Categories
Seed Sowing

Rocket

Eruca vesicaria

When to Sow: All year (weather permitting)

How to Sow:

  • Sow thinly into finely raked, warm moist soil, or in pots in bands approx.
  • 9cm (3.5” wide, covering the seed lightly and firming the soil gently. Grow on keeping the soil moist.
  • Harvest when the leaves are 7.5-10cm (3-4”) tall.
  • Sow little and often for continuous supply. Fleece can be used in the winter months for added protection if grown outdoors. Can also be grown under glass in pots or trays with or without heat, or on the windowsill all year round.
  • By continually harvesting the outer leaves, rocket can be used as a cut and come again crop giving you great value from a single sowing.
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Seed Sowing

Cabbage

Brassica oleracea

When to Sow: Jan-Feb indoors, March-June outdoors

How to Sow:

  • Sow Jan-Feb in a propagator on a windowsill or in a frost free greenhouse.
  • Cover with 6mm of compos.
  • Transplant seedlings into 75mm (3”) pots, grow on and finally plant outside in well cultivated soil for early crops.
  • For later sowings, sow thinly March-June into a finely raked seedbed at a depth of 13mm.
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Seed Sowing

Celery

Apium graveolens

How to Sow:

  • Sow seed in a heated propagator on the surface of a good free draining damp seed compost.
  • Cover with a sprinkling of compost. Germination takes up to 15 days.
  • Transplant when large enough to handle into trays or individual modules.
  • Grow on steadily in cooler conditions before planting out after all risk of frost has passed, 30 cm (12”) between plants each way.
  • It is essential plants are kept adequately moist throughout the growing season. If grown in a block, plants are naturally self blanching.
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Seed Sowing

Broad Bean

Vicia faba

How to Sow:

  • Sow outdoors where they are to crop, Sow 5cm (2”) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered.
  • To make best use of space sow seeds 23cm (9”) apsrt in a wide row, in a zig zag pattern leaving a space of 45cm (19”) between each row.
  • Seedlings usually apart in 10-18 days.
  • Early and late sowings benefit from cloche protection. Water well until plants are established. Successional sowing will ensure a continuous supply and longer harvest.
  • Or sow indoors 2.5cm (1”) deep into individually into pots, or get them started in a cool greenhouse in toilet roll tubes. Water well and place in a warm position. Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts) before planting out 23cm 9”) apart.
  • Harvested fresh beans are great for freezing for later use, or let them dry on the plant and save them in jars for a much later date, or indeed sowing next year!
  • Broad beans are a great source of vitamin B1 folate and fibre.

    Varieties:

    The Sutton

    Bunyards Exhibition
Categories
Seed Sowing

Tomato

Solanum Lycopersicum

How to Sow:

  • Sow under glass 0.5cm (1/4”) deep in pots or trays of compost and cover with a light sprinkling of compost. Place containers in a propagators at 18-21 degrees Celsius.
  • Prick out seedlings, once large enough to handle, into 9cm (3.5”) pots. Transplant to the greenhouse, border soil or individual large pots, or 3 plants per growbag when they are 20cm (8”) high. Can also be planted outdoors once all risk of frost has passed.
  • Plants require side-shooting and support for the best yields. Water plants regularly.
  • If growing outside pinch out the growing tip after 4-5 trusses of fruit have set. An excellent sources of vitamin C and lycopene.

    Varieties:

    Yellow Delight These strong plants produce many small trusses of unusual yellow long pear shaped fruits.
Categories
Seed Sowing

Pea (Maincrop)

Pisum sativum

WHEN TO SOW

March to May

Where to Sow

Prepare a flat bottom drill 5cm (2in) deep and 10cm, (4in) wide.

What to do next

Space seeds 5cm (2in) apart throughout the drill allowing 60cm (24in) between the drills, then cover over with soil and gently tamp down with the back of a rake. It is advisable to give some net protection against birds, once seedlings start to grow , then add some net support for plants to climb and hold the crop. Alternatively very early spring sowings can be made in February or March into a length of plastic gutter or modular cells under glass and then planted out against wires. Slide contents of gutter into a shallow drill made in the plot or space modular plants 10-15cm(4-6in) apart once hardened off.

MATURITY

June to August

HANDY TIP

If you prefer to choose varieties of different maturity rather than successional sowing, this fits between Kelvedon Wonder and Onward.

Varieties:

Pea Early Onward produce blunt pods of dark green packed full of good flavour and can be harvested some 10 days earlier than Onward. The pods are well filled with peas and prolific. the plant can grow to a height of 60cm. To get the sweetest flavour, peas are best cooked when picked young and cooked within 30 minutes of harvest, before the sugar has turned to starch.

Categories
Seed Sowing

Dwarf French Beans

Phaseolus vulgaris

Sow: April to June.

Early sowings can be made under glass at a temperature of 16°C. Sow into 8cm pots or modular trays filled with seed sowing compost.

Outside sowings can be made from May onwards into the growing site 5cm deep. Sow 2-3 seeds every 20cm apart with rows spaced 45cm apart. Seedlings sown under glass should be gradually hardened off before planting outside in late May to the above spacing, once all risk of frost has past.

Direct sown seedlings can be thinned out as required. Water regularly during dry weather.

Ready to harvest from July to September.

Varieties:

Masterpiece is a long standing, popular choice with most keen bean growers. It produces early crops of large, flat, bright green, podded type beans. This variety is very much suitable for early sowing under cloches or outside.

Categories
Seed Sowing

Spinach

Spinacia oleracea

A small-leaved, very tender spinach for salads and cooking. Good mildew resistance and moderately winter hardy – good for late season cropping. Grow as baby leaf under glass throughout the winter.

Outdoors: sow thinly, March-September, where they are to crop, 2.5cm (1″) deep, directly into finely-prepared, fertile, moisture-retentive soil, which has already been watered.

Early sowings may benefit from cloche protection. Seedlings usually appear in 7-14 days. Water well and ensure soil remains moist to prevent plants running to seed. No thinning is necessary if only baby leaves are required. Thin to 10cm (4″) apart to produce mature plants.

Sowings from July onwards should only be grown for baby leaves. Allow 30cm (1′) between rows.

Harvest: May-October. Harvest unthinned as baby leaves. Take a few leaves from the outer sides of each plant, allowing them to regrow for two or three more pickings.


Top Tip:
Regular sowings, made every two to three weeks, will ensure a continuous supply. Pick young leaves regularly to encourage further growth.

Seed Saving: Don’t save seed from these as they are F1 hybrid and will not come true.

Categories
Seed Sowing

Carrot

Daucus carota

Dig or till the carrot bed when the soil is on the dry side to avoid making lumps. Work the soil to a fine texture 15-25cm (4-6 in.) deep to allow the carrot roots to grow long and shapely.

Sow seed thinly in rows Mar – Jul, 1cm (1/2 in.) deep, 23-30cm (9-12 in.) between the rows as soon as the danger of hard frost has passed. Try to get about 4 seeds per 2cm (1 in.). Thin to 2in between carrots when large enough to handle.

‘Little Fingers’ variety carrots are quick maturing, extremely sweet, gourmet miniature carrots with 4in cylindrical blunt tipped roots with very little core. Easy and quick to grow and can be planted densely, ideal for smaller spaces.

Categories
Seed Sowing

Rainbow Chard

Beta vulgaris

The fresh crinkly, edible leaves can be picked when young and used in salads dishes. Larger leaves can be cooked and served like spinach or the leaves can be cooked by steaming. There are a wide number of recipes available for cooking chard.

Seed sowing

Seeds can be sown indoors, in a greenhouse in March and April to give the plants a head start. You can sow the seed clusters 2cm deep in pots or modular trays of damp seed compost at the rate of one per pot or module. Each cluster will produce 3-5 seedlings, so you will need to reduce these to one healthy plant. Ensure the pots or trays do not dry out. Germination takes 5-7 days.

Alternatively, you can sow directly outdoors into well prepared seed beds from April to July. Create a furrow around 2cm deep and sow the seeds thinly. Cover with fine soil and water with a watering can and fine rose attachment. Thin the emerging seedlings to 30cm apart for large plants, much less if growing for cut and come again baby leaves.

Growing in containers

Rainbow chard will grow well in containers of fertile soil or compost and the plants looks great placed on a sunny patio. Plants that have been grown under cover can be transplanted to containers from May onwards or when all danger of frost has passed. It’s always a good idea to acclimatise (harden off) plants that are grown under cover as they will be tender and susceptible to frost and wind damage.

Chard like to be positioned in full sun or partial shade but must be kept watered during dry weather. A liquid fertiliser feed can be applied every 2 weeks to ensure the plants grow strong and healthy.

Harvesting and storage

For a continuous fresh supply of leaves for salads, pick young leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Just one or two crops will keep the supply coming all through the summer months and well into the autumn. For cooking, large leaves can be harvested at any time but again the more you pick the more you will get. It’s best to cut through the stems cleanly with a sharp knife, leaving a few centimetres of stem in the ground, and working your way from the outside inwards.

Rainbow chard can be frozen for up to a year if first blanched and then packed in airtight bags.

Nutritional Values:

Vitamins A, C and K and many other trace elements. It has anti-inflammatory properties. The leaves also contain a high level of nitrates, which are known to reduce blood pressure, and alpha-lipoic acid, which is known to control blood sugar levels.