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

 

🌟 Our favourites of the month: August! 🌟

As August draws to a close, we wanted to reflect on the last few weeks. With the weather being classically British, and often perfect for growing, with the mixture of sunshine and rain, some really hot heat too! It has helped us grow some amazing food and flowers this month. From new varieties to ones grown many times before, it has been quite the month for our Grow Clubbers too who are all gardening enthusiasts! So, we wanted to share some of our favourite picks and highlights for the month straight from the Seed Pantry Office!

Nick’s Pick:

This month, as a rookie gardener, it is the first time that I have grown dahlia flowers and so they’re a no brainer pick for me. My Dahlia ‘Bishop of Canterbury’ flowers have been especially good and just keep on flowering and they are my pick for the month! With luscious dark foliage and bright single flowers, I’ve enjoyed watching them grow and keep on producing!

Neil’s Picks:

As shown on Instagram, he was particularly proud of his Onion ‘Long Red Florence’ and the Bronze Fennel too. It was the first time of growing either, so was a good adventure. He has have grown many shallots and onions in the past but the heirloom Red Florence onion looks great in the veg patch and he can’t wait to eat them!

The Bronze fennel looks amazing in garden borders as an ornamental plant, but it also produces exceptional flavours for use in the kitchen. With a sweet aniseed aroma when you brush past them, the leaf fronds can be finely chopped for seafood, roasted vegetable and salad dishes.

So new to us that we’re coming up with recipes and ideas on how to cook fennel!

 

All our top picks come from the Seed Pantry Grow Club discovery boxes, sent monthly, that you can sign up and save on the best plants, flower bulbs and seeds from around the world, delivered to your door to grow. See here for more details: https://www.seedpantry.co.uk/grow-club.html

 

Seed Pantry Team

🍃 Our Guide to Air Plants 🍃

This month we started a new obsession, AIR PLANTS! 🍃 These amazing plants are truly fascinating! To avoid any confusion about what to do with these plants we thought we post about what makes them so special! 🌟

Air Plants, (Tillandsia) are tropical plants that do not have roots and therefore do not require soil to grow! This means you can grow them mostly anywhere!

Air Plants or sky plants, as they are sometimes called are from the bromeliads plant family. They are Epiphytes, meaning an organism that captures moisture/nutrients from the air and rainwater through its leaves.

Here is our guide on how to care for your Air Plants! 😁

Placement:

As they have no roots and require no soil, placement is unlike any other type of plant. You will most likely want a way to prop them up or to keep the air plant in. You can do this in various ways. From adding to small pots, displaying on driftwood, to copper wire mobiles hanging from the ceiling, they all look great. One of the most popular ways to do display them is with the use of terrariums or Aeriums.

The later of these can be made at home! Aeriums are glass enclosures that contain air plants, making them a great place for air plants to live and grow. You can create your own by using any spare glass cups you have and placing them inside. You can add sand or pebbles to the base of the glass to help prop the plant up also.

Light:

Originating from tropical climates mean air plants need sunlight to stay healthy, however not too much as it will dry them out. This makes windowsills the best place to put Air plants. Make sure to choose a window that provides indirect sunlight.

Air plants pull in moisture from the air to help them survive, so humid environments, such as bathrooms and kitchens, are perfect. The more humid the environment the less you will need to mist the plants in order to keep them happy.

Water:

As soon as your air plants arrive, soak them in room temperature water for 60 minutes, and for best results soak them in rainwater. After this, there are two methods of watering you can do to keep your air plants healthy.

Misting/spraying: Use a diffuser/spray device and water them this way regularly, 1 to 2 times a week during warm weather and once per week during colder months.

or

Soaking method: Once every other week, soak the plants in a bath (a bowl is good) of room temperature water and wait for 120-180 minutes. Remove and gently shake off excess/leave upside down and let them dry completely.  They will look healthy after this.

All in all, they are really easy to grow and take care of!

Visit Seed Pantry and start growing your air plant collection today!

Link: Seed Pantry Air Plants

Seed Pantry Team

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show! 🎉

Earlier this month (July 2019), we had the absolute pleasure of being able to attend the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show! Once again the RHS put on an amazing show, with some awe-inspiring displays of food and flowers! 🌱

Some of the standouts for us this year were the collection of Canna plants and their amazing foliage and flowers. These were included in May Grow Club boxes, so grow clubbers you have those plants to look forward to very soon!

Other favourites from recent Seed Pantry boxes are Gladioli nanus flowers. The lipstick kisses on the petals were spectacular, creating fabulous contrasting colours with the pink on white!

…elsewhere there were amazing collections of Air Plants and Hosta’s we love too!, which made these last 2 months of the Grow Club feel even more exciting as they’ve all featured too!

Rest assured, as Grow Club members, we’ll keep you right on trend in your garden spaces in the seasons to come! 😎🌱

Let the Summer roll on… ☀️

Seed Pantry Team

Office Food Garden Update! 🌶️

Our office Grow Pod’s have chillies ready to harvest! These are ‘Basket of Fire’ chillies that come with the Grow Pod 2 and we have been devising ways to add them to our lunches! 🌶️

At first, we did try to get people in the office to try them! however, no one seemed brave enough to attempt the first taste…! So Nick took them home to cook with and thoroughly enjoyed a bit of spicy heat…

Our Chilli Pepper ‘Orange Tyger’ plant is doing very well also and has now started flowering. Soon it will follow with chillies…orange ones! 😁 Also our Purple Basil, Red Robin cherry tomatoes are coming along nicely in the Grow Pod, but we are not quite ready to show yet! 😉

We will keep you posted on all of our office growing activities throughout summer! 🌅

Seed Pantry Team

🌱 How to plant and care for Hosta Plants! 🌱

The time has come! Our Seed Pantry June Grow Club box has arrived, so we got stuck in quickly to get our Hosta plants planted!! We have all been very excited about this! 🌿

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 in containers.  As they do not need as much sunlight as most plants, you can position them in shadier parts of your growing space!

2. Plant the roots 5-10cm deep and 50cm apart for tall varieties like ‘Vulcan’ and ‘Fire and Ice, and plant with 30cm of spacing for the smaller types like ‘Blue Mouse Ears’. Place the roots downwards with the growing points, 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 we mentioned before, Hostas like shade or part shade growing spaces and do not require as much light. This gives you the opportunity to fill darker areas of the garden that may have been left a little bare until now!

Hosta 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!

Container growing can help fend of slugs, as they do like to chomp on them, also you can ‘companion plant’ by adding Astilbe plants from our June box too, as they hate those and avoid them!

All in all, they are easy to grow and take care of! 😅

Visit Seed Pantry and start growing your own too! 😁