Categories
Growing Guide

Wildflower Seeds (Not Edible)

A mix of seeds to create a beautiful wildflower habitat and encourage biodiversity in urban landscapes.

Sowing Rate:

1 – 2 g/m2

Contains:

Buttercup, White Campion, Corncockle, Cornflower, Corn Chamomile, Field Forget-me-not, Corn Marigold, Scentless Chamomile, Common Poppy, Field Pansy

Wildflower Site Preparation

Cultivate to achieve a fine seed bed, sow seed mix and then roll to ensure firmness. The best results are obtained when there is good contact between the soil and the seeds.

Sowing Times

Sowing can best be achieved by mixing the seed with dry sand, dry sifted topsoil or sawdust and evenly broadcast. It is important that the seed is in contact with moisture in the soil so the seedbed should be lightly raked and then watered.

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Growing Guide

Sunflower (Bambino)

Helianthus annuus

Sunflower Bambino produces dwarf, single, lemon yellow medium sized flowers with dark centres. This is a non-branchig variety which can reach a height of 40cm (16″) which makes them the ideal choice for using as cut flowers, containers or borders.

WHEN TO SOW

April to May

WHERE TO SOW

Sow seed thinly, 12mm (1/2″) deep in drills 45cm (18″) apart in well cultivated soil raked to a fine tilth. Germination usually takes 15-21 days.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

When large enough to handle, thin to 45cm (18″) apart.

FOR EARLIER SOWINGS

Sow indoors, individually in 7.5cm (3″) pots at 20-25°C (68-77°F). When well grown, gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions before planting out after all risk of frost in a well drained soil in full sun.

FLOWERS

July to August.

HANDY TIP

Dead head regularly to encourage continuous flowering.

Seed Saving
: Allow seeds to form on the largest heads and allow to dry and then harvest the seeds.

Nutritional Values: Sunflower seeds are rich in the B complex vitamins, which are essential for a healthy nervous system, and are a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin E.

Culinary uses:
Sunflower heads are edible and are delicious roasted with a little salt and pepper and olive oil.

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Growing Guide

Garlic Chives

Allium tuberosum

Garlic Chives are also known as Chinese Chives or Chinese Leek. They are similar in appearance to ordinary chives but with a flatter broader leaf and a mild sweet garlic flavour. Garlic Chives have beautiful white ‘starry’ allium flowers that would not go amiss in the flower garden. These flowers are also edible with a mild garlic taste and are loved by bees & butterflies.

Garlic Chives are perennial and the ‘cut & come’ again leaves benefit from snipping regularly to encourage new growth but do leave some to flower. These herbs are used extensively in Oriental cooking adding flavour to lots of dishes like stir fries, soups, omelettes and as garnishes to salads. They also make great micro-greens & baby leaves.

Garlic Chives are a real winner not only edible leaves and flowers but pretty enough for the flower garden & food for beneficial insects.


When to Sow: March-May.
How to Sow: Direct sow seeds in pre-watered drills 12mm deep, in rows 30cm apart, lightly cover with fine soil. Germination takes 10-15 days. When large enough thin seedlings to every 15cm. Alternatively sow under glass & keep at a temperature of about 20C. Pot on & then plant out in late spring. Plant at 15cm intervals.

Care: Keep watered. After a couple of years chives like to be divided in March or October, as it stops the bulbs becoming congested and less productive. Just divide up a clump into smaller clumps and pot up straight away – new plants for free. Although it is a perennial evergreen in very cold winters it may die back, but will regrow in spring, a thick layer of mulch around the plant in autumn may help.

Harvest: 10 weeks from spring sowings onwards. As a perennial they will be ready to pick from year to year from April to October and if a plant is potted up in September – it can be picked for a further 6 weeks. Just cut the chives with sharp scissors leaving 5cm of chive leaf, cut the outside leaves first and work inwards as more chives required and they will regrow.

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Growing Guide

Speedy Cress

Lepidium sativum

Cress is the simplest of food crops but is incredibly delicious. It makes a good and easy to grow Watercress substitute. Cress has a peppery flavour making it the perfect final touch to a sandwich. Cress is also a great little plant for young children to grow.

How to grow Cress plants from seed

  • When sowing indoor Cress You can literally lay the seed on damp on tissue or a small layer of compost.
  • If sowing outside, sow in blocks creating a good thick covering of cress when they germinate.
  • Rake the ground level and lightly firm. Sow cress seeds as evenly as possible over the area
  • Keep these seeds well-watered using a watering can with a rose head turned upside down. This will avoid splashing the seeds out.

How to grow cress seeds in cotton wool?

Grow a cress egg head! A great easy to grow plant that children can grow. Grow it in used egg-shells with the tops knocked off. Decorate them first with paint and draw on a face.

Fill the egg-shell with soil, kitchen roll or cotton wool and sprinkle the Cress seed on thickly. Cress will grow to make an edible hairstyle. Crop and eat when at seedling stage using a pair of scissors to harvest.

How long does cress take to grow?

Speedy cress can be grown indoors all year round, and takes just 6-8 days to reach maturity.

Categories
Growing Guide

Pumpkin (Jack be Little)

Cucurbita pepo

Jack be Little certainly does live up to its name by producing beautiful small round orange fruits that are small enough that they make the perfect serving dish for pumpkin soup once the flesh has been used. This variety of pumpkin produces a late summer and autumn crop of approximately 8 fruits per plant.

WHEN TO SOW

April to May under glass Mid May to June outdoors

Where to Sow

Sow seed on edge 1.5cm (1/2″”) deep to prevent rotting in pots or trays during April to May 2.5cm (1″”) apart under glass at 20°C (68°F) using good quality seed sowing compost. Sow outdoors mid-May to June direct into growing site 1.5cm (1/2″”) deep 2 to 3 seeds in each position 60cm (24″”) apart.

What to do next

Greenhouse sowings should be gradually hardened off once they have developed the first pair of rough leaves and transplanted to growing site in late-May to early-June 60-90cm (24-36″”) apart once all risk of frost has past. Outdoor sowings should be thinned to one plant per station.

MATURITY

September to October

HANDY TIP

Always grow pumpkins in a sunny spot in rich fertile soil. Water regularly once fruits start to swell.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

A good source of pro-vitamin A, vitamins B1, C and E.

Categories
Growing Guide

Radish (French Breakfast)

Raphanus sativus

A fast cropping variety, producing cylindrical red radishes, tipped with white. The roots are crisp and have a mild flavour, perfect for adding to summer salads. Radishes grow well in most soils, but prefer rich, moist free draining soils.

Sow seeds very thinly 1cm (0.5in) deep in drills 15cm (6in) apart. Thin out the seedlings to 20mm (3/4 in) as necessary, Ready to harvest from 21 days from sowing.

Top Tip:
Sow little and regularly for continuous succulent roots throughout the summer.

Culinary note:
Green seed pods are edible and delicious stir fried. So let a few go to seed instead of harvesting the root, and of course save some seed for next year too!

Companion planting: Try growing radishes with mint to deter flea beetles, which chew irregular holes in the leaves.

Categories
Growing Guide

Rainbow Chard

Beta vulgaris

The fresh crinkly, edible leaves can be picked when young and used in salads dishes. Larger leaves can be cooked and served like spinach or the leaves can be cooked by steaming. There are a wide number of recipes available for cooking chard.

Seed sowing

Seeds can be sown indoors, in a greenhouse in March and April to give the plants a head start. You can sow the seed clusters 2cm deep in pots or modular trays of damp seed compost at the rate of one per pot or module. Each cluster will produce 3-5 seedlings, so you will need to reduce these to one healthy plant. Ensure the pots or trays do not dry out. Germination takes 5-7 days.

Alternatively, you can sow directly outdoors into well prepared seed beds from April to July. Create a furrow around 2cm deep and sow the seeds thinly. Cover with fine soil and water with a watering can and fine rose attachment. Thin the emerging seedlings to 30cm apart for large plants, much less if growing for cut and come again baby leaves.

Growing in containers

Rainbow chard will grow well in containers of fertile soil or compost and the plants looks great placed on a sunny patio. Plants that have been grown under cover can be transplanted to containers from May onwards or when all danger of frost has passed. It’s always a good idea to acclimatise (harden off) plants that are grown under cover as they will be tender and susceptible to frost and wind damage.

Chard like to be positioned in full sun or partial shade but must be kept watered during dry weather. A liquid fertiliser feed can be applied every 2 weeks to ensure the plants grow strong and healthy.

Harvesting and storage

For a continuous fresh supply of leaves for salads, pick young leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Just one or two crops will keep the supply coming all through the summer months and well into the autumn. For cooking, large leaves can be harvested at any time but again the more you pick the more you will get. It’s best to cut through the stems cleanly with a sharp knife, leaving a few centimetres of stem in the ground, and working your way from the outside inwards.

Rainbow chard can be frozen for up to a year if first blanched and then packed in airtight bags.

Nutritional Values:

Vitamins A, C and K and many other trace elements. It has anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves also contain a high level of nitrates, which are known to reduce blood pressure, and alpha-lipoic acid, which is known to control blood sugar levels.

Categories
Growing Guide

Carrot (Little Fingers)

Daucus carota

Little Finger Carrots are quick maturing, extremely sweet, gourmet miniature carrots with 4in cylindrical blunt tipped roots with very little core. Easy and quick to grow and can be planted densely, ideal for smaller spaces.

Dig or till the carrot bed when the soil is on the dry side to avoid making lumps. Work the soil to a fine texture 15-25cm (4-6 in.) deep to allow the carrot roots to grow long and shapely.

Sow seed thinly in rows Mar – Jul, 1cm (1/2 in.) deep, 23-30cm (9-12 in.) between the rows as soon as the danger of hard frost has passed. Try to get about 4 seeds per 2cm (1 in.). Thin to 2in between carrots when large enough to handle.

Top Tips:

  • Avoid freshly-manured soil, which may produce hairy, rough roots and will cause forks and splits;
  • Dispose of thinned seedlings to avoid attracting Carrot Fly.

Companion planting: alternate rows with alliums (onions, leeks, chives, spring onions). This will help deter carrot fly.

Categories
Growing Guide

Spinach (Samish F1)

Spinacia oleracea

A small-leaved, very tender spinach for salads and cooking. Good mildew resistance and moderately winter hardy – good for late season cropping. Grow as baby leaf under glass throughout the winter.

Outdoors: sow thinly, March-September, where they are to crop, 2.5cm (1″) deep, directly into finely-prepared, fertile, moisture-retentive soil, which has already been watered.

Early sowings may benefit from cloche protection. Seedlings usually appear in 7-14 days. Water well and ensure soil remains moist to prevent plants running to seed. No thinning is necessary if only baby leaves are required. Thin to 10cm (4″) apart to produce mature plants.

Sowings from July onwards should only be grown for baby leaves. Allow 30cm (1′) between rows.

Harvest: May-October. Harvest unthinned as baby leaves. Take a few leaves from the outer sides of each plant, allowing them to regrow for two or three more pickings.


Top Tip:
Regular sowings, made every two to three weeks, will ensure a continuous supply. Pick young leaves regularly to encourage further growth.

Seed Saving: Don’t save seed from these as they are F1 hybrid and will not come true.

Categories
Growing Guide

Dwarf French Bean (Masterpiece)

Phaseolus vulgaris

Masterpiece is a long standing, popular choice with most keen bean growers. It produces early crops of large, flat, bright green, podded type beans. This variety is very much suitable for early sowing under cloches or outside.

Sow: April to June.

Early sowings can be made under glass at a temperature of 16°C. Sow into 8cm pots or modular trays filled with seed sowing compost.

Outside sowings can be made from May onwards into the growing site 5cm deep. Sow 2-3 seeds every 20cm apart with rows spaced 45cm apart. Seedlings sown under glass should be gradually hardened off before planting outside in late May to the above spacing, once all risk of frost has past.

Direct sown seedlings can be thinned out as required. Water regularly during dry weather.

Ready to harvest from July to September.