of spring weather has passed, and the ground is beginning its warming up process, before you sow you seeds. But exactly when that may be depends on the climate where you live, as well as the type of soil in your garden.
If you live in an area of high rainfall, or if you are in the north here the spring warmth comes a week or two later, one solution could be to give your peas and broad beans a good start by sowing them in pots, planting them out when the ground outside is warmer and drier. Seeds can be sown in trays and kept in a greenhouse or on a window ledge and transplanted after hardening off, when a few inches tall. But another saying is who sows in May gets little that way. In other words, don't be over cautious or you may leave it too late.
Set wet is a tip for setting your beans, especially runner beans by watering the flowers, these days placing a sprinkler hose over them saves time. But in a typical British summer you can often leave the rain to do the job for you. Some more food for thought. Till next time, Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa