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 2022.  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 salads and herbs such as basil, coriander and parsley. We have a wide range of great herbs you can start growing in the Seed Pantry Gardening Subscription Grow Club, 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

A Seed Pantry Guide To Growing Hosta Plants

Hosta Plants are in the Grow Club this month. They are one of our most favourite plants to grow and for good reason. Hostas have stunning foliage, great leaf textures, colours and shapes to add interest to any garden spaces in shady areas. Not to mention they are really easy to grow!

Let’s run through what hosta plants are, how you can start growing and caring for them, plus details of the varieties we have this month!

What are Hosta Plants?

Hostas, also called plantain lilies, are shade-tolerant perennials that are extremely hardy and require little maintenance. They originate from East Asia with over 2,500 cultivars produced. These cultivars vary in size, colour and textures making each one a unique growing experience.

Brought to Europe in the 1700s, Hostas are one of the most popular and best-selling perennials in the world today.  Although they are best known for their amazing foliage, they also bloom in the summer with tall spikes and, most often, purple flowers.

How to grow and care for your Seed Pantry Hosta Plants?

Here is our quick guide on how to plant and care for your own Hosta plants!

1. Our Hostas come as bare-root plants, so you can start planting them straight away, directly in borders or containers.  As they do not need as much sunlight as most plants, you can position them in shadier parts of your growing space such as under trees or by fences. This gives you the opportunity to fill darker areas of the garden that may have been left a little bare until now!

2. Plant the roots 5-10cm deep and 50cm apart for the bigger varieties like ‘El Nino’ and to 1.5m apart for giants like ‘Sum and Substance’, and plant with 30cm of spacing for the smaller types like ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. Place the roots downwards with the growing points, or eyes facing up.

3. Cover the plants with compost, add a splash of water and wait for the magic to happen! Hostas like fertile, moisture-retentive soil for the best growing conditions.

4. As the plant grows, keep the soil moist and when we move into the Summer and hot weather, make sure to water daily while they are establishing. Slugs and snails may try to eat your hosta plants. One way you can help with this would be to add a companion plant like Astilbe or plants slugs don’t go for. Astilbe is also in the Grow Club this month! Container growing can help fend off slugs too.

Feeding your plants: Mulch borders annually on fertile soil, for poor soil add general fertiliser and mulch in spring,. For containers add weekly balanced liquid feed while growing/establishing for great foliage.

Hostas are hardy perennial plants that die back in winter and will come back each year in spring, so simply leave them to do their thing!

What Hosta Plants do we have in this month’s Grow Club?

Each plant below has been given the RHS’s – Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Hosta ‘Fire and Ice’ (AGM)

A favourite from last year, these have striking, variegated, wavy edge foliage with light green with creamy white centres. These grow to be compact and mound-forming with elegant pale lavender flowers. H. 60cm/60cm wide.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ (AGM)

Another stunning hosta plant with ovate, grey-blue to green leaves that grow to 20cm long. It has superb veining, forming a large upright clump. Once again these have bell-shaped pale purple flowers on stems to 1.5m. H. 90cm/150cm wide.

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ (AGM)

These are just the cutest mini Hosta, can be easily grown in pots and border edges. Smooth blue-green leaves, with adorable mouse ear-shaped! They grow beautiful pale purple bell-shaped flowers on spikes too! H. 30cm/30cm wide.

We have all of these and other amazing plants in the Seed Pantry Grow Club this month, so come and check them out to pick your favourites! 😁

Seed Pantry Team

Grow With Joe On Growing Vegetables In Winter

Self-confessed gardening addict and garden writer Joe Harrison spills the beans on growing vegetables at home over the cooler months.


We’ve all had another very busy year growing our fruit and vegetables, watering, weeding and harvesting. You’ve worked hard this year growing lots, taking advantage of the beautiful weather and long summer evenings. With the colder weather now upon us, perhaps it’s time to clean your tools, put them back in the shed and wave goodbye to your allotment or garden until next year, because you can’t plant or sow anything now in autumn and winter right? Wrong!

There are lots of different vegetables you can carry on growing to keep you busy during the forthcoming months. You may have been extremely organised in the summer and sown or planted lots of lovely brassicas in preparation for the winter months; cabbages, brussel sprouts & cavolo nero for example, which will all hopefully be looking good and healthy right now. If you do have lots of lush greens growing on your plot or in your garden then don’t forget to keep them protected with some netting because those greedy pigeons enjoy them just as much as we do and they won’t leave you any once they have a taste.

If time ran away from you and you didn’t quite manage to sow any brassicas, don’t worry because I’ll give you a few veggies you can get going with right now which will either give you a nice little harvest over the coming months or will give you a huge head start for your growing next year.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, don’t worry, it is possible to directly sow lots of things straight into your plot or garden. Why not have a go at planting onion and garlic sets? Both have a very long growing season and are extremely easy to grow because they are so low maintenance; push them into the ground and make sure they’re kept as weed free as possible and that’s pretty much it until harvest time. The only thing to keep in mind with them is that they won’t be ready to harvest until the summer so they’ll still be there when you begin your spring planting and sowing so a little forward planning may be needed.

Autumn planting ‘Snowball’ Onions have a lovely, mild flavour and store well.

If you would like a slightly earlier harvest for your efforts, try sowing a cold hardy variety of broad beans such as ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ or ‘Valenciana’, which you can enjoy in early spring. I have always found them to be a very easy, hardy vegetable to grow. It always amuses me seeing the tips of the plants standing proudly to attention, poking out the top of a few inches of snow, but still happy to give up a bumper crop despite the awful conditions they’ve endured.

Sow cold hardy broad bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ for early spring crops.

If you’re lucky enough to own a greenhouse, poly-tunnel, cold frame or even just a cloche there is no reason you can’t carry on enjoying fresh tasty salads throughout the winter months, with repeat sowings keeping you well stocked. Why not try land cress, lettuce, radicchio, corn salad, wild rocket or mustard? You can buy excellent mixed winter salad seeds now too which are always great to try for a bit of variety. Treat your winter salad in a similar way as your summer salad but just be careful when watering, you don’t want pools of water around your plants due to the risk of freezing.

Whichever veg you decide to grow, take a little time and pick the right variety when choosing your seeds; some are much more hardy than others and if you’re growing outside or in a greenhouse/poly-tunnel, don’t forget you can use horticultural fleece on your plants for a little added protection from the elements.

So, there you have it, a few things to keep those green thumbs busy over the autumn and winter months. Just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on enjoying your garden, so wrap up warm, grab your flask of hot tea, coffee or even hot chocolate and get gardening!

Joe 🌼

Find Seasonal Vegetables ready to sow this month In the Seed Pantry Grow Club Box.

Grow Your Curiosity With Us On Instagram

@seedpantry & @grow_with_joe

WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

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Christmas Gift Guide For Gardeners

The Seed Pantry Christmas Gift guide will have your presents ready for planting under the tree at just the right time.

Christmas Gifts & Kits At Seed Pantry

Christmas at Seed Pantry is an exciting time, the Spring garden is just around the corner and it’s the start of a whole new year of growing. Here we have created the ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for Gardeners, to help you find that perfect present for your plant loving family and friends.

Seed Pantry Monthly Grow Club Gift Subscriptions

The Seed Pantry Monthly Subscription Boxes

For those who love to grow plants, from beginner to keen gardener. Think outside the box, or just think monthly personalised boxes delivered at the right time to grow each month. The expert how-to-grow guides will help your Gift recipients keep up to date with what to do in their garden spaces, gaining knowledge and expertise as they go. So instead of just one Christmas gift, you can give one every month of the year for them to enjoy!

Prices start from £39 for 3 months

Seed Pantry Micro-Pod Garden

The Seed Pantry Micro-Pod Garden

Seed Pantry brings you the brand NEW innovative Micro-Pod Garden – because the best things in life come in small packages! Perfect for getting up close with the plant growing process. You can grow happy, healthy plants inside a mini micro-climate using full spectrum LED lights and an auto-ventilation system. Multiple settings allow you to use the pod for sun-loving and shady micro-climate plants alike.

Price: £38

Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2

For The Essential Ingredients

For growing plants and those essential kitchen ingredients, from herbs to chillies, the automated Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 is designed to produce ultra-fresh food indoors with an LED grow light, hydroponically, with no soil, no mess and hassle-free. You don’t need to be an expert gardener, the Seed Pantry Grow Pod 2 does the work for you!

Price: £72

Seed Pantry Easy Grow Kits

For House Plant Enthusiasts

We have a range of gifts for those who prefer keeping their gardens indoors, or simply don’t have outdoor space to play with. Our Seed Pantry Easy Grow Kits contain everything you need to start growing indoor plants; Cactus, Jalapeno peppers and even Coffee bean plants!

Price from: £10

Seed Pantry Jumbo Summer Allotment Starter Pack

For Vegetable Patch Growers

Say Hello to our Seed Pantry Jumbo Allotment Starter Pack! Filled to the brim with everything you need to start your own home allotment veg patch. You can start propagating vegetables from seed including; tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, lettuces, beans, herbs and more. The pack is perfect for any budding gardeners and green-fingered chefs!

Price: £40

Seed Pantry Hottest Chillies In the World Easy Grow Kit

For 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! Everything needed to embark on a fiery adventure is inside, including not one, not two, but three varieties of the world’s hottest chilli seeds! (Guinness book of records). 

Price: £12

Seed Pantry Craft Beer Easy Grow Kit

For The Booze Lover

What could be more toast-worthy than growing your own booze? Designed for the beer enthusiast, the Craft Beer Easy Grow Kit contains all you need to grow a tipsy garden. Ideal for growing in towns and cities; each plant’s harvest can flavour over 100 litres of beer!

Price: £10

Seed Pantry Gardening Tools Range

For The Expert Toolbox Curator

A range of top-quality garden tools, made with love and exceptional craftsmanship, they are perfect for all gardeners. Tools from beautiful Japanese forged Garden Secateurs to life long durable spades and forks hand forged in the Netherlands. We have a tool for everyone and every garden situation.  

Prices starting from: £20

Seed Pantry Herb Seeds Starter Pack

For The Herb Grower

For those who are starting out and dipping their toes into the gardening world for the first time, the Herb Seeds Starter Pack is perfect! Packed with all you’ll need to start growing your own delicious organic herbs at home quickly and easily; From biodegradable pots and organic compost, to seeds of our favourite herb varieties, including Basil and Coriander.

Price: £27.99

Seed Pantry Me Seeds Starter Kit

For The Budding Gardener

The Seed Pantry Children’s Me Seeds Starter Kit contains a fabulous selection of seeds that kids of all ages will enjoy growing. Think gigantic pumpkins, the tallest ever sunflowers, the sweetest sweetcorn and the fastest growing food. 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!

Price: £12

Happy Christmas to you all, with love from the Seed Pantry team 🌼


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Glossary of Gardening Terms

Having perennial problems with gardening gibberish? We’re here to weed out the gobbledygook and clear up confusion with a quick glossary of common gardening terms for you.

What does that mean then!?

The gardening terms glossary

Annual – Plants which are sown, flower and perish within one season/year.

Biennial – Plants which take two years to complete their life-cycle. During the first year only the roots, stems and leaves grow. In the second year they’ll flower, produce seeds and die.

Perennial – Plants that continue growing for more than two years. Usually the top of the plant dies back each winter and regrows the following spring from the same root system, though some plants are evergreen.  

Hardy – Plants that can withstand winter frosts without protection. You can sow Hardy Annuals direct outside in Autumn and Spring.

Half-Hardy – Plants that are able to grow outdoors throughout the year, but may need a little tender loving care (usually in the form of horticultural fleece) to get them through the coldest winter nights.

Tender – Plants that can’t survive temperatures below 1oC. It’s best to start Tender Annuals off indoors in late spring for planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Pot up any Tender Perennials and overwinter in a frost-free environment, then plant back outside when the danger of frost has passed.

Cut-and-come-again – You don’t need to grow some crops to a mature size, for example lettuces. With these crops you can cut or pick baby leaves and the plant will keep growing for more harvests to come. Flowers can also be cut-and-come-again, Hardy Annuals are a prime example, and are perfect for the cut flower grower!

F1 Variety – These plants are the results of crosses between two distinct varieties, selected for their vigorous growth, disease-resistance and prolific crops that mature simultaneously.

Sowing direct – Sowing seeds straight into veg plots, borders or outdoor containers rather than starting them off under cover.

Sowing under cover – Sowing seeds into seed trays or modules indoors. This allows you to sow earlier and protect seedlings from pests whilst they get established.

Pricking out/Potting on – The process of moving seedlings sown in seed trays or modules to a larger pot. This allows them to have enough space to grow without competition from other seedlings.

Hardening off – For plants started off indoors, the seedlings will need to be given a chance give seedlings a chance to get used to life in the great outdoors. You can do this over a period of a week by moving the seedlings outside in the morning and bringing them in at night before planting out.

Bolting/going to seed – This is when a plant enters the flowering stage in order to produce seeds; generally triggered in response to stresses such as extreme temperatures or extended dry periods. Vegetables that reach this stage are usually tough, woody or bitter in taste.

Tilth – Used to describe the condition and texture of the soil surface. Create a ‘good’ tilth by raking and levelling the soil, removing any large lumps or stones in the process, in preparation for seed sowing.

Now you know! 🙂

This glossary is a work in progress! Please get in touch on Insta with any gardening terms that you’d like explained 🙂


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Tomato Salsa Recipe

From ‘Ailsa Craig’ to ‘Big Daddy’, home-grown Seed Pantry tomatoes are truly the biggest ‘Gardeners delight’ of the summer season. Do a little dance and try out our tomato salsa recipe with your fresh, home-grown goodies.


This tomato salsa recipe is great alongside scrambled eggs, omelettes and frittatas, in tacos or as part of a summer tapas spread for outdoor dining in the summer sun!


– 500g ripe tomatoes, diced
– ½-1 red onion, finely diced
– 1-2 tablespoons of capers
– A teaspoon of lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil
– A handful of parsley and mint, or coriander, chopped
– A pinch of sugar
– A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper
– ½-1 garlic clove, finely diced

How to do it

  1. Finely chop the tomatoes, red onion, garlic (if using) and combine in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper and add the sugar.
  3. Add the chopped herbs, stalks and all, to the salsa and toss lightly.
  4. Serve right away or cover and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.

Try replacing the capers with 2 fresh jalapeño or green chilli peppers, deseeded and finely chopped, and substitute lemon juice for lime.

Ready to grow your own? You can find more vegetable seeds on the Seed Pantry website here.

The Seed Pantry team 🌼


WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

Guide to Effective Watering

Water is vital for plant life, but how much to give and when? Here’s our handy guide to effective watering.


Are my plants getting enough water?

Getting to know your plants is key! They’ll tell you when they’re happy and when they’re not, so look out for the following signs of a thirsty plant;

  • Less than expected production of foliage, fruits or flowers.
  • Leaves or stems that look dull, or are darker or even paler than usual.
  • Changes in leaf direction, they may droop downwards or start to curl at the edges.
  • Wilting, the leaves may turn brown and crispy in extreme cases.
  • Pots are lighter than usual, maybe they’re even blowing over in the wind?
  • Signs of powdery mildew (a white coating on leaves, stems and flowers).

Note: Be careful not to overwater, too much love can cause plant leaves to wilt or droop also when overwatered! – a balance is needed.

When should I water?

You may have heard that watering in the mid-day sun can cause the leaves to scorch. Even on the sunniest of days this is no more than a myth! Watering during the middle of the day will still be welcomed by any thirsty plant but is less efficient; more moisture will be lost to evaporation and strong winds are more common.

The best time to water is in the morning and will give your plants a good store of water to get through the days heat. Watering in the cooler evenings will also mean less water is lost to evaporation, however the surface of the soil and foliage will remain damp for longer which can encourage slugs and snails, and the plants may be more susceptible to fungal diseases.

It’s best to keep the soil damp, not wet! Roots need air in order for the plant to grow well.

It’s better to water thoroughly every now and again than it is to water lightly and frequently. By giving them a good soaking low down at the base of the plant (not all over the leaves) the water will get into the deeper soil where it’s needed by the root tips. Light watering can encourage the plants to grow roots closer to the soil’s surface make them more susceptible to drought.

How much water should I give my plants?

Plant Type How much water to give your plants depends on the requirements of individual plants; shade-loving plants and those from cooler, damper, climates will be less adapted to hot and dry weather so will need more water than sun lovers such as alpine plants. Those plants that are actively growing will also need more frequent watering than those that are dormant.

Soil Type If your soil is sandy or chalky you’ll need to water more frequently than soil with a high clay content as they’ll retain less moisture. You can water less heavily than you would need to for clay soil as any excess will drain freely.

Top tip

Digging organic matter into your soil will help it to retain more moisture.

Containers If your plants are in pots, the roots will be drinking any moisture from a smaller soil volume than if they were growing freely in the ground. The soil will dry out more quickly and will need watering more frequently. Try putting potted plants in shade to reduce water loss through evaporation, or water once or twice a day if in full sun and your plants are less drought tolerant.

Soil Dampness Water is absorbed by the root tips so don’t go by the dryness of the soil’s surface as a marker for when to water. Push a finger into the compost to knuckle depth; if the soil is damp you’re OK, if it’s dry, water.

Watering and caring for your plants is a lovely therapeutic activity, so enjoy.

The Seed Pantry team 🌼


WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

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Seed Pantry’s Guide to Edible Flowers

The wonderous florets of cauliflower, broccoli, calabrese and artichoke are only the beginning when it comes flowers we’ll happily nibble on! Familiar faces such as pansies and nasturtiums are wonderful adornments for cakes, salads and more. Why not give some of these more unusual edible flowers a whirl too?


Are all flowers safe to eat?

Not all flowers are edible, some can even be poisonous, so stick to the ones on our list below or make sure you do your research thoroughly! Here are our top tips for choosing edible flowers safely:

  1. A lot of flowers look very similar, so only eat flowers if you are certain they are edible.
  2. In this guide the whole of each flower listed is edible, with the exception of calendula where only the petals can be eaten. Make sure you remove the calyx, pistil and stamens of these before consumption.
  3. If you suffer from hay fever, pollen or plant allergies either remove the stamen from the flowers before eating or avoid entirely.
  4. Avoid picking blooms from the side of the road or where they may have been sprayed with fertilisers or pesticides.

The Seed Pantry team top edible flower picks

Calendula (pot marigold) – The petals add a lovely bright-orange dash to plant and cooking pots alike. Sprinkle over salads use in rice, where they bring a taste similar to saffron… for a fraction of the price! Be careful not to confuse them with marigolds (Tagetes species) which is best kept as a companion plant.

Viola – The pansy-like faces will bring a colourful, sweet and fragrant twist to salads. Thanks to their long flowering periods, they’ll grace dishes from mid-summer right through to winter. They’re also a stunning addition to baked goodies and desserts.

Pansies – Unlike violas, their taste is a quite savoury; slightly salty, peppery but fresh taste. Try adding them to cabbages, carrots and fish dishes in all their rainbowiness.

Borage – Eating these beautiful blue flowers is said to make us more courageous by stimulating adrenaline release! Tasting a little like cucumber they’re brilliant in salads or frozen into ice cubes for summertime Pimms. They also supposedly help us forget our troubles… which coincidentally is a rather great side-effect of Pimms too.

Nasturtiums – Curiously this super easy-to-grow flower is a cousin of the Brassica family. The young leaves, flowers and fresh seeds are edible and have a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavour. The leaves make a great pesto and the fresh seeds are super duper tasty when pickled like capers.

Cornflower – With a slightly spicy, clove-like flavour and subtle sweetness. Their blue petals look especially lovely mixed with calendula in summer dishes. They’re wonderful sprinkled over ice-cream like confetti too!

Sunflower – Not only do the large lemon-yellow petals look fab in salads, they also add a mild, nutty, bittersweet flavour. In fact, you can eat everything from root to leaf, sprout to stalk! Steam whole flower heads and eat them like artichokes, crunch on the celery-like stalks with hummus or peanut butter or steep the leaves for sunflower tea. After that, you can eat seed kernels raw or toasted… or share them with the birds!

Herb flowers – The flowers of most herbs are edible; you’ll find they taste very similar to the leaves but usually a little stronger or milder. Fennel, dill, thyme, oregano and chive flowers are all rather delightful.

Courgette If you need easing-in to the idea of eating your floral friends try stuffing the flowers with cream cheese. You can also deep fry them, or simply steam and marvel at their peppery scrumptiousness.

Top tiPS For using edible flowers
  • Harvest young buds and flowers in the morning to keep their intense colours and flavours, before the midday sun can dry them out.
  • When harvesting edible flowers, make sure you wash them thoroughly before use. Dip them in a bowl of water and gently shake to remove any stubborn insects that may be hiding inside.
  • Flowers taste and look their best on the day of picking but you can pop them in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

The Seed Pantry team 🌼


WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

Subscribe to the Grow Club box for flowers, food and herb seeds ready to sow each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

A Brief History of Tulip Mania: Broken Bulbs that Broke the Bank!

Tulip Mania, Tulip Craze, Dutch Tulpenwindhandel… When tulips came to the Netherlands the world was struck, but what is the history behind the bulb virus affecting the Tulipa genus? and why did it make them so desirable?


One winter morning in 1637 a sailor was offered a breakfast of red herring at a Dutch merchant’s counting house. Taking the chance to add a little relish to his sandwich he swiped an onion seen lying on the counter. Little did he know, his ‘onion’ had actually been a valuable ‘broken’ Semper Augustus Tulip bulb, whose worth could have fed his ship’s crew for 12 months! He was promptly charged with a felony and thrown in prison.

So, Seed Pantry, what is a ‘broken bulb’?

Spread by aphids the Tulip Breaking virus alters pigments in the petal cells, causing the flower to ‘break’ its lock on a single colour. The flowers bloom with intricate, multicoloured feathering and flamed petals. Like nothing anyone had ever known in the flower world, the distinct so-called “broken bulbs” captured the eyes and hearts of the world. The cause of these striking floral patterns was also it’s curse. Once a bulb is infected, it’s daughter bulbs will be too. The virus weakens the bulbs. With each generation they become smaller, weaker, and less likely to reproduce until they wither away completely. Some varieties, such as the Semper Augustus tulip, have now become extinct as a result of the disease.

Luckily we now have “Modern Rembrandts” – un-broken tulips such as Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’ that have been bred to display multiple colours and wonderful streaked and flared patterns.

How did these bulbs cause financial ruin?

The wonderfully unpredictable, vividly coloured flowers quickly became a popular commodity; their weakness a trait that only made them more rare and desirable. As demand quickly exceeded supply the prices for these bulbs began to soar. Until 1633 the tulip trade in Holland had been restricted to professional growers, but the rising prices tempted many ordinary families to enter into the market. That is, until 1636, when demand really took off. Homes were mortgaged so that bulbs could be bought and resold at higher prices. A single bulb even became acceptable as dowry for a bride!

In the depths of winter, the bulbs frozen beneath the ground, traders exchanged promises to buy the tulip bulbs in springtime. They had high hopes that the flowers would fetch even higher prices. The Semper Augustus bulb with it’s flame-like white and red petals, relative to the wages of the time, would sell for the equivalent worth of £770,000 today!

Alas, tulip mania collapsed before the arrival spring of 1637, before the first blooms. Tulip traders struggled to find new buyers who were willing to pay increasingly inflated prices for the bulbs. The market crashed, sweeping away fortunes and leaving traders in financial ruin.

We hope you enjoyed the brief history lesson and learning about Tulip mania. Look out for a wonderful range of tulips in October and November Grow Club boxes!

The Seed Pantry team 🌼


WIN a lucky-dip addition to your next box by sharing your plant pictures with us on Instagram. Use the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tag us @seedpantry to enter.

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A Seed Pantry Guide To Vegetable Gardening In Containers

Potty for home-grown, but lack the space? Contain your excitement – we have the answer.


Whether you haven’t a lot of space or prefer your vegetable crops close at hand, creating a container garden is a great way to grow your own food. Beetroot, Potatoes, Carrots, Herbs, Peas, Salad leaves, Peppers, Aubergines and Tomatoes are all great pot-dwellers – and it’s not too late to start planting! You can also plant edible flowers like Nasturtiums, Calendula or Violas to encourage beneficial insects and add colour or double up with companion planting some plants love growing in the same container! (We think tomatoes taste sweeter when they’re planted with basil)

What can I plant in my container garden?

The answer is… anything! Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and onions, are a little more delicate and should be started off in seed trays indoors as the seeds are at risk of rotting before being given the chance to sprout, but if you let them grow for up to 2 months they’ll happily be transplanted into outdoor containers. If you opt to grow beans, remember that they climb so lend them a stick for support.

Here’s our quick guide to create your own vegetable container garden!

You will need

– Containers (tin cans, old margarine cartons, milk cartons…)
– Multi-purpose compost
– Seed Pantry seeds!

1. Choose your container, and don’t be scared to get inventive! Anything from tin cans to old sinks will work – you may just need to drill/poke a few drainage holes. Aim for a depth and width of at least 45cm, although salads and herbs will thrive in containers as shallow as 15cm.

2. Fill your pot a couple of inches short of the top with multi-purpose compost.

3. If you are sowing your seeds directly into the container, scatter the seeds and cover with a thin layer of compost, about 2cm deep. If you started your seeds off indoors, prick out the seedlings and transplant into the compost (lift the seedlings carefully by the leaf as the stems bruise easily).

You can start off any of your Seed Pantry food seeds in recycled pots – simply transplant later on!

4. Give your seeds a good drink!

If you’re growing between April-September containers can dry out quickly, especially if the weather is good, so aim to water your plants 1-2 times every day. ☀️ During the winter months, reduce the watering schedule as plants won’t be expending as much energy for their growth. If it’s really cold either cover your plants or move them indoors to protect them from freezing.

The Seed Pantry team 🌼


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