How To Store Your Excess Harvest

Stock Up The Pantry With Your Seed Pantry Crops!

It’s easy to get a little carried away when sowing your veg seeds and now you’ve got a wonderful bumper crop to deal with! If, like us, you’ve ended up with so much Courgette that the thought of another Ratatouille doesn’t tickle your taste buds, it might be time to turn them into something different!

There’s plenty of ways to preserve your produce if you can’t use them right away, and it’s really satisfying to see your belly, cupboards and freezer stocked up with home-grown produce for the winter months. Here’s a round up of the ways to store your excess bounty.

Freezing

Quick and easy, freezing your produce in Tupperware or bags is great way to store even small quantities. Simply blanch or steam your crop, which helps to kill bacteria and maintain the vitamin content, allow to cool and bag up. Label your freezer-bags with the date and you’re ready to freeze! Some vegetables, like tomatoes and french beans can even be frozen after picking after just a good rinse.

Suitable crops: Root veg, onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes, courgette, all types of beans, brassicas, soft fruits and tree fruits (on their own or in sugar or syrup) and herbs too!

Dehydrating

Britain isn’t exactly known for it’s tropical climate, but whilst drying in the sun might not be feasible, the drying process is still easy to do indoors. If you’re a seasoned Grow Your Own-er then you might even consider buying a dehydrator!

How to do it

Apples: Core and slice into rings and soak in slightly salted water (1tsp of salt to 1litre of water) to prevent them from browning. Dry the rings and thread them on a string, hang them indoors, well spaced, for 3-5 days. You can also dry Chillies or Mushrooms this way, although it may take a little longer.

Tomatoes: Cut in half, cover with a little salt and dry in a cool oven. Store in air-tight containers or olive oil (you can add a little dried Basil or Oregano).

Peas and beans: Blanch or steam before rinsing in cold water. Lay on a clean tea towel and dab off any excess moisture, dry on trays in a cool oven or airing cupboard until hard. Allow to cool before packing into air-tight containers and store in a cool, dry place.

Suitable crops: Onions, tomatoes, chillies, mushrooms, apples, pears, plums, raspberries, strawberries … the list goes on, I’ve even been known to make cucumber crisps this way.

Chutneys and Pickles

Sugar and spice and all things nice, who doesn’t relish a little chutney with cheese and crackers? This classic preserving method is a great way to store onion, cabbage, beetroot, cucumber or any other random assortment of surplus you might have – even plums and pears make a great addition!

How to do it – Any-Veg Chutney

1kg seasonal fruit or vegetables, diced into 1cm cubes
500g cooking or eating apples, peeled and diced
250g onions, peeled and diced
375ml white wine (or cider) vinegar
250g light soft brown sugar
250g dried fruit, chopped
1-3 tsp dried chilli flakes (or ginger)
1/2 tsp salt

Place the vegetables and fresh fruit into a large pan, with the dried fruit and sugar. Add the vinegar and 250ml water to the pan with the chilli/ginger and salt.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally until all of the sugar has dissolved before slowly bringing to the boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, stirring regularly so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. When the chutney is rich, thick and reduced it is ready (you can test this by dragging a wooden spoon through the mixture: it should part enough to reveal the base of the pan). If it seems a little dry before this stage, add a little boiling water. Allow to cool a little.

Pot the chutney while warm into sterilised jars. Seal with plastic-coated screw-top lids and leave to mature for at least 2 weeks before using.

Flavoured Oils and Vinegars

Chilli vinegar makes a great fiery accompaniment to any BBQ

Used as salad dressings or flavourings for steamed puddings, flavouring vinegar with fruit, vegetables or herbs is a delightful and simple way of using up small quantities of surplus garden produce. Fruit, vegetables or herbs are steeped in vinegar over a period before straining the liquid and heating with sugar. Even Violas, Lavender and Rose petals can be used to add a delicate flavour.

Suitable Crops: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, apples or vegetables such as cucumber, celery, horseradish, peppers, Chillies, garlic, mint, thyme, tarragon, basil, marjoram (singly or in combination).

How to do it

For Herbs, half fill a 1L jar with fresh herb leaves, or clean petals (for Violas, Lavender or Rose flavours) and top up your jar with white wine vinegar. For Fruits and vegetables, use roughly 500g to every 600ml of vinegar with the exception of Garlic or Chilli where you should use around 50g.

Cover and allow the mixture to steep for 7-10 days in the fridge. Stir or shake each day. Herb and Vegetable vinegar can then be strained into a bottle and sealed, ready to use. You can even mix the vinegar with a little oil for a richer dressing. For Fruit vinegar, after steeping, strain the mixture and place the liquid into a pan with 350g of sugar.

Bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then bottle and seal into sterilised jars.

So there you have it – a rough and ready guide to reap the rewards of your Grow Club success! We’d love to hear about your GYO journey – please tag us in your success stories (and heroic failures too!) on Instagram and Facebook.

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

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!

How To Plant And Grow Tulips

Summers out, bulbs are in, here comes Tulip mania 2021!

Tulipa ‘Queen of Night’

It is never too early to start garden planning for next year! Here at Seed Pantry, we are always planning ahead to make sure Grow Club boxes are filled with the most amazing goodies. One thing we are so excited for are Tulip bulbs, ready to plant in Autumn! Each year we carefully curate an amazing range of gorgeous tulips for you to choose from for your own incredible displays!

Here’s a few tips to help you make the make the most of your planting for stunning Spring displays! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the flowers are likely to get plenty of sunlight. If you are planting in containers or pots, Tulips favour well-drained, semi-fertile soil. This will help aid in their growth.

2. When planting tulips it’s important you plant them at the right depth. Place them pointy end up into a hole in the ground roughly around 3 times the depth of each bulb, or generally around 10cm deep. This will give the bulbs enough cover to protect them from frosts in the winter but also enough depth for roots to establish and form a strong base so they do not topple over as they grow.

3. Space each bulb around 10cm apart from each other to give them each enough space to develop. If you are planting in containers, you can plant them slightly closer together, just make sure not to overfill it with bulbs or none of them will have the resources they need to grow.

4. Simply cover the bulbs over with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen! Tulips need very little care or maintenance but if you want to help them along when they start form flowers, add a weekly feed of balanced liquid fertiliser to the pot.

Tulip Garden Design 🌷

Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’ and ‘White Elegance’

Tulips are so special that the varieties are separated in to 15 groups, dependent on their characteristics; flowering times, shapes, sizes and colours. Shop our ready-to-plant Tulip collections at the Seed Pantry Tulip shop, or use our quick Tulip groupings guide to help you understand the different Tulip groups, so that you can get creative with your own garden design plans!

Single-coloured tulips can be striking with individual splashes amongst green foliage, you could match light pastels or hot colours. Contrasting colours can work beautifully too e.g. purple and yellows. Multiple mixed colours can be added together if you wanted to create a homely cottage garden theme too.

Sometimes though it can be hard planting and designing spring flower bulb displays in the garden. Where do you plant this and when!? Well, a bulb lasagne is a sure-fire way to create a stunning spring flower display in your own garden spaces, big or small. Check out our video below to create your own! You can read all about them here too!

Neil’s How to make a Bulb Lasagne video

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

Tulip Groups Explained

Botanical terms boggle your mind? Here’s an easy guide to help you understand Tulip groupings…

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Tulip season is fleeting! There are actually fifteen different groups of Tulips with different flowering times and shapes. By bringing together early, mid-season and late-flowering Tulips, mixing flower forms and colours you can enjoy the burst of colour for twice as long… and we’ve made it a little easier with a Seed Pantry bite-size guide.

GroupFlowering PeriodHeightFeatures Seed Pantry loves…
GreigiiEarly March-April20-30cm/8-12inDistinctive marbled or striped leaves, which spread along the ground.
FosterianaMarch-April25-40cm/10-16inBroad green/grey leaves, sometimes mottled or striped. Large, slender flowers.
Kaufmanniana March-April10-25cm/4-10inAlso known as ‘waterlily Tulips’ as their flowers open flat. Flowers can be bi-coloured with mottled or striped foliage.
SpeciesVaried20-35cm/8-14inPlants tend to be low-growing and small-flowered. Don’t be fooled by their delicate appearance, they are normally much hardier, very beautiful and long-lived than modern hybrids!
RembrandtMarch-MayUp to 40cm/16inA strange example of beauty, renowned for their ‘broken’ flower colours, the striped markings and intricate patterns are actually caused by being infected with the non-spreading ‘Tulip breaking virus’.
Single EarlyLate March-Early AprilUp to 40cm/16inLarge, cup-shaped singular flowers. Their short stems make them ideal for pots.
Double EarlyEarly-Mid AprilUp to 30cm/12inDouble-flowered with peony-like blooms. Brilliant as cut flowers due to their long-lasting properties.
TriumphLate April-Early May40-50cm/16-20inOriginating from hybrids of the Single Early and Single Late cultivars, plants vary from having compact, rounded flowers to having a more conical shape.
DarwinLate April-May45-60cm/18-24inVery large, goblet-like flowers on tall stems, which makes them better suited to borders than pots.
Single LateLate April-May45-75cm/18-30inSingle-flowered with relatively small, oval blooms on long, stiff stems.
ParrotMay40-60cm/16-24inSingle-flowered with unusual curled, twisted and otherwise distorted petals that create amazing shapes. Often bi-coloured.
Lily-floweredMay45-75cm/18-30inSingle-flowers with pointed tips to the petals that flare outwards, not surprisingly… like a Lily!
Double LateLate May45-60cm/18-30inShowy large double flowers that are more rounded than the early double group.
ViridifloraMay30-50cm/12-20inDistinguishable by their colour, the flowers in this group are almost entirely green when they first open, later changing to a second base colour.
FringedVariable40-60cm/16-24inOne of the newer cultivated Tulip types. Petals are edged with delicate ruffles – a very popular group!
Tulip Groupings by Seed Pantry

Whether you plant them in pots or in the ground, Tulips are a spring garden’s perfect companion! We love the striking contrast of orange and purple with Tulipa ‘Apricot Beauty’ Tulipa ‘Queen Of Night‘ and Tulipa ‘Rem’s Favourite’. Choose your own Spring border combinations from the Grow Club Tulip selection, get those green fingers at the ready and check out our handy Tulip planting guide for Autumn planting season!

Click here to see our stunning range of Tulips in the Seed Pantry Grow Club during October and November!

If you’re already a seasoned Grow Clubber, we’d love to see your planting combinations! – please share your pictures with us on Instagram and Facebook, or pop us an email at support@seedpantry.co.uk!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

How To Plant And Grow Alliums

This Autumn in the Grow Club, we have gone all-in on fabulous ornamental onions, and have an amazing range of new and classic bulbs to choose from!

Allium hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’ and ‘Ambassador’

Alliums are stunning unique flowers that no other quite compares too. Their large pompoms make them sensational additions to any garden adding structure and form. Pair that with the fact they come in gorgeous decadent blues, purples and stylish whites with star shaped flowers, they are a favourite of choice for all our Grow Club members. Not to mention they’re a favourite with our lovely honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies too!

Here’s a quick planting and care guide for your Alliums! 💐

1. Before planting, make sure to choose a well-lit area of the garden where the plants are likely to get plenty of sunlight. Also make sure you know how tall the alliums will grow, as the difference in size between one variety to another can be drastic. Best planted in well-drained soil, as they do not like heavy, clay or damp soil.

2. Planting depth is important for alliums as their tall stems need support to stand upright when fully grown. Check the required depth of your bulbs with the Seed Pantry guides, before planting, but in general, they need to be planted around 3 times the height of the bulb.

3. Spacing alliums correctly is equally important as the larger types require far more space in order to grow well. Plant smaller growing alliums 7-10cm apart, while the taller ones need at least 20cm between each bulb. If you are growing in pots make sure that they are deep enough to give plants the space needed so that they get enough water – often 40cm deep or more is great for containers.

4. Place your bulbs in the space pointy end up and simply cover the bulb with soil, give them a good drink of water and wait for the magic to happen! Alliums are so easy to grow, they make a very stylish display and the bees love them too!

Alliums in Garden Design

White Alliums used as a single colour pallet look beautiful.

There aren’t many plants that can be considered dainty AND bold, however smaller Allium flowers certainly fit the bill. These flowers will stand out wherever you plant them, their tall pompom like heads makes them immediately eye-catching in any garden display and are perfect for planting amongst flowers and green perennial foliage. They come in such a variety of colours, heights and sizes and once those summer blooms have faded their impressive structural seed heads will continue to spark interest!

Join the Grow Club, add some Alliums to your Grow Club box this month or treat your garden to a few ornamental Onions at the Seed Pantry Allium shop!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼