GBMD: This Rule in Gardens

I saw this in the shop at Mount Usher Gardens last year. I'd never come across this saying before - a little light googling shows its origin goes back centuries.

I must admit I found it a little confusing because water is a vital component of seed sowing as long as the soil is damp, not waterlogged.

The source link above also says this was a traditional adage for March, because it's the month when seed sowing gets going in earnest. My seed tin is in agreement as I have the thickest bulge of packets filed away for this month.

This is a perfect example of how a rule shouldn't be taken at face value, but the meaning behind it needs to be taken into account. I'm pretty sure the "sow dry" isn't about the soil needing to be bone dry, but referring to the land drying out after the winter wet.This would typically happen in March most years, when the other conditions most seeds need - warmth and longer daylength - are also present.

However, as we know from previous years this isn't always the case, making this a rule which is ripe for breaking.

Which seeds do you plan to sow this month, or are your local conditions pointing to a delay?


  1. I love a bit of vintage especially traditional wisdom! I'm very excited by sowing salad leaves on my balcony, spinach and broad beans IN the garden (raised beds = good drainage), sweet peas have gone into modules, as will other flaars, beetroot, tomatoes and peas. I'm staggering my seed sowing so that I have time to plant out at the right time - last year was a bit chaotic due to college work, hopefully I've learned a lesson there!

  2. I might plant out my early seed potatoes in pots in the greenhouse for a small head start. I hope to get the majority of my seed sowing done this month. All of it with some protection of course!

  3. I hope to plant out some onion sets and seed potatoes, and sow some broad beans later in the month ground conditions and weather permitting. Flighty xx

  4. I am delaying planting seeds so that our soil can dry out a bit, it is still so very wet down here in Devon!

  5. I was confused by this saying at first, too; thanks for explaining it, VP. I just sorted through seeds last week and am eager to start some indoor seeds in another week or two, which may seem late to some, but we still have another 10 weeks before our average last frost date. I also have some seeds I like to scatter over melting snow, like poppies and larkspur. Fortunately (or not), Mother Nature is going to accommodate me with another 10 inches of snow this weekend:)

  6. I'm wondering how much I can cram onto the windowsills. One is full already, with tomatoes, spinach and leeks. I need more windowsills! Hopefully I'll sow some peas, beans, courgettes and cucumbers this month.

  7. Pauline is right. I shall be greenhouse sowing only until the soil dries out.

  8. I don't sow anything outside yet, everything is started off indoors in the growhouse or on a windowsill in the house. This week I have sown broad beans, leek, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, chillies and sweet peas. Also today I have planted onion sets in in module trays. I will be sowing peas in guttering in the growhouse this month

  9. Rules are made to be broken (with thought)

  10. Hi everyone - good to see you enjoyed this post and I've enjoyed reading about your plans for this month :-)


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