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.

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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!

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.

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

The Seed Pantry team 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

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?

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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 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

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 Seed Pantry Guide To Vegetable Gardening In Containers

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

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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 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

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!

Pot Buddies – A Seed Pantry Companion Planting Guide

Enrol on a free Organic pest protection programme and claim a few hundred complimentary pollinators for your fruit and vegetable gardens with this handy guide.

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Plants thrive in communities, some plants have mutual benefits, and some really don’t get on well at all! Here at Seed Pantry we’ve compiled an easy guide to companion planting. You’ll learn which plants make the best pot buddies and help you keep your home-grown Seed Pantry vegetables happy. 👨‍🌾

PlantCompanionWhy plant together?
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, KaleNasturtiumCabbage white butterflies will happily lay their eggs on Nasturtium leaves. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars will nibble your Nasturtiums and not your crops!
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Kale, Onion, Radish, TomatoesMintTo deter flea beetles, aphids, and to confuse carrot root fly/Onion fly, who find their host through scent. Keep the Mint in a pot if possible, as it quickly spreads and will smother your crops!
CarrotLeek, Spring Onion, OnionsThe smell of Leeks deters carrot root fly from Carrot, and the smell of Carrots deters Leek moth and Onion moth from Leeks and Onions!
Asparagus, Courgette, TomatoesCalendula (Pot Marigold)Calendula is very attractive to pollinators as it’s long flowering period means it can provide nectar over the whole growing season. It can also repel Asparagus beetles and unwanted soil nematodes.
Aubergine, Lettuce, Pepper, TomatoesBasilBasil is known to improve the flavour when grown with these vegetables. The scent also helps to deter aphids.
TomatoesFrench MarigoldThe Marigold scent will help deter whitefly.
TomatoesChivesThe Onion smell will deter aphids.
Flowers Mint, Chives, ThymeThese smelly plants will help deter aphids and blackfly from nibbling your blooms.
Runner BeansSweet PeasSweet Peas will attract pollinators to your Runner Bean flowers.
All vegetablesTansyThe smell of Tansy deters ants.
All vegetablesYarrowYarrow is a great ‘green manure’, use it to fertilise your vegetable plot by planting amongst your crops or composting it and adding as mulch.
Mint, Calendula and Nasturtiums (L-R) are all great companion plants!

Seed Pantry top tips and ideas to make the most of companion planting:

  1. Create partial shade for shorter crops by planting alongside taller plants, for example peas or sweetcorn. Some plants, namely coriander, lettuce and spinach are prone to bolting in hot weather. This means that the plants produce a flowering stem before harvesting as a natural attempt to produce seeds and occurs when the plant is stressed (including in high temperatures).
  2. Plant herbs throughout the plot, their strongly scented leaves will help repel the less useful of insects and their flowers will encourage pollinators.
  3. Utilise your space! Planting fast-growing crops such as lettuce and radish between slower-growing crops like root vegetables and Brussels Sprouts will increase your yield per square inch. It will also help prevent weeds growing!
  4. Encourage wildlife into your garden. Butterflies, moths, beetles, birds, bats and millions of other insects all play an important role in keeping your garden happy. Sow lots of wildlife friendly seeds to bring natural predators that will help keep slugs and aphids at bay, to encourage pollinating insects, or simply to bring a little bit of life into your space.

With these tips in hand, you can grow an amazing variety of colourful veg you can grow from seed. Most importantly, you’ll be bringing better nutrition and outstanding homegrown flavour to the table all year round using companion planting!

Seed Pantry Team 🌼

#SeedPantryGrowClub

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!