Glossary of Gardening Terms

Having perennial problems with gardening gibberish? We’re here to weed out the gobbledygook and clear up confusion with a quick glossary of common gardening terms for you.

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What does that mean then!?

The gardening terms glossary

Annual – Plants which are sown, flower and perish within one season/year.

Biennial – Plants which take two years to complete their life-cycle. During the first year only the roots, stems and leaves grow. In the second year they’ll flower, produce seeds and die.

Perennial – Plants that continue growing for more than two years. Usually the top of the plant dies back each winter and regrows the following spring from the same root system, though some plants are evergreen.  

Hardy – Plants that can withstand winter frosts without protection. You can sow Hardy Annuals direct outside in Autumn and Spring.

Half-Hardy – Plants that are able to grow outdoors throughout the year, but may need a little tender loving care (usually in the form of horticultural fleece) to get them through the coldest winter nights.

Tender – Plants that can’t survive temperatures below 1oC. It’s best to start Tender Annuals off indoors in late spring for planting out after all risk of frost has passed. Pot up any Tender Perennials and overwinter in a frost-free environment, then plant back outside when the danger of frost has passed.

Cut-and-come-again – You don’t need to grow some crops to a mature size, for example lettuces. With these crops you can cut or pick baby leaves and the plant will keep growing for more harvests to come. Flowers can also be cut-and-come-again, Hardy Annuals are a prime example, and are perfect for the cut flower grower!

F1 Variety – These plants are the results of crosses between two distinct varieties, selected for their vigorous growth, disease-resistance and prolific crops that mature simultaneously.

Sowing direct – Sowing seeds straight into veg plots, borders or outdoor containers rather than starting them off under cover.

Sowing under cover – Sowing seeds into seed trays or modules indoors. This allows you to sow earlier and protect seedlings from pests whilst they get established.

Pricking out/Potting on – The process of moving seedlings sown in seed trays or modules to a larger pot. This allows them to have enough space to grow without competition from other seedlings.

Hardening off – For plants started off indoors, the seedlings will need to be given a chance give seedlings a chance to get used to life in the great outdoors. You can do this over a period of a week by moving the seedlings outside in the morning and bringing them in at night before planting out.

Bolting/going to seed – This is when a plant enters the flowering stage in order to produce seeds; generally triggered in response to stresses such as extreme temperatures or extended dry periods. Vegetables that reach this stage are usually tough, woody or bitter in taste.

Tilth – Used to describe the condition and texture of the soil surface. Create a ‘good’ tilth by raking and levelling the soil, removing any large lumps or stones in the process, in preparation for seed sowing.

Now you know! 🙂

This glossary is a work in progress! Please get in touch on Insta with any gardening terms that you’d like explained 🙂

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Subscribe to the Grow Club box for food or flowers each month… Curious? Come check out all of this month’s options!

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Seed Pantry’s Guide to Edible Flowers

The wonderous florets of cauliflower, broccoli, calabrese and artichoke are only the beginning when it comes 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?

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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.

The Seed Pantry team top edible flower picks

Calendula (pot marigold) – The petals add a lovely bright-orange dash to plant and cooking pots alike. Sprinkle over salads use in 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 – The pansy-like faces will bring a colourful, sweet and fragrant twist to salads. Thanks to their long flowering periods, they’ll grace dishes 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 also supposedly 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, you can eat seed kernels 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 easing-in to the idea of eating your floral friends try stuffing the flowers with cream cheese. You can also deep fry them, or simply steam 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

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!

How To Grow Micro-greens

Grow micro-greens at home with this easy guide! These teeny leaves are packed with flavour, are rich in potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Grow them at home with this Seed Pantry guide. 🤩

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Micro-greens ready for harvest.

What are micro-greens?

Micro-greens is a fancy word for any leaves harvested from the seedlings of leafy salad greens, like rocket and pak choi, or herbs, like basil and coriander. You’ll find plenty of choice in the Seed Pantry food seeds range or in your monthly Grow Club boxes that are suitable, brassicas, salads, sunflowers… the shoots of broad beans, peas, as well as root crops such as radish and carrot are also delicious!

You can grow all micro-greens in the same way, sown into a compost and placed in a sunny windowsill indoors – all year round! Grown in just about anything, from seed trays to old yoghurt pots, they’ll be ready to harvest in just 1-2 weeks. If you plant seeds every few days then you’ll have a supply of tender shoots right the way through winter, so take a leaf out of Seed Pantry’s book and add a bonanza of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, folic acid and potassium to your meals!

Which seeds should I sow?

Radish: Quick and easy to grow, the pretty red stems of radish shoots will add colour to your salads as well as a peppery kick. Try them in egg sandwiches and stir fries.

Harvest: 7 days

Spinach: These mild, nutrient packed leaves are ideal for salads, or stirred into a risotto. Tastes brilliant in an omelette with micro broccoli.

Harvest: 10 days

Beetroot: Their red-stemmed leaves add a splash of colour and a mild, earthy flavour to leafy salads. Delicious when sprinkled over grilled fish.

Harvest: 10 days

Mustards: Varieties such as mizuna, mibuna and mustard red frills all pack a spicy punch. The pretty, frilly or red-leaved varieties to add a sprinkling of interest to your stir-fry.

Harvest: 10 days

Basil: Much easier to grow than the adult plant, these highly flavoured micro-greens can be used in exactly the same way. Look out for purple varieties, such as the Seed Pantry Basil ‘rubin’ for extra colour.

Harvest: 10 days

Pea shoots: Tasting just like fresh peas, these sweet little tendrils are good in salads and stir fries, and they look lovely!

Harvest: 14 days

Sunflower shoots: With a slightly nutty taste and a pleasing crunch, sunflower shoots will make a great addition to almost any salad.

Harvest: 14 days

Coriander: A little slow to germinate, but these tiny flavour-packed leaves are well worth the rate. Fantastic as a garnish for curries, noodles and stir fries.

Harvest: 14 days

How to do it

  1. Cover the bottom of your container with an inch or two of compost, firming it lightly with your hand.
  2. Scatter a dense layer of seeds, evenly spaced, over the op of the soil; try to avoid clumps of seeds.
  3. Place your tray on a windowsill and keep them lightly watered using a mister or a fine watering can rose.
  4. Your greens should be ready to harvest in about a week, although it’ll be a little slower in the winter. To harvest, either snip them with a pair of scissors or pull them up from the base of the stem.

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!

Home Gardening Tasks and Tips For Summer

A round up of what to do in your Food and Flowers Gardens

It is official, we are now into Summer! The time of t-shirts, shorts and sunglasses is upon us! By now Summer gardens should be well underway and food and flowers should be growing everywhere. There has been a perfect blend of sun and rain to keep everything happy too.

With that though, there are plenty of jobs that still need doing around growing spaces everywhere. So we have been doing all we can to help in your gardens by bringing you weekly and monthly tips on what to do in your spaces.

Let’s get those green fingers going then! Here’s what you can do this month in your food and flower gardens 🏡

Tips for you Summer Garden ☀️

🌊 As it becomes hotter, watering your plants properly becomes critical to their growth. The best time to water plants is in the morning between 6-10 a.m. This is when the temperature is at its coolest which will reduce evaporation and help the water stay in the soil so the plants can absorb it. Remember to give a good drink so the water penetrates the well below the surface to reach the root system.

🌅 As we know, plants love the sun and need it to grow but sometimes they can have too much of it. Too much exposure can cause plants to dry out and get scorched. If too much sun exposure is damaging your plants, make sure to provide them with some extra shade and ensure adequate watering. Move pots out the sun or even cover with a cloth for part of the day.

🌻 Make sure to remove as many weeds as possible. Weeds will steal precious nutrients and moisture from your food and flower plants. They also attract insects and other pests so make sure to remove them to keep all your plants happy.

Flowers 🌼

🚁 As your Summer flowers grow, some of them may need some support so they don’t topple over. For flowers such as Gladioli and Dahlias, you can use plant support stakes to help them grow upright.

🌼 There is still time to plant flowers for some late season colour! Flowers such as Gladioli, Viola and more can be planted now to add to your flower displays this Summer. Check out July’s Grow Club Boxes to see all the flowers you can still plant and grow!

🍃 It is never to early to start planning and planting for next Spring! July is the last month for sowing biennials and hardy perennials. Start sowing Lupins, Foxgloves and more to get ahead of the game for flower displays next year!

💐 Remember to keep picking your sweet pea flowers as they grow and Dahlias. This will help them to keep producing as they channel their energy in creating new flowers.

Food 🥗

🌶️ If you like your chillies hot you can make them spicier by stressing the plant. Once the plant has flowered and started producing peppers, allow the soil to dry out until the plant’s leaves start to wilt and shrivel, then water thoroughly. The stress will help the plant develop more capsaicin inside the peppers which is the chemical that gives chillies heat.

🍵 Harvest your peas to keep them producing! The more your harvest, the more they will produce! Harvesting peas will lead the plant to channel more of its energy into making new peas and thus giving you a better yield from the plant.

🥔 Many potatoes will be ready to harvest now however some may still need a little more time. It is very important with the additional sunlight to mulch and cover the potatoes as they grow. Mound up the soil around your potato plants so no tubers are exposed to the sun which can cause them to turn green and even become poisonous!

🥬 We may now be in summer but you can still continue to successionally sow salad seeds. Carry on sowing seeds little and often in batches so that it is possible to ensure plants are ready to harvest in succession throughout the growing season. This can be done for carrots, salads, beans and more too!

Here are other vegetables from the Seed Pantry Grow Club that can be harvested in July!

  • Chicory ‘Palla Rossa’
  • Onion ‘Long Red Florence’ and ‘Tosca’
  • Pea ‘Delikett’ and ‘Meteor’
  • Beetroot ‘Pablo’
  • Courgette ‘Clarion’ and ‘Orelia’
  • Tomato ‘Big Daddy’ and ‘Outdoor Girl’
  • Raddish ‘Black Spanish Round’
  • Aubergine ‘Clara’ and ‘Jackpot’
  • Potato ‘Maris Piper’, ‘Arran Pilot’ and ‘Pink Fir Apple’
  • Chilli Pepper ‘Apache’, ‘Orange Tyger’ and ‘Spangles’
  • Leafy green salads
  • Shallots

And many more!

That is all for now, folks – stay tuned to our Instagram account and we will have more tips and reminders next week! 😁

Seed Pantry