Top 10 best herbs to start growing

At Seed Pantry we believe one of the best places to start growing your own food is with the flavour sensation of herbs and spices! They are easy to grow, care for, and produce lots of ingredients for cooking with.

Most herbs produce wonderful flowers too that bees and other pollinators absolutely love. This will help create your own eco-garden for pollinating your crops and for conservation purposes that help bees to survive.

There are many herbs to choose from,  so where do you start!?  Well, below we have put together our top 10 Seed Pantry favourites to grow, to eat!

Basil

Why we love it: Basil is such a great herb, it comes in many varieties and is most well know for cooking Italian food dishes. From classic Genovese basil to lemon basil and Thia Basil for an Asian cuisine twist. Basil plants are from the mint family and are used for adding sweet flavours to dishes and deserts!. Our favourite of which is Basil ‘Rubin’, which is a dark purple variety that is stunning but also delicious!

Health benefits: Basil is great for aiding with digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties too. It is also great for supporting liver function, studies have shown it helps boost neurotransmitters and aid hormones to fight depression!

Rosemary

Why we love it: Rosemary is such a tasty herb and it couldn’t be easier to grow! Get some seeds started and in no time you will have bushes of the stuff! The yield of the plant is one of the reasons it is so great. One plant can produce more than enough herbs for year round use. Add to Italian dishes and roasted potatoes, they are just superb!

Health benefits:  Rosemary is rich in antioxidants which helps boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. research has also shown that the aroma of rosemary can help with concentration as well as enhance memory and mood. Rosemary oil is also used to help prevent hair loss!

Thyme

Why we love it: Thyme is another sensational aromatic herb which lends itself to many forms of culinary use. Its unique flavour aids itself to all kinds of dishes, not to mention it is loaded with vitamin C and A!  Our Broadleaf Thyme even grows little pink flowers that bees love! It is perfect when mixed with garlic or lemon for roasted dishes.

Health benefits:  Thyme is packed full of Vitamin A and C. It also has Thymol, which is a compound that has been shown to fight infectious bacteria.

Parsley

Why we love it: This Mediterranean herb is a staple of stews and one pot dishes. Its mildly bitter taste actually helps balance other flavours. Because of this, it is excellent for creating sauces such as pesto and chimichurri! Our Parsley ‘Italian Giant’ as a slightly sweeter taste so makes for a perfect starting point!

Health benefits:  Parsley is very high in vitamin K which is important for bone health and for healing wounds. On top of this, parsley contains Lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin which are carotenoids that help protect your eyes and aid eye health!

Coriander

Why we love it: Coriander is probably the most polarising herb out there, with many loving it and others hating it. We sit in the first camp, and cannot imagine ever making any Asian food dish without it! They are really quick and easy to grow too and the whole of the plant is edible. Our coriander ‘Confetti’ has very interesting unique foliage but with classic coriander taste! Finley chopped and sprinkling into a curry is just a dream!

Health benefits:   Coriander is good for diabetes as It can stimulate the insulin secretion and lower the blood sugar levels. On top of this, they are rich in antioxidants and as well as having skin health aiding qualities.

Lemon Grass

Why we love it:  The next herb on our list is a staple of Asian cuisine, However many do not know its uses in western dishes. its citrus lemon flavour lends itself to all kinds of dishes and deserts. It’s amazing with Thai curries and soups but also cooked with meats to give them a zesty flavour.  Lemon Grass can even be used to make delicious teas!

Health benefits:   Lemongrass has been shown to help relax the body and relieve anxiety with its aroma and taste. Digestion of lemongrass has been seen to decrease fungal diseases as well. Lemongrass tea has been shown to help alleviate the body from sensing pain!

Sage

Why we love it:  Another Mediterranean classic herb, with a slightly bitter taste but with citrusy notes as well. It is perfectly paired with rosemary, marjoram and thyme for stuffings but It can be used for so much more! It is amazing in French and Italian food dishes and complements garlic and lemon very well too!

Health benefits:   Studies have shown sage helps fight bacteria that creates dental plaque, making it useful for dental health. There have even been mouthwashes made from sage for this purpose! On top of this, they are absolutely filled with antioxidants, that help neutralize potentially harmful free radicals that are linked to chronic diseases.

Chives

Why we love it:  Chive leaves are just delicious when finely chopped and added to dishes. It pairs particularly well with potatoes and garlic. The taste is between onions, leeks and garlic making it easy to add to many styles of cuisine. Like most the herbs on this list, they require very low maintenance.

Health benefits:   Chives contains an abundance of Vitamin A,  which helps aid the immune system and reproduction. They also contain allicin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure to help blood flowing properly and thus protecting the heart!

Mint

Why we love it:  Probably the most well known of the herbs as it is used all over the world in what seems like every kind of food and drink! From cooked food, teas to ice cream, mint can be added to almost anything! Add to drinks to make an amazing cocktail or even baked into cakes.

Health benefits:  Mint contains the essential oil Menthol, which has been hailed as a great natural pain relief for colds, upset stomach and indigestion. Menthol is a natural aromatic decongestant that helps to break up phlegm and mucus, making it easier to remove from the body. on top of this, it is loaded with Vitamin A which aids the immune system.

Marjoram

Why we love it:  Finally we have Marjoram,  which has a sweet and floral taste. Often mixed up with oregano, however, it is its own unique herb with it’s own unique delicate taste. It is at its best when cooking with meats like pork, chicken and turkey.

Health benefits: This aromatic herb can help to aid digestion but also help with heartburn and indigestion. On top of this, marjoram is a great antiseptic and can help fight against common illnesses such as food poisoning, common cold and even malaria!

 

The fresher, the better with herbs! We have a whole range of different herbs you can grow today at Seed Pantry, so make sure to come and check them out!

Need a gift? – We also have our amazing Herb Seeds Starter Pack. This is packed full of all you’ll need to start growing your own delicious organic herbs at home in an eco-friendly way.

Seed Pantry Team.

Make the most of your Growing Space with Vertical Gardening!

Making the most of our growing spaces is a big part of gardening, so it’s no surprise that growing vertically is a new gardening trend for 2020.  This is perfect for smaller growing spaces like patios, balconies and even indoor gardens.

Growing vertically isn’t just a good way to make the most of your space, it can also be an easier and more fun way to manage your plants! So we have come up with a few ways you can start gardening vertically today!

Vertical Vegetable Gardens

A common misconception when growing vegetables is that they need to be grown in the ground with a lot of space. This isn’t the case however and a lot of vegetables can be grown in smaller spaces quite easily!

If you have not got enough space in your garden to grow in the ground, try growing vertically. There are a lot of ways to do this, such as wooden tray shelvings, pods and pots that can be attached to walls and many more. We have seen many people take the DIY approach also making vertical growing spaces out of wooden pallets and recyclable plastic bottles, so get creative!

Herbs, quick crops and leafy greens are great vegetables to use for this as they do not require that much soil and space to grow!

Indoor Herb Wall

Why not make the most of your indoor space too! Having homegrown herbs handy in the kitchen will make cooking fresher and much more convenient! if you don’t have space in the kitchen, try to grow some in another sunny room in your home.

By using windowsills and ledges around windows you can set up and grow plenty of plants! If you have a conservatory, you can move shelving towards the light and plant a whole row of herbs and food plants. If you don’t have enough light, you could use a hydroponic kit like our Grow Pod 2. Set one these on your kitchen window sill and you be growing all kinds of herbs, fruits and vegetables in no time at all!

You can grow all types of herbs indoors such as basil, coriander and parsley. We have a wide range of great herbs you can start growing indoors in the Grow Club this month, so have a look at those too!

Hanging Baskets Flower Displays

Hanging baskets are always a brilliant way to get more flowers into your growing space without using floor space! They are also a great way to make unique and beautiful displays.

With the use of hanging pots or containers, you can hang flowers from walls, balconies or fences in your growing space. Fill them with a dazzling array of colours and flowers and you will be able to create unique displays that sit above the rest of your growing space!

One of the best flowers to do this with are begonia and viola flowers, which both just love to cascade down from baskets creating gorgeous and intriguing displays!

We have a great range of Begonia flowers in the Grow Club this month, so come have a look and plan your hanging basket displays now!

 

Seed Pantry Team

 

How to Chit and Grow Potatoes in containers

A good spud, nothing quite beats it, a staple food appearing on dinner plates across the land! We can’t wait to grow potatoes this year! Luckily they are in the Grow Club this month! But how do you get them started?!

We have put together this guide to help you to grow your own potatoes!

What is Chitting I hear you say!? First of all, once you have bought your seed potatoes (it’s best to buy them so you know what you are growing and that they are disease-free)  you can start chitting them on your window sills. Chitting is the process of getting your seed potatoes to sprout before planting them. While it is not absolutely necessary to grow your potatoes, it does help them develop quicker once planted, it will speed up the sprouting process by giving them plenty of light and warmth resulting in an earlier and slightly better harvest.

1)  To start chitting your potatoes, we recommend putting them into egg boxes with the rose end facing upwards.

Place the egg box onto a windowsill indoors where they will get plenty of light and also are kept warm and dry.

2)  Wait till the potatoes start to grow green shoots while hopefully the weather gets warmer and the frosts come to an end.  After this, you will be able to start planting the potatoes.

3)  Now we can plant the potatoes!  Spread 15cm of potting compost to the bottom of a container. Evenly space 3 or 4 (max) seed potatoes with their green shoots facing upwards. After this, cover the seed potatoes with another 15cm layer of compost.

4) When the foliage shows through the compost, allow it to grow to around 20cm high, then cover with another 15cm of compost leaving 5cm showing. (Repeat until the container is full.)

5) Potatoes in bags and containers require plenty of water particularly during dry weather so make sure to keep the soil moist and water regularly.  You can add a general liquid feed once a week to boost production.

Time to harvest

From June you can begin to harvest your tasty potatoes. A good way to see that your potatoes are ready to harvest is to look out for signs from the foliage. For the early crops,  wait until flowers grow and then drop off before harvesting. For main crops, wait until the foliage starts to yellow. Once this happens, cut the foliage back and wait a few more days before harvesting.

Seed Potatoes planted during March/April.

  • 1st early crops take 10-14 weeks – harvest from June onwards.
  • 2nd early crops take 14-16 weeks – harvest from late June onwards.
  • Main crop take 16-22 weeks – harvest from July to October.
  • Salads potatoes treat as 2nd early types.

We have a range of quality seed potatoes at Seed Pantry, so come check them out and get some spuds growing at your home too!

Enjoy 🙂

Seed Pantry Team

Neil: What’s going on in my garden? (January, 2020)

Winter appears as the season where the garden bare, dead even! however, under the surface, everything is slowly coming alive! Over the last week, it feels like Spring is right around the corner! 🌱

We are in the South so maybe we are further on down here? We have snowdrops and cyclamens in flower with crocus just about to flower too, given a bit of sunshine!

From the planting I have been doing in Autumn we also have narcissus and the green shoots of allium flowers popping up too!

#Spring is coming 😀

Neil

Seed Pantry Team

Nick: What’s going on in my garden? (January, 2020)

Currently, the only food plants I have growing are my chillies. I planted 6 different varieties but in a classic Nick move, I didn’t label any, so it will be a surprise as they grow! Oh well, still can’t wait for this year’s mouth burners!

In the garden, I have curated a few pots of various tulips which I’m extremely excited about! Last year, I planted bulbs with little to no thought about colour matches or design while this year, I have gone for an orange/red on white colour scheme, so hopefully, come Spring, my neighbours will be super jealous! 😉

Elsewhere my Crocus flowers have all started to take form but have yet to grace me with flowers, though some are very close! Hopefully, there won’t be much more frost over the next few weeks!

I am saving pots and space in the garden for dahlia flowers coming up in March! They were my favourite plants from last year so I’m very excited about those! 😃

Let us know what’s going on in your garden at this time of year?! 😁

Nick

The Rookie Gardener

Seed Pantry

How to start growing your own vegetables

Seed Pantry – getting the kids involved with food growing at home!

It’s Veganuary and many of us are switching to plant-based diets for health benefits and helping the climate. At Seed Pantry we  always encouraged our green-fingered fans to plant and grow their own vegetables, salads and herbs and #Veganuary is a month we fully support!

As well as being cost-effective and environmentally friendly, growing your own food; vegetables, salads and herbs means you can eat completely organic produce freshly picked by you with the best flavours and nutritional value. Growing your own food locally means no high-carbon transport miles which is far better for the planet.  Tending plants is so rewarding and connecting with nature is proven to lower stress levels and improve overall well-being!  So what’s not to love!?

With this all in mind, we have put together a quick guide to help those who want to start off their own journey of growing food! It can be daunting and confusing at first, so make certain to follow this guide to get yourself ahead.

What’s the best thing to start with?

Micro-greens – spicy radish shoots

There are lots of great places to start on your growing adventure. One of the easiest food crops to start with is growing your own micro-greens and herbs. These a great easy way to dip your toes into the world of growing your own food. Try growing spicy radish shoots, you grow them for a 5-7 days in a tray with a little compost (1cm deep) – seeds are scattered liberally and bobs your uncle! Cut them and eat as you need on a sandwich or in side salads. Both micro-greens and herbs can be grown indoors on your window sills and with minimal space and equipment. We have loads of great food and flower options on the Seed Pantry website.

Rocket and chilli crops

From there we would recommend trying fast-growing leafy greens like rocket, lettuce, pak choi, mustard leaves and small single plant crops such as cherry tomatoes, chillies, both grown in pots indoors. They will require a little more attention than micro-greens and herbs but still remains light work. However, the more work, the more satisfying the crop! We have a whole range of tomatoes and chillies in the Grow Club this month (Jan 2020) so come and have a look!

Where and when do I plant and grow?

One of the biggest struggles new growers find is that it is hard to choose what to grow and when. A common mistake with new growers is the belief that they can start growing what they like when they like. With some plants, this may work, however, most plants benefit from being planted at the right time to develop through their desired seasons.

We have put together a very useful Urban Veggie Table with all you need to know about when to sow, plant and harvest various types of fruits and vegetables. With this, you will be able to work out what you can plant around that given time of year and where to grow it.
When choosing what veg to grow, the amount of space you have to grow will have an impact on what choices you should make, so make sure to check how big plants can grow that you wish to grow first.

What do I need?

Sowing seeds, propagators, rice husk pots

All you really need to start growing is some seeds, compost and a small space in the ground or pots and containers, for indoors or outdoors, to start food growing, but there are also a few other bits you could use to make your life easier! Propagators are great for starting off your seeds and getting them going in a protected environment, as quick as possible, particularly for warmer climate crops like chillies. They will help develop seedlings before planting them in bigger pots or veg patches.

Another amazing and smart piece of technology you could use to help grow food is a hydroponic planter. This device helps develop and grow plants as easily as possible by providing the light and water your plants need continually so that you don’t have too! You can see the Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 here and we think it is rather brilliant!

Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2

How do I keep my plants going?

Caring for your plants is one of the most rewarding parts, so make sure your plants have everything they need to survive. Take note of how much water and sun each plant will need and provide it’s desired amount as it grows.  Some plants need potting on to bigger pots/containers or planting seedlings out in veg patches once they’re big enough and some may need a little maintenance along the way, such as pruning or clipping to keep them tidy and focused on growing your food crops, but most should be happy as long as they get the water and sunlight they need! Look out for slugs and other creatures who may want a nibble also!

One last thing that you will probably need is…patience! Unfortunately, plants do not grow to full size overnight and need a little time to develop and grow. Give your plants the time they need and some love and you will have amazing crops in no time! Watching nature is truly one of life’s most rewarding things!

We’re here to help you get started…

At Seed Pantry we are encouraging everyone to grow some of their own food plants and flowers, as its fun, educational and tasty too! We provide the seeds, bulbs, equipment and expertise you’ll need to grow food at home!
Our experts are also available to help you every step of the way within our online community, via social channels and more – visit www.seedpantry.co.uk

For more information on Veganuary, their website is here: https://uk.veganuary.com/ 

Our New Partnership with Thrive 💚

We recently visited Thrive, an amazing charity that provides social and therapeutic horticulture (STH). With the use of trained horticultural therapists, they work with plants and people to improve an individual’s physical and psychological health, communication and thinking skills. 🌱

Seed Pantry was founded with the mission of helping others enjoy the rewards of nature, so we fully support their cause. All of us here have seen first hand the benefits of spending time in nature and the positive impact it can have on a person’s life.

Please go check them out and support them, they do such great work and we are so happy to be working with them – we are sending further details in our boxes this month 💚

Link: https://www.thrive.org.uk/ 

Seed Pantry Team

Christmas Gift Guide for Gardeners

With Christmas fast approaching and the gift-giving period nearly upon us, we have created the ultimate Seed Pantry gardeners gift guide to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones!

Everything we make at Seed Pantry is dedicated to our mission of getting more people growing plants, food and flowers and to enjoy the rewards of nature, wherever you live!

For the Indoor Grower

For those who want to grow from the comfort of their own home or desktop, the Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 is a fantastic gift. Designed to produce ultra-fresh food indoors with an LED grow light, hydroponically, with no soil, no mess and be hassle-free. You don’t need to be a gardener or green-fingered, the Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 does the work for you! It’s perfect for growing herbs, chillies, tomatoes, salads, flowers and fruiting vegetables, in the kitchen, on a desktop, anywhere really!

Price: £69.99

 The House Plant Enthusiast

For those who prefer to keep their gardens indoors, we have a range of gifts for them. Our Easy Grow Kits come with everything you need to start growing indoor plants like cactus, areca palms, Venus flytraps, Jalapenos and even Coffee bean plants!

Each kit comes with pots, seeds and growing medium, so your gift recipient can start growing in no time!

Price: £10.00

The Family Presents

Our Jumbo Summer Allotment Starter Pack is full of everything you need to start your own home allotment veg patch. With all the kit needed to start propagating seeds the kit includes tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, lettuces, french beans, herbs and more, the pack is perfect for any budding gardeners, green-fingered chefs and all the family to enjoy!

Price: £38.00

Another great family gift would be our Grow Club Gift Subscriptions. Monthly personalised discovery boxes delivered at the right time to grow each month, gift recipients will always be on top of what to do in their garden along with gaining knowledge and expertise as they go. Instead of just one gift for Christmas, you can give one every month of the year, for the whole family to enjoy!

Price from £39 for a 3 month subscription

6 months: £78

12 months: £156

The Thrill Seeker 

For those who live life on the edge and love a challenge, we have our Hottest Chillies in the World Easy Grow Kit! containing not one, not two, but three varieties of the world’s hottest chilli seeds inside! (Guinness book of records).  Each tin includes seeds, growing medium, easy instructions and a tin that doubles up as a pot, so everything needed to embark on a fiery adventure!

Price: £12.00

The Expert

Recently introduced at Seed Pantry is a new range of top-quality garden tools, that are expertly crafted and perfect for both experienced and novice growers alike. Tools ranging from beautiful Japanese forged, Garden Secateurs for all pruning situations, to durable and sturdy cultivation tools; bulb planters, spades, transplanting trowels, dibbers and forks that are handcrafted in the Netherlands. There is a tool for everyone and every garden situation.

Prices starting from: £20.00

Another great gift for the garden expert in your life is our Grow Club Pro-Box. Monthly personalised boxes delivered at the right time to grow each month for food and flower growing, with a wide range of seasonal plants, flower bulbs and seed to choose from, delivered to your door.

Price: £19.99 a month

The Beginner

For those who are starting out and dipping their toes into the gardening world for the first time, the Herb Seeds Starter Pack would be perfect! Packed with all you’ll need to start growing your own delicious organic herbs like basil and coriander at home as quickly and easily as possible. A great way to start on the journey of connecting with nature!

Price: £26.00

Another great option would be our Grow Club Discovery Box – Gift Subscriptions. Monthly personalised boxes are delivered at the right time to grow each month. Gift recipients will always be on top of what to do in their garden spaces, with expert grow guides, they will gain knowledge and learn as they go. Instead of just one gift for Christmas, you can give one every month of the year, delivered to their door!

The Young Gardener

The Children’s Me Seeds Starter Kit contains a fabulous selection of seeds that Children of all ages can enjoy growing. Selected seeds for plants that children just love to grow like massive pumpkins, the tallest ever sunflowers and super quick growing indoor crops. Some grow quickly, others take their time, but the joy of watching a tiny seed grow into a majestic plant is part of learning about the wonders of nature!

This makes for a perfect with kids who love exploring and being outside in nature.

Price: £10.00

Allium ‘Forelock’ – Designer flower focus 💐

A designer’s favourite! When spring daffodils and tulips have flowered, it is the turn of ornamental onions. Alliums take us into summer with high impact and after flowering, the seed heads become a stunning architectural feature.

Allium ‘Forelock’ is a special flower, elegant and unusual, it is quite new, with maroon, large, egg-shaped flower heads and an interesting top tuft.

They are tall plants, up to 1m in height. We like to plant them middle-centre in garden borders or I like to group them in container displays placed, sun-facing, on balconies, patios and either side of front doors! If you have lighting they look superb with backlighting to show the tall structured silhouettes. Strap shaped green foliage adds texture early on before flowering in late spring / early summer.

To pick some up, visit our Seeds & Bulbs Shop today only for 20% off the normal price (limited stock available):

Allium ‘Forelock’

Seed Pantry Team

5 steps to create your own flower bulb lasagne!💐

Sometimes it’s hard planting and designing spring flower bulb displays in the garden. Where do you plant this and when!? Well below is a sure-fire way to create a stunning spring flower display in your own garden spaces, big or small.

To create your own beautiful flower display in any pots and containers here are our 5 steps to success!

Step 1:           Take a large pot/container (from 20cm deep/wide upwards) and check the required planting depth for each of your flower bulbs. For example, daffodils need to be planted around 10cm deep while crocus at 5cm.  Once you know this, measure along the inside of the pot, from the top down, to the depth required for each bulb type and mark with a pen, note: add 2-3cm for the gap between the top of the pot and the level you fill the compost to.

 

Step 2:           After this add drainage to the bottom of the pot, such as a layer of pebbles or gravel. Bulbs generally like semi-fertile, slightly gritty soil that drains well. You can mix standard compost with some builder’s sharp sand or grit to help with drainage. Now fill the pot, with the compost, up to the deepest planting depth you marked inside the pot.

 

Step 3:           Start spacing out your first lot of flower bulbs on the compost surface generally in small groups or clusters or design how you would want them to pop up and flower. Always plant with the pointed tip upwards and allow some space between each bulb, 2 to 3cm or more.

 

Step 4:          Add another layer of compost over the top of your deepest set of bulbs, up to the next planting depth line you added and start planting your next group of flowers. You can avoid planting them directly above the bulbs below, although they will generally find their way into the light.

 

Step 5:         Then finally cover with new layer of compost before watering well and placing the pot in a nice bright position ready for spring and that’s it! Keep moist but not too wet and when they begin to grow and then flower, keep them well watered.

 

It’s a good idea to match 2 or 3 plant types together, that flower after each other in succession. For example; Crocus flower first in the year, followed by daffodils, followed by tulips, followed by alliums. So you could match and add bulbs/corms for crocus and daffodils together in one pot to get an early spring display, then make a pot with tulips and alliums in, for late spring displays, so you have continuous flowers.

To buy spring flower bulbs from Seed Pantry and pick what flowers you would like to use for your own bulb lasagne visit our Seed and Bulbs store or Join 1000’s of other people and become a member of our monthly Grow Club for extra tips and savings:

https://www.seedpantry.co.uk/seeds-and-bulbs.html

https://www.seedpantry.co.uk/grow-club.html

Neil – Founder at Seed Pantry