Top Growing Tips

Flowers for late summer colour

Flowers for late summer colour

With the days and nice weather fading, so do the flowers. Without some consideration of the changing seasons you can end up with a rather empty garden. Here are some helpful tips and plant choices for you to grow, to keep the colour and flowers right up until the first frosts.

Late Summer Flowering plants to consider:

Late Flowering Summer Flowers

1: Purple Cone Flowers "Echinacea Purpurea"

Cone flowers as they're commonly called or Echinacea if you want to be fancy, are a beautiful, almost daisy like, must have perennial. They not only look stunning and come in a range of vibrant colours, but they're also a much loved flower for polinating inspects such as Bees and Butterflies.


Grow your own Purple Cone Flowers from Seed


2: Rudbeckia - Black Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia Flower Seeds

Rudbeckia are not that dissimilar to Cone Flowers, in shape or growing habit. However the subtle differences make them stand out, Rudbeckia tends to form a clump of vibrant flowers, ranging in size as they mature. Black Eyed Susan, gets its name because of the contrast between its deep black center and the bright yellow petals.


Grow Rudbeckia Black Eyed Susan from Seed


3: Rudbeckia - Marmalade

Rudbeckia Marmalade Rudbeckia Marmalade is again a close match to the other varieties in this group, however its petals give off a beautiful orange glow. Its flowers are slightly larger and just like Black Eyed Susan its loved by Bees, Butterflies and all polinating insects. They also make for great cut flowers to bring the colour inside the house.

Want to grow Rudbeckia Marmalade from Seed?


4: Gypsophila paniculata - Babys Breath

Whilst in no way a 'statement' flower, Gypsophila is an adorable clump forming plant. It will smother itself in tiny beautiful flowers ranging in hues of pinks and whites. They look great at the front of borders, as ground cover and even work well as a focal point in hanging baskets and pots and will continue to flower well into the first frosts.

Want to grow Gypsophila from Seed?

Read more
When is the best time to pick blackberries?

When is the best time to pick blackberries?

Best time to pick blackberries

Free delicious fruit, whats not the love?

The British countryside is dotted with brambles and whilst for most of the year we're avoiding these spikey and invasive plants. During August through to October, they explode with a sea of delicious Blackberries. Black Berry picking is a highly rewarding, all-be-it a little bit of a prickly past time.

When is the best time to go blackberry picking?

In the UK, Blackberry / Brambles begin to fruit Late July / Early August right through to October. You'll want to be quick though, not only will you have to contend with other humans for the best pickings, but birds love blackberries too.

Read more
Finding the best plants to grow for Bees

Finding the best plants to grow for Bees

Flowers that help bees thrive

Help Bees thrive and encourage them into your garden.

It's easier than you think. Bees love nectar, and a large proportion of plants produce nectar. Planting nectar producing plants will encourage Bees in to your garden, as will water sources such as bird baths, ponds and natural water pools.

Don't be fooled though, not all plants are equal. Over hundreds of years humans have been medalling with plant breeds, creating ever more wonderful and exotic hybrids and varieties that, to us humans look fantastic. However, for the humble bumble bee these new varities can often cause trouble for them. Ruffled petals can often hide and cover the plants nectar rich center, some plants are completely sterile and dont produce much or any nectar at all.

Luckily, we're here to help. We specifically select plants that are great for nature and we've made our website super easy for you to use. Look out for the 'Good for bees' tag on products. These highlight flower varieties that are great for nectar loving pollinators.

Read more
What to do with a glut of Courgettes?

What to do with a glut of Courgettes?

Too many courgettes?

If you've grown courgettes, you'll know that you wait ages for them to grow and then assoon as you've picked the first courgette, you then become engulfed by them. You'll quickly run out of storage space and recipe ideas.

If you're struggling to work out what to do with your Courgettes, try making Courgetti! It's a healthy alternative to spaghetti and other pasta-based meals. All you need is a vegetable slicer that can Julien slice or a spiraliser. Both of these can be cheaply bought in store or online from a homeware store. Once sliced, add to a frying pan until they begin to go golden brown (usually 5-10 minutes) You'll want to keep an eye on it though to avoid them becoming too soft and mushy.

Equipment Needed:

  • Frying pan (want to go oil free? try using a stone frying pan)
  • Courgettes (obviously) 1 or more, per person
  • Spiraliser or a Julien slicer

You can then simply use these in any meals where you would normally use spaghetti, such as spaghetti bolognaise or spaghetti and meatballs.

Read more
What Can You Grow On A Balcony?

What Can You Grow On A Balcony?

Growing on a balcony

Limited space doesn't have to mean limited growing potential.

You can actually grow alot on a balcony. Providing you can provide the plants with sunlight, nutrients and water you'll be able to grow most vegetables. Tomatoes, Courgettes, Chillis, Pepers and Aubergines for example can all be grown from grow bags (essentially, they're just bags of nutrient rich soil).

Peas, French beans etc. can all be grown up and around the ballistrade of your balcony. Rhubarb and Chard need very little in the way of space, and can easily be grown in pots.

They key to growing vegetables on your balcony is maximising your space. Grow things up walls, buy wall planters for smaller veg or varities, such as trailing tomatoes and Chillis.

If your balcony is covered, or your growing alot of your veg in pots or raised planter, remember to water them, even if its been raining. As the foliage will prevent rain from getting to the soil and pots and planters dry out faster than borders.

Our Top Pick Vegetables to grow on your balcony

Chives

Organic Chives

Chives are a perenial plant and can easily be kept in pots. They attract bees and butterflys in their droves, thanks to their large and beautiful purply pink flower pads.

To harvest, simply cut the stems as required, the plant will continue to grow. Fertilise with something like a natural sea weed fertiliser mix.


Roma Tomatoes

Tomato's

 Don't be tempted to plant all of the seeds, you'll likely only have the room for one or two tomato plants. These grow quite large but can happily live in a grow bag on the floor. Be prepared to stake them with supports as they can get unwildly. But they will reward you with a bounty of delicious tomatos.


Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the easiest veg to grow on a balcony, it requires very little space, and can be grown in pots. You will need to water these frequently though and fertilise with a natural sea weed fertiliser mix. Pick the larger mature leaves as and when required and the plant will continue to grow.

Read more
Carrot Thinning - The What?, Why? and How?

Carrot Thinning - The What?, Why? and How?

Ever Wondered why your Carrots weren't performing well? Were a little bit weedy, or had multiple carrots merging into one carrot? It's probably because they were planted to close togther, to solve this, we use a method called 'Thinning'.

Carrot Thinning

What is Carrot Thinning?

Carrot Thinning in its simplist form is the optimisation of your crop and its harvesting potential. Thinning is the removal of young carrot seedlings, that are growing too close to the other seedlings. This gives the remaining carrot seedlings the best opportunity and the access to nutrients they need to grow larger and stronger. You do not have to thin out carrots, however your crop may end up smaller or have instances of multiple carrots merging and distorting into a single carrot. These carrots are all perfectly edible and will be just as delicious as the rest of the crop, they're just not as desirable.

Do you have to thin out carrots?

Nope. You can leave them as you planted them and you'll end up with equally as delicious, all-be-it smaller and somewhat distorted carrots. Carrot seeds are so tiny, it can be difficult to plant them equally spaced out. However, planting the seeds at a good distance from each other (10-15cm depending on variety) can help to minimise the amount of thinning required later on, but this is not an easy task.

Why Do We Thin Out Carrots?

Thinning out your carrots, gives the carrots that are left, access to the limited resources that are available to them - nutrients within the soil, water and sunlight. With less competition for the resources, the carrots would effectively now have the lions share of those resources available to it, they will grow larger, stronger and quicker.

Carrot Thinning test

In the example shown, the carrots were all planted in the same plot at the same time, but the size difference, shape and consistency of the crop are vastly different. The carrot on the left was part of a thinned out crop, whilst the carrot(s) on the right were left as they were planted. With little to no competition, the carrot on the left has grown strong, quicker and to a more consistent shape. The carrots on the right however, were too close togehter and were all competiting for the same resources. This competition forced the carrots to grow towards each other and compete, creating a single, distorted carrot that is actually three separate carrots merged into one.

All of these carrots will taste virtually identical and are all perfectly good to eat. However, the difference is quite clear and you'll have a much stronger and productive crop if you give them the best chance to grow well.

How to Thin out Carrots

Thinning out carrots is easy, and is best done when the seedlings are just starting to get a bit bigger, with several leaves visible. Looking over your crop, gently and slowly pull out the ones that look the weakest or are growing the slowest.

Tip: Ensure the soil is moist when thinning, either perform this during the early hours of the morning or water well prior to thinning. This will minimise the amount of damage you cause to the carrot seedlings you remove, allowing you to attempt to transplant them again.

The idea would be to leave a gap of around 10cm between the seedlings. Smaller varieties can have a smaller gap and larger varieties may require up to 15cm. As hobby growers, trial and error will be the best way to learn.

You can perform a second 'thinning' within 3 to 4 weeks, as the carrots begin to mature. The carrots that you remove (providing they're not damaged and they're roots are intact) could be planted back into a new patch to continue to grow. Equally, they make for great snacks whilst you're working.

Read more
Could Gardening be the next big diet?

Could Gardening be the next big diet?

Gardening can help you loose weight
According to insight from the BBC, gardening could have more health benefits than previously thought.

it’s always been known that gardening is good for you. However, with lockdown and COVID-19 in full swing, many have turned to the hobby to grow their own food and for relaxation.

now new evidence is emerging that it can help you loose weight and provide a better understanding into what you’re eating and what goes into food. 

 

you can read the full article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53601941

Read more
Top Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden or Allotment This Winter

Top Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden or Allotment This Winter

When I first started to grow vegetables, I would often just stop as soon as Autumn started to end, I niavely thought nothing would grow during winter, actually the opposite is true. A lot grows in winter, you just have to think about what sort of things go in winter meals, like Christmas Dinner, Hot pots and Stews, to figure out there are a fair veg delicious vegetables to be grown.

Heres a short list of some of my favourite vegetables to plant during the winter months:

1: Carrot Vegetable Seeds

These are a mainstay in most allotments. Despite what most think, carrots are actually fairly easy to grow and require little effort beyond 'thinning out'. To avoid thinning your carrots, simply plant the seeds further apart. Effectively mitigating any competition between the growing carrots. You'll know when they're too close, because when you come to pull your carrots up, they'll be smaller and some will have merged or 'crossed' into one thicker carrot.

 

Looking to try and grow carrots yourself this year? Check out our range of Vegetable Seeds.

2: Parnsip Vegetable Seeds

Parsnip Vegetable Seeds

Parsnips aren't that far off from carrots and actually the advice on how to grow them is virtually the same. They have the same growing habbit as carrots and so planting them too close together will hinder your harvest potential.

Parsnips can be grown in borders, raised planters or beds and pots (providing they're at least 30-40cm deep).

View our parsnip seeds for full sowing and harvest dates.

 

3: Turnip Vegetable Seeds

Turnip Vegetable Seeds to Grow at Home

Turnips are fast growing and easy to look after. Relatively pest free, as a lot of the action is below soil. These can be planted in stages to allow a constant supply throughout the majority of the year. Just keep in mind that during the summer months, they will need to be kept well watered, otherwise they may not grow as strong and could bolt.

For more information visit see our available Turnsip seed varities.

 

 

4: Broccoli Vegetable Seeds

Broccoli Vegetable Seeds

Broccoli is a winter favourite, it's hardy and easy to grow and goes great with sunday roasts, hot pots and even Christmas Dinner.

It's available in both your standard green variety and also a rather exciting purple variety. They're both as easy to grow, but the purple variety will be sure to add some excitement to your meals during the colder and more dreary months.

 

 

5: Aubergine Vegetable Seeds

Aubergine Seeds

Weirdly, now is the time to start sowing your Aubergines for next season. These aren't a winter vegetable like the others on the list, so you'll need to make sure you're sowing them under glass and kept above 10c. Planting them during the later winter months, December - February, means they get a good start and will be ready to harvest during the summer. This is more of an investment than a quick growing win.

 

Read more