I’d had my oregano seedlings for less than a week and I thought they might like the kitchen window sill, where on the rare fine day sunlight poured straight in. It began to droop and wilt, edges turning brown. Next time I was at the market I mentioned this anxiously to Kyan, who suggested I needed water. Back out on to our balcony the pot went and within a day the herb was thriving.

There’s little that Seedlings Organics Kyan Sansom doesn’t know about growing seedlings. He believes that anyone can manage to grow them but it  ‘needs to be kept as simple as possible. Sunlight, water and good quality soil’, he says, ‘are the three most important factors.’

The soil is critical : ‘it’s where the plants must live.’ Kyan tells me that an important and often overlooked quality of good growing soil is air.  ‘Forking beds over to increase air is really helpful, as is sowing green manure crops’, he explains. ‘Good drainage is essential.’

This is all very well for those fortunate enough to own a garden.   I ask Kyan if seedlings can be grown in pots on a balcony and he says that plants are more likely to grow to their full potential in a garden as their roots can reach a much greater depth. However, he adds, things like herbs and flowers can be grown quite successfully in a pot. There’s hope, then, for my brave little oregano.

His tips for successful growing are: stay away from nitrogen- based liquid fertilisers, using instead good quality compost; ensure your seedlings are getting 4 – 6 hours of sun a day;  grow in good quality soil; know your plant spacings.

Kyan loves explaining all this and more to his customers.  ‘In my opinion the more people growing their own food the better, and I’m more than happy to help people achieve that.’