Growing my toms, chillies & peppers – stage 2

Late April / May I potted on my tomato, chillies and pepper plants into the Seed Pantry 9cm rice husk pots that are a perfect size to continue growing your own summer veg.  By early June the young plants roots were poking out of the bottom of the pots and had grown to a height of 10cm to 20cm.  This means they where then ready to be planted outside in our small backyard in London.

To plant them in their final growing positions, which can be outside or inside, gently ease them out of the pots by tapping on the bottom, perhaps use a plant marker to run round the inside edge to loosen the soil, be careful not to damage the plants.  I prefer to use the rice husk pots several times as they are sturdy like plastic but entirely biodegradable, great!

Get your final containers, window boxes or pots and hanging baskets ready with some peat free compost in the bottom, I used the Seed Pantry coir Compost Blocks to add moisture retention to the pots.  Just soak them in 3 litres of water to make 9 litres of compost!

Add your compost and then the plants with enough space around them to grow into – around 10cm to 20cm is good. Add more compost and firm them in gently. Give them a good drink of water to help them settle into their new environment.

They like to be in a fairly sheltered and warm environment for continued growing and once they start to flower they will need a regular organic feed to help produce excellent juicy and spicy hot fruits (for the chillies!).

I’ll report back on stage 3 once they flower and start producing baby peppers, chillies and tomatoes.

Growing my toms, chillies & peppers

There’s plenty of options for growing your own veg and sowing seeds at the moment, but a must for me in our small backyard in West London are a few tomatoes, plenty of chillies and peppers too.

You can get them going on your window sills using mini compost disc’s or you could try recycling yogurt pots filled with compost and pop a hole in the bottom for drainage. Sow 1 seed per pot/disc, put them in a sunny place and keep watered. Then move them into a slightly bigger pot after they have 3/4 leaves, the seedlings in the picture above are ready for this stage, use a 9cm wide/tall pot or perhaps a used soup tub. Move the young plants outside in around 4 weeks once they are 10cm to 20cm tall, transfer to either larger pots of 20cm wide or more or 3 plants to a grow bag.

I’m growing Tumbling Tom tomatoes in 2 hanging baskets as well as the varieties from our new Heirloom Tomato Seeds box: Outdoor Girl which is more of a bush type plant with smaller fruits, Marmande with big beefy fruits and Alisa Craig with medium sized juicy fruits.  Apache chillies and sweet spanish peppers are also in the mix.  

If you’re keen to grow your own veg then these varieties are easy to grow and will produce excellent flavours in whatever space you have spare.  They do really well in pots on the patio/backyard/courtyard or on balconies and roof terraces with a little shelter…

 

Spring Competition

Our new competition is for all food growers out there from beginners to experts.  We’re celebrating the great British Spring Season with photos of all growing edibles from seeds, sowings and seedlings that are growing in any veg spaces you have, include yourselves along with the family in the pics too if you wish.

Just send in your best photos with the subject ‘SPRING COMPETITION’ to info@seedpantry.co.uk and we’ll pop them on our facebook page for judging by the Seed Pantry team and fans.

3 lucky winners will receive:

First prize winner will receive a gourmet Summer Salads Starter Pack

Two runners up will receive our wonderful Mini Herb Pantry seed kit along with some mini compost disc’s to sow the seeds in!

The spring competition starts now and runs through to June…so celebrate foodie spring and get snapping!

 

We are listed with PhotographyCompetitions.Net

Cono Sur teams up with Seed Pantry..

Cono Sur teams up with the Seed Pantry at the Edible Garden Show

In line with its green credentials, award-winning Chilean winery Cono Sur is linking up with urban gardening company Seed Pantry to exhibit at this year’s Edible Garden Show at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire from 18th – 20th March.

Continuing their joint efforts to encourage people to grow, cook and eat their own produce, Cono Sur and Seed Pantry are inviting visitors to their ‘Urban Garden’ stand at the Edible Garden Show, where they will demonstrate innovative ways to grow fruit and vegetables in the smallest of spaces, from window boxes to balconies, using household items such as newspapers and even bikes!

Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to taste the delicious, sustainably-produced wines within the award-winning Cono Sur range including the highly-acclaimed Pinot Noir, as well as learn how to plant vegetable seeds, make a plant pot out of old newspaper and find out about how to match their home-grown produce to Cono Sur wines.

Cono Sur is renowned for its sustainable production, becoming the first winery in South America to gain the ISO 14 064 certification, widely regarded as the most reliable measure of efficiency in measuring greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainability is at the heart of Cono Sur’s philosophy and the team goes to great lengths to produce perfect wines with the minimum environmental impact.

Cono Sur and the Seed Pantry’s Urban garden stand will be at the Edible Garden Show from the 18th – 20th March so come along and learn how to eat, cook and drink sustainably! For further information on sustainable living and seasonal recipe ideas, visit the website www.conosurgreencooks.com

Winter Competition

COMPETITION…Snowy Veg Patch?Summer Veg Starter Pack

We’re launching our winter competition that celebrates your lovely veg surviving the cold conditions!

All you need to do is send a picture of your winter veg growing inside or outside in any space in the veg patch or pots/containers, we will select the best photo and the lucky winner will receive a gourmet Summer Veg Starter Pack to get spring off to a good start and two runners up will receive a Mini Herb Pantry seed kit!

To enter just email your picture to: info@seedpantry.co.uk with the subject ‘SNOWY VEG COMPETITION’

We will put all the entries on our facebook page too….so get snapping

Competition ends 14th February 2011.  This has been extended from the 22nd January.

 

 We are listed at PhotographyCompetitions.Net

Urban Digger – September 2010

Food growing doesn’t stop when it gets cold! You can continue to grow your own food in autumn..

and through to winter by sowing autumn vegetables…what are they I hear you ask?…well things like Pak Choi, winter lettuces, chard and oriental mustards are a good start for urbanites. If you can find a little room on a window sill they can all be grown now outside.

September is a time when there are still plenty of vegetables to be picked from summer like French beans and butternut squash. Often you have more veg than you know what to do with, so get the recipe books out and make the most of harvest time, there are lots of wonderful recipes in the Seed Pantry forum too.

Seed Pantry at the Start Garden Party…

For most of September I have been really busy with Seed Pantry exhibiting at the Start Garden Party, held at Clarence House. This has been an exciting and informative event all about inspiration for making simple steps to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Start is a new charity run by the Prince of Wales Trust aimed at helping us all to be a little bit more sustainable in the way we live.

There were loads of things to see and do from clothes swapping parties, a pledge tree to make your pledge to do something sustainable – like growing veg!, a dance floor that generates electricity and a solar powered greenhouse. My personal favourites were the many innovative ways to produce urban veg with an eye on future cities using every available metre of space and all types of recycled containers for food growing across the four seasons. 

There is loads of information from food growing, shopping to cycling and driving at the www.startuk.org website.

Growing food around my flat..

In the flat I’ve been busy sowing autumn salads on the window sills to replace summer varieties to last for the next few months. With cities being warmer than rural locations it does mean you can grow food all year round with extended seasons where you can experiment with pushing the boundaries of producing veg varieties.  

For sowing and growing autumn salads you can use the same methods as you did the summer varieties of leafy salads in window boxes. Take your window box and add a layer of gravel or broken pot bits in the bottom, add the compost to abut 3cm below the top, firm this down gently, sprinkle your seeds evenly and thinly across the surface for cut-and-come-again leaves, then add a layer of compost over the top about 1cm and firm down, then gently water until the soil is moist. They will survive colder spells and frosts are a while off yet.

My running total of savings is up to around £107 over four months, I would estimate that over the year you could save around £300 by growing your own food in spare spaces…great!.

In the backyard, which is still like a jungle, the production line continues with tomatoes and French beans, Swiss and rainbow chard, and carrots. 

Next month I’ll probably be clearing out the French beans and other crops that are no longer producing to make room for some late sowings of autumn veg – although there are no signs of this yet! I want to try and grow food in the city all year round to show that tasty rewards can be achieved will a small amount of money and work in a small space!

Seed Pantry makes the one pot pledge…

Seed Pantry and Garden Organic urge for more urban veg growers

Seed Pantry and Garden Organic’s One Pot Pledge are working together to help people grow their own organic food in whatever space is spare.  With a target of 30,000 new organic growers for Britain by 2011.

To encourage people to get started Seed Pantry and Garden Organic have created a new, special edition One Pot Pledge Autumn Salads pack with seeds, equipment and essential advice to grow food throughout autumn and winter months – proving that food can be grown all year round in urban spaces.

The One Pot Pledge Autumn Salads pack has a wonderful collection of vegetable seeds that can be used in meals throughout the year.  The colourful, spicy and oriental varieties including: Pak Choi, Rainbow Chard and Spicy Leaf Mustards are easy to grow with a fast turnaround, ensuring fresh tasty ingredients for the kitchen.

As well as supporting the nation’s new grow your own enthusiasts by offering an exclusive 5% discount on the One Pot Pledge Autumn Salads pack, the collaboration will also support Garden Organic’s wider charitable work, as with every pack sold Seed Pantry will donate 5% of the sale to Garden Organic – the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

Seed Pantry founder Neil Whitehead comments, “I’m very excited to be working with Garden Organic, it’s a great charity that has been encouraging people to grow food at home for over 50 years with Britain’s most famous organic advocate, Prince Charles, as Patron. We want everyone to have a go, even if you’re a novice, and enjoy the satisfaction of growing great tasting organic food in whatever space is spare. With this partnership we’re offering simple steps for people to get involved with food growing and to enjoy the wonders of nature.

One Pot Pledge manager, Charlotte Corner, said, “The aim of our campaign is to turn non-growers into enthusiastic, successful ‘grow your owners’. To do this we need to show people that getting started isn’t scary and that a pot, a selection of appropriate seeds and simple advice are all they need to get started. Seed Pantry offers the perfect approach to growing on a small scale and we’re thrilled to be working with them on this venture.”

To access the special discount code for the One Pot Pledge Autumn Salads pack visit www.onepotpledge.org and buy online at www.seedpantry.co.uk