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.

Home » Topical News

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.

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!

Staying at home and COVID-19

Seed Pantry

Updated 30/03/2020

Hi, We have put together an update from us about your gardens, coronavirus, staying at home and deliveries running as normal.

We are going to make sure everyone has their garden spaces looking great!

With the recent developments around the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we will be working through this period to make sure you can still enjoy your outdoor spaces and have Seed Pantry activity kits and subscriptions to make your garden spaces great!

We have our small team carefully in place and physically distancing, at home and in the warehouse and we will work hard to make sure you have everything you need.

Government advice on staying at home

At Seed Pantry we love to champion the benefits of being in your garden spaces for general health and wellbeing. The Government advice is this: If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden. See full government update on staying at home here. So now you can indulge in making your garden the best space this summer.

Royal Mail deliveries – running as normal

Royal Mail, our main delivery service, is operating as normal and lots of our packages fit through the letter box too. We also don’t send signed for parcels generally, so no need to answer the door.

Public Health England (PHE) has advised that people receiving parcels are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus. See full Royal Mail update here. If a parcel won’t fit through your letterbox, Royal Mail will place your item at your door and knock on your door, they will then step aside to a safe distance while you retrieve your item securely. If you are unable to get to the door a card will be left advising other ways to get your parcel, for example asking friends or family to collect it on your behalf.

If there is anything else we can help you with, please let us know! 

…and with any further developments, we will keep you updated.

So get out in your garden spaces and enjoy them.

Ready, steady, grow!

We love you and stay safe.

The Seed Pantry team

Contact us: support@seedpantry.co.uk

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

Get sowing those seeds during National Gardening Week!

SeedPantryPeaSeeds 2

This year’s National Gardening Week runs from 11th to 17th April and it promises to be the country’s biggest celebration of gardens, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society.

This year’s theme is ‘get fit in the garden’, highlighting the ways in which gardens can enhance our mental and physical well-being. The RHS Gardens Wisley will be looking at ways to show how everyday activities such as digging, raking and hoeing can keep you fit, and how the garden can be used for exercise and having fun.

Thousands of people, public gardens, charities, shops and heritage organisations are getting involved and have plenty of events and activities taking place up and down the country. There are beginner’s workshops, walking guides, garden parties, planting groups and grow your own sessions – so there’s something for everyone.

It’s a great opportunity to get out in the garden, embrace the great outdoors and start sowing and planting seeds, flowers, trees, plants, herbs, vegetables and fruits.

With the lovely sunshine predicted to stay for a few weeks, now is a great time to start growing your own so have a look at our product range on the website for planting inspiration. How about planting seeds for peas and sunflowers with the little ones, or tomatoes, beans and peppers for delicious, fresh Spring recipes!

For more information, visit http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk and stay up to date with news and activities via Twitter (https://twitter.com/the_rhs) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rhshome).

How will you be celebrating National Gardening Week!?

Our Food Future

2 billion people

In February, the UK Food Standards Agency brought together over 200 leading industry experts to discuss how best to secure the future of our food.

The summit was broadcast live and thousands of people got involved on Twitter using the hash tag #ourfoodfuture, and we did too!

Topics included how we will grow food in the future, whether we will be eating insects, food waste including wonky veg, food safety and pricing, obesity, and what the nation wants from food in the future.

Comments by Seed Pantry and Neil about the event, the social value of food and childhood obesity were featured in the discussion – see link:

https://storify.com/foodgov/our-food-future

The debate also turned to how we have lost our connection with food with the increase in online grocery shopping and processed foods. And how sharing meals with family or friends is becoming a thing of the past.

Growing your own vegetables, leafy greens, herbs and salads at home is a great way to re-connect with food, understand where it comes from and to get the whole family involved with planting, sowing, nurturing and harvesting. It helps to reduce waste and allows you to eat wholesome, fresh, organic foods.

As Spring is just around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking about setting up a vegetable patch in the garden, or if you don’t have the space, our new smart grow pod lets you grow your own food in the kitchen, with no mess, no fuss, just fresh, organic greens, vegetables, herbs and salads in no time!

So this season, take time to think about the future of our food and how you can make some simple changes to ensure a healthy, sustainable and safe food supply for future generations!

It’s Healthy Eating Week

Ella'sHarvestSpudsLR

The British Nutrition Foundation is running Healthy Eating Week from 1st to 7th June to promote healthy eating and drinking among children.

Over 7,500 schools have signed up to get involved in activities including creative cooking, food provenance, and eating and drinking well.

The organisers have created some great resources, available via the website, (http://www.foodafactoflife.org.uk) including five day challenges with charts for children to fill in themselves. They cover themes such as healthy breakfast, five a day, drinking plenty, getting active and trying something new.

There are live events you can watch online, cook-alongs, meal planners, shopping lists, food cards and games – all designed to get children thinking about where their food comes from, how they can eat more healthily, and to encourage positive behaviour change.

Families are being encouraged to discuss healthy eating in the home and for parents to join in the challenges with their children.

At Seed Pantry, we love championing healthy eating, especially among children, and we have already taken part in many grow your own food activities with schools.

Planting, sowing and growing vegetables, salads and herbs can be a fun and satisfying way to get the kids, and the whole family, to get their five a day and include more healthier choices in their diets.

Growing your own ensures you always have the freshest pick of the crop and it can save you money. It helps you get physically active and can help reduce stress, plus it’s something you can all do together as a family.

Our Me Seeds Children’s Starter Pack contains a selection of seeds to grow cress, sunflowers, sweetcorn and pumpkins (http://www.seedpantry.co.uk/the-me-seeds.html but tomatoes, peas, courgettes and herbs are also quick and easy to grow – and you don’t need lots of space.

We offer packs for schools to grow vegetables, herbs and salads in the classroom so why not find out more in our seeds section of the website.

Happy Healthy Eating Week and Happy Growing!

Spring food and gardening festivals

SummerBeginsAs we enter into Spring, there are food and gardening festivals a-plenty, showcasing some of the best foods and gardens Britain has to offer.

Historic Chester hosts its Food, Drink and Lifestyle Festival on 4th to 6th April, with many TV chefs heading to the Racecourse to present demos, take part in challenges and judge the many awards and contests at the event. The Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Awards will be announced and Cheshire’s Finest Sausage will be revealed. There will be free cookery classes for the kids and even camping facilities for those looking to enjoy the spring sunshine.

http://chesterfoodanddrink.co.uk

The first installment of the Great British Food Festival takes place at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire on 10th to 12th April. With chef demos, man v food contests, artisan talks, a kids’ corner, live music and gift stalls, this is certain to be a fun, foodie, family weekend.

http://www.greatbritishfoodfestival.com

National Gardening Week (13th – 19th April) was launched four years ago by the RHS and since then has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved and there are events and activities taking place up and down the country.

From beginners’ workshops and guided walks, to garden parties and open days, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. Visit the website for more details:  http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk

Let us know of any other foodie or gardening events you are attending this spring on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or email us on info@seedpantry.co.uk with your suggestions.

Show Mum you care with gifts that keep on growing

MOTHERS DAYIf you’re looking for the perfect present for Mum this Mother’s Day (15th March), Seed Pantry offers two delightful seed growing kits, ideal for budding growers and green-fingered Mums.

Wild Flower Seeds Starter Pack

If Mum wants to add a splash of colour to the outdoor area, Seed Pantry’s Wild Flower Seeds Starter Pack is perfect for growing wild flowers, including field poppies, yarrow, musk mallow, chamomile and wallflowers.

The seeds grow into some of Britain’s wonderful native flora and are especially attractive to bees, butterflies, hoverflies, beetles and other wildlife, thanks to their vibrant colours.

Wild flowers make great companion plants too for vegetables and fruit trees and can be grown in even the smallest of spaces, giving real joy over the spring and summer seasons.

These vibrant flowers are easy to grow and nurture and attract a range of pollinating wildlife to the garden. Priced at £26, the starter pack contains everything Mum needs to get started, including detailed keepsake instructions compost, and a handy notes pencil.

Herb Seeds Starter Pack

If Mum has been talking about growing her own herbs, the Herb Seeds Starter Pack is a great way to sow and grow delicious organic herbs for cooking with at home indoors or outdoors.

Perfect for novices or seasoned gardeners, the kit shows you how to sow and grow basil, coriander, chives and parsley – great for adding to spring salads and family recipes.

The Herb Seeds Starter Pack is priced at £25.

Both kits contain all the equipment you need to get started, including bio-degradable rice husk pots, coir seed trays, compost, labels and FSC oak dibblets.

The packs arrive in stylish Seed Pantry gift boxes, made using recycled packaging and printed with vegetable inks, including easy-to-follow illustrated instructions and a handy notes pencil for Mum.

All kits are available now . Order up to the 13th March for delivery before Mother’s Day.

Eat more plants!

Neil's Mini Allotment sWorld Vegan Day is celebrated on 1st November and marks the start of Vegan Month.

This year, the organisers, The Vegan Society, are hoping that a record number of people will pledge to try plant-based eating for at least one day, a week or – for a real challenge – the full month.

The seven-day and 30-day pledges are featured on the website and give simple and practical steps on how to begin your vegan journey. It can make you feel healthier, lighter and more energetic, it reduces your effect on the environment and on animals and can have a positive effect on you and on many other people.

At Seed Pantry we like to encouraging our green-fingered fans to sow, grow and eat more plants, their own vegetables, salads and herbs. This month is a great time to start thinking about setting up your own food plant space either in the garden, or if you don’t have the space, our popular kits let you grow your own in even the smallest of outdoor and indoor spaces such as balconies, window-sills and yards.

As well as being cost-effective and environmentally friendly, growing your own veg, salads and herbs means you can eat completely organic, highly nutritious, produce, grown and picked by you.

So during Vegan Month, why not start growing your own vegetables, salads and herbs at home and eat more plants.

There are events taking place around the UK on Saturday 1st November and during the whole month so visit the website to find out more: http://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/events

Let us know if you take a pledge, experiment with a vegan lifestyle and do share any tasty recipes you find for plant based dishes.