Time to sow seeds!

January is a great time to plan your garden for the coming year.  You can reflect on what grew well during the last year and think about any planting gaps that need filling.  It is one of life’s little pleasures for us gardeners to browse the seed rack and dream about how green our gardens will grow this summer.  I don’t know about you but I always buy more seeds than I have seed trays to sow them in!

This article looks at planning ahead for the seeds that we know many of you enjoy planting, whether for their beauty, their produce or both!  Be wary of sowing seeds too early.  Whilst this tactic might result in flowers or veg earlier in the season, you are taking a risk that your seeds won’t germinate at a time of year with reduced heat and light.  If they do germinate, you will also need somewhere to protect them and let them grow away from cold weather until it is safe to plant them outside; their tender roots and shoots will be particularly susceptible to frosts or a cold snap.

Bedding and Border Plants

Many people like growing their own floral bedding plants because they feel they get more flowers for their money.

You can grow bedding or longer-lasting border flowering plants to suit every season.  Typically, winter pansy will see you through the winter and early spring months.  Late spring into early summer often brings petunias, busy lizzies and lobelias trailing across borders and hanging baskets.  Finally, late summer to the first frost are well served by border plants such as lupins, cosmos and penstemons.  Some borders plants are biennials – they will flower in their second year. Foxgloves (Digitalis) are one example so you need to sow them late summer with a view to getting flowers the following spring. 

Download our printable guide to sowing flower seeds here.

Find our complete guide to the care of summer bedding here.


Most vegetable seeds are sown in spring although some such as broad beans and asparagus can be sown in November for the year ahead.  It is usual to  sow tender vegetables and salad crops, like pumpkins, courgettes and tomatoes, indoors for the additional heat.  In the spring, with daylight increasing, this will certainly get them germinating more quickly than direct sowing but remember that your indoor-grown specimens will need ‘hardening off’ – acclimatising to outside temperatures – before you plant them out in their permanent positions.

Download our printable seed sowing chart here for the best time of year to plant your choice of salad and vegetable seeds.  Remember that you may want to sow several batches of the same seeds, between 4 and 8 weeks apart, to get succession crops of vegetables, particularly salads and carrots.


There is something to be said for growing tender, ‘kitchen windowsill’ herbs – like basil, chives and parsley – all year round but the reality is that those seeds simply may not germinate in the winter, with less heat and light.  You will probably do better to plant a succession of small batches of the same seeds during the growing season to keep your windowsill stocked.  An established tender herb should survive on a sunny windowsill over winter if it is kept watered and not harvested too drastically!

Download our printable herb seed sowing guide here for the best time to sow them.

Find our general tips on sowing seeds here.




N. Haggard 20 September 2022

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how delighted I am with my new garden.

Jon, my designer, listened to my ideas and delivered on everything I asked for. I wanted something different to any garden I’d had before, no lawn, no landscaping but packed with plants. He designed such a lovely secret garden, around a statement tree. And I have to commend him for his unwavering patience! I changed my mind a hundred times but never did he give me the impression that he was losing patience with my endless indecision. And my confidence in him led me to place an order for over £10k.

My landscaping team, Blade and Tony, were exceptional, from their work ethic, skill and knowledge, to the way they dealt with me, the customer. My standards are very high and I couldn’t fault them.

All in all, a very professional team of people. And it showed that they all care. I’m over the moon with the finished result. I will send you a before and after photo. Thank you so much.

A delighted customer.

G. Gray. May 2022

My front garden has been transformed by Andy and Bradley who both worked incredibly hard and I am delighted with the result. Andy had the vision and skill to turn my idea into reality and I can't thank him enough.

C. Haig Sept 2021

We recently had our garden landscaped by Hambrooks and I just wanted to pass on my thanks, not just for the outcome - which is superb - but for the professionalism of all the staff involved on the job who are all a credit to you company. Mike, Dave, Les and Adam.

H. Sharp Sept 2021

I just wanted to let you know how delighted I am with my new garden. Melanie was a delight to work with and the ideas she had have worked perfectly. Also Sheldon laid the patio beautifully and him and Dave were a pleaseure to have at my house. Quiet workers and polite.

B. Rendell April 2021

I would like to say how delighted we are with the work carried out. Mel, Paul and Tony all worked very hard, they totally took on board the specific need relating to safety as well as the general garden issues. Paul and Tony were excellent at consulting and discussing with me what I felt best in terms of the brief and adjusting if and as necessary, constantly pleasant and polite to deal with. Mel had picked up on particular issues from the first consultation and offered valuable advice. The outcome means a great deal less worry for me going forward.
Altogether a very positive experience and outcome which I would not hesitate to recommend to others.

Stephen March 2021

Dom and Adam's work (garden maintenance) is greatly appreciated. Dom really listened to everything we discussed very carefully and went out of his way to understand and then act upon that discussion. We are extremely pleased with the work done - both to the pond and pyracantha.


We have been coming to Hambrooks for years and it's our favourite garden centre because of its friendly helpful staff and a great selection of plants and trees and the garden design ideas.

“We wanted to write and say how pleased we are with our low maintenance garden makeover. We are very impressed with the attitude of your staff who were prepared to listen to our requirements. Your team John and Rick brushed up and left everything tidy at the end of the day. We now have a garden we can manage and it looks great. THANK YOU HAMBROOKS.”

Mr & Mrs Venables, Southampton. April 2019

“Dear Josh & Mike We just want to say you both did a brilliant job of designing our garden along with the guys who did the work who were amazing. A few weeks on its looks even better now some of the plants are blooming. Thank you!!”

Mr & Mrs Gazzard, Winchester July 2019

“To James, John & Rikki. Thank you so much, we are delighted with our new garden. We really appreciate the attention to detail, the high quality workmanship and the standard of the finished project. We are amazed at how John & Rikki resolved the difficulties of the site and by the quality of their craftmanship. It was a pleasure to work with them and thank you for making our ideas into something we will enjoy for years to come.”