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 make a little salsa with your fresh, home-grown goodies.

This 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!

Ingredients:

– 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
Optional
– 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.
Variations

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

The Seed Pantry team 🌼

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A Seed Pantry 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 🌼

For a chance to win a lucky-dip addition to your next Seed Pantry subscription box, share your plant pictures with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tagging @seedpantry

Subscribe to the Seed Pantry Grow Club box for flowers, food and herbs ready to grow each month…seeds, bulbs, root plants and perennials. Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options here!

Seed Pantry’s Guide to Edible Flowers

The wonderous florets of cauliflower, broccoli, calabrese and artichokes are only the beginning when it comes to which 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.

Calendula (pot marigold) The petals add a lovely bright-orange dash to plant and cooking pots alike. Sprinkle over salads or try using them with 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 Thanks to their fantastically long flowering periods, the pansy-like faces will bring a colourful, sweet and fragrant twist to salads 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’re also supposed to 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 there are the seed kernels which can be eaten 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 a little easing-in to the idea of eating your floral friends, try courgette flowers stuffed with cream cheese, deep fried or simply steamed 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 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

For a chance to win a lucky-dip addition to your next box, share your plant pictures with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #SeedPantryGrowClub or tagging @seedpantry

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!