Posts Tagged ‘vegetable containers’

Growing Vegetables A beginners guide

September 14, 2017

Sick of paying supermarket prices for your greens? Then why not sow vegetable seeds and start your own vegetable patch!

Not only is growing your own little vegetable haven a great thing to keep you occupied but it can save you money too. Those tomatoes you need to cook your favourite meal? No need to go and fork out lots of money at the supermarket, just head to your garden!

For many though, the prospect of starting a veg patch can be a little daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a little beginner’s guide to creating your own vegetable plot, sowing vegetables seeds is easy and fun even if you only have a small veg plot. We hope you find it useful! What would you like to grow? Before you do anything you need to decide what it is you would like to grow. As a beginner I recommend you start small. Putting too much on your plate means that you’re going to be overwhelmed with trying to manage and maintain everything in your plot.

Remember that things like tomatoes and peppers will continue to provide throughout the season. Things like carrots and corn however will only produce once, so you may need to plant more of these.

A favourite is baby leaf vegetable seeds where you can sow the salad leaf mixtures found on the supermarket shelves, make your own mixtures up from some of the following or add your own, Lettuce, Corn Salad, Rocket, Cress, Radicchio, Pak Choi, Mizuna, Lambs Lettuce, Baby Spinach, Endive, Chervil, Mustard Greens, Dandelion

It’s all about what you and your family will eat. There’s no point planting peppers if nobody is going to eat them!

Do you have the room? Now you know exactly what it is you’re growing you can start to estimate the kind of space you’re going to need. You aren’t going to need a lot of space. Heck, you don’t even need a garden. You could grow veg in some containers on your balcony!

There are a few things that the vegetables do need to flourish though:

  • Plenty of sun. Less sun means that they might not produce as much food and they may be more susceptible to diseases.
  • Lots of water. Like everything, your plants need water to grow. If you’re in a bit of a dry spell, make sure that you give them plenty.
  • Quality soil. Regardless of what you’re growing quality soil is a must. The majority of veg perform well in rich well drained soil.

Test the soil So, how do you test if your soil is up to the challenge? Well soak the soil with a hose and then leave it over night. The next morning head out into the garden grab a handful and squeeze. If water is streaming out then you’re going to want to add compost to help improve the drain.

If the soil hasn’t congealed in your hand then it may be too sandy. Adding organic matter will help this.

Now you’re soil is ready, plant your vegetable seeds!

Keep the weeds at bay Unsurprisingly, weeds are as unwelcome in the veg patch as they would be anywhere else in the garden. These pests compete with your veg for sun, water and nutrients. Once a week head out to your patch and pull out all the weeds you can.

You should also look into veg fertilizers to make the most of your crop.

Patience and proper care should mean that your veg yield plenty for you and the family!

Good luck!

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Tomato Seeds – beefsteak tomato and cherry tomato

September 13, 2017

New tomato varieties include beefsteak, cherry tomatoes, container and hanging basket tomato seeds from the small cherry to extra large Porterhouse beefsteak.

Tomato Apricot Dreams 10 seeds
Tomato Apricot Dreams
Masses of very sweet fruit in a delightful apricot/orange colour.
Apricot Dream will produce 20-30 fruit per truss with a very high sugar content giving a candy-like sweetness! Indeterminate but with a controlled habit making it very useable in a patio container.

Tomato Baby Boomer 10 seeds
Tomato Baby Boomer
A  prolific hybrid cherry tomato, yielding a bumper crop of up to 300 little sweeties bursting with a great big flavour. Ideal for patio, containers and small areas.

Tomato Big Daddy 10 seeds
Big Daddy
Which Best Buy for great flavour, a breakthrough for taste, size, disease resistance and yield, Big Daddy is a hybrid, bred from the all time great Big Boy. Produces delicious ruby red round meaty fruits, a huge 15 ounces over a long season

Tomato Brandy Boy 10 seeds
Brandy Boy
This new beefsteak hybrid produces loads of large pink fruits up to 14cm across. Brandy Boy captures all the rich flavour of the much loved Brandywine heirloom tomatoes. Fruits have a more shapely form, tidier indeterminate growth, bigger and earlier yields. One of the all time classics has just got better with a nice thin skin, soft heirloom texture and an exceptional tangy sweet taste.

Tomato Green Envy 15 Tomato seeds
Green Envy
A meaty, tangy green cherry tomato, wondrously sweet and juicy. Like no green tomato you have ever seen or tasted before, 1 inch long emerald green sweet cherry tomatoes fruit in abundance in clusters. Great eaten raw, baked, grilled or sautéed, try them in a Salsa, with red cherry tomatoes. Indeterminate 60-70 days from transplant

Tomato Orange Wellington 10 seeds
Orange Wellington
Tipping the scales at up to 340 grams this smooth skinned, hybrid orange heavyweight is plump, dense, meaty with very few seeds. A tomato that is bursting with flavour and ideal to have with dinner, lunch, snacks or on the breakfast plate.

Tomato Pink Pounder 10 seeds
Pink Pounder
A 16oz pink hybrid beefsteak tomato that has gourmet-worthy creamy sweet, pink flesh and superb flavour. Vines produce fruit up until frosts.

Tomato Porterhouse 10 seeds
Porterhouse Beefsteak Tomato
Extra large beefsteak
Plump beefsteak tomatoes that tip the scales at an amazing 2 to 4 lbs each. They are bursting with larger than life old fashioned flavour, smooth texture, deep red luscious flesh all the way through the fruits, with just the right balance between meaty solids and succulent juices.

Tomato Steak Sandwich 10 seeds
Steak Sandwich
Large luscious hybrid tomatoes that offer the good old fashioned tomato taste for sandwiches and salads. They remain firm when ripe, so you can slip a slice into a burger, sandwich or BLT and savour succulent, rich, sweet taste. The compact (less than 1m high) vigorous plants are loaded with dozens of 10oz fruits at a time, that continues from mid summer until early autumn. Tomato Steak Sandwich Indeterminate (cordon) 70 days from transplant to maturity.

Tomato Sweetie 20 Tomato seeds
Tomato Sweetie
A cherry variety producing large clusters of very sweet tasty red fruits, suitable for indoor or outdoor growing requiring a sunny position. plant height 6-8′ days to maturity 69-80 days. Indeterminate.

Tomato Terenzo 8 Tomato seeds
Terenzo 
High yielding compact bushy hybrid plants, sweet red cherry tomatoes Terenzo is a trailing plant that is ideal for baskets and containers, a great snacking tomato, approx 30mm 20g crack resistant fruits. 56 days from transplanting to fruit. Determinate. Plant height 30cm spread 40cm.

Tomato Tomande 10 seeds
Tomande
Tomato connoisseurs rave about the flavour of these broad shouldered 6oz fruits. Fleshy, juicy and flavourful, Tomande (hybrid) will treat gourmet gardeners with both heirloom taste and abundant yields. Indeterminate 72 days from transplant to maturity.

Tomato Seeds from Nicky’s Seeds

Cucumbers – grow your own

September 9, 2017

Cucumbers

There is no doubt about it, a salad just isn’t a salad without cucumber, whether sliced, diced or even lightly pickled in advance by a few hours in a nice French vinaigrette dressing. Most people are used to shop-bought cucumber have almost forgotten how fabulous a cucumber can taste when it is brought still warm from the sun and eaten with a touch of salt, some nice crumbly cheese and a piece of crusty bread. Cucumbers don’t need complicated preparation – slice, season and eat. Delicious.

 

Another thing that many people don’t know is how many different varieties of Vegetable Cucumber seeds there are and how amazingly easy they are to grow. If you plant just a few seeds of any type of cucumber, either a greenhouse variety such as Femspot or an outdoor sort (sometimes called ‘ridge’) such as Marketmore, you will soon become the most popular person in town, because you will have plenty to share with your friends and neighbours. Cucumber seeds grow into plants that are usually very heavy croppers and most varieties now are resistant to the moulds and mildews which used to be such a problem when growing this kind of very succulent vegetable.

 

Cucumbers are not just for salads of course. Children often love to just eat them like fruit and there are a couple of varieties which have this in mind. Crystal Lemon cucumbers are great fun for a lunchbox. They don’t grow very big and are round with yellow skins (hence the name) and the flesh is very sweet and juicy so you can eat them just like an apple. A mini-cucumber which has a more standard look is little Pony Cucumber, which fits fine in any packed lunch. Both of these cucumbers will happily grow outside in warmer areas or with a little protection if the climate is a little colder, so they are a perfect choice for a child to grow themselves and as we all know, all children eat their five a day far more readily if they have grown them themselves.

 

If you are into doing your own pickling, why not start from scratch and grow your own gherkins. This way, you can pick them really tiny or let them get a bit bigger and pickle them in brine. Polish dill pickles, ogórki kiszone, take only around 20 minutes to make (although the five week fermentation is a long time to wait if you really love them) and cost a fraction of what you would pay in a shop. Just one packet of seeds will give you enough fruits to put in pickles for the whole year and cost less than one jar.

Vegetable Container Gardening

May 5, 2017

There is absolutely no argument that home grown vegetables taste better than anything you can buy in the shops, and that includes organic produce and that bought at farmers’ markets and farm shops. It isn’t just about freshness; there is the taste of satisfaction that you get when you have grown something yourself, especially if you have raised it from seed.

Swiss Chard Container

Swiss Chard Container

You don’t have to be a very experienced gardener to grow vegetables from seed and you certainly don’t need an enormous plot. Lots of people make the mistake of taking on an allotment and getting disheartened with the amount of work they have let themselves in for. If time is tight or you just want to treat yourself occasionally with something home grown, there is nothing wrong with trying vegetable container gardening, on the patio or even along the path, if space is really in short supply.

One of the top tips for anyone raising plants from seed is to read the packet carefully. All seeds in Nicky’s Nursery will give you all the information you need to help you achieve success. With vegetables in particular you can get details on when to sow and whether you can start seeds off indoors or sow them directly where they are to grow; when the vegetables will be ready to harvest; and, perhaps most importantly when trying out vegetable container gardening, how big they will grow. Although it is possible to grow runner beans in a container, supporting them can be tricky as the plants can get heavier than the pot. If you have access to some real terracotta pots of a decent size, that is a real help as they won’t tip over so quickly and they also don’t tend to make the roots as hot as plastic pots will.

You might feel that you don’t want to make too much of an outlay on your vegetable container gardening project, in case you don’t like it (although you will, that is almost a guarantee!) and in that case you can look around the house and garden for containers. One brilliant way to vegetable garden on the cheap is to use supermarket ‘lifetime’ carrier bags, with drainage holes punched in. Be careful to choose the ones which form a square bottom, for stability, but this way you not only have a container for a few pence, but you can also move lighter crops around by lifting by the handles. They are ideal for carrots (for a bit of fun try crème de lite pale yellow carrots or cosmic purple); beetroot, leeks, celery and a host of other vegetables where you might want to sow just a few at a time.

You will soon find you are hooked on vegetable container gardening and next year you can try all sorts of exciting things to perk up your plate – try chillies, herbs, and marrows or branch out into kohlrabi, chicory or the tiniest of baby new potatoes; all much nicer than from the shops and cheaper too.

Oriental Veg or Asian Veg

March 21, 2017

Pak Choi Bonsai

Grow your own Oriental Vegetables from seeds, if you like oriental food, you probably
cook it at home sometimes, but it is hard to get the same tangy flavours and
fresh bite of the vegetables that you get in a restaurant. Using packs of stir
fry vegetables from the supermarket are not going to get you any nearer to your
favourite flavours either. Not only are they seriously overpriced when you
consider that they are usually just a pre-chopped mixture of cabbage, onion,
mushroom and red peppers but they are also bland and often rather wilted and
stale. If you make up your own mixture you can get nearer to restaurant quality
but for real taste, crunch and variety, it is so much better to grow your own,
as well as being so much more fun.

Chinese Cabbage Wa Wa SAi

Nicky’s Nursery has one of the largest
selections of oriental vegetable seeds available anywhere and whilst you will
recognise some, others might need a little research before you try cooking with
them. Happily for the adventurous cook, not only does the website give a
description and usually a picture, there are also hints on how to cook the
various oriental vegetables on offer. Scorzonera is not known to many people,
for example, but it may be more familiar as black salsify. It is a root
vegetable which can be used as a coffee substitute but in a stir fry it gives a
nice solid crunch as well as a hard-to place earthy flavour.

Scorzonera

Some of the oriental vegetables you can
easily grow at home can be used in various ways, depending how they are sown.
For example, if you want to use them as salad leaves, or young to wilt into a
cooked dish, you should sow the seeds of komatsuna torasan (a spinach-like
leaf) thickly and harvest as soon as they are large enough. For a more
substantial vegetable, they should be sown more thinly (or thinned out) and
left to mature, when their leaves are quite strongly flavoured and can stand
alone as a vegetable, lightly stir fried with some sesame oil and the dressing
of your choice – they go particularly well with teriyaki.

Komatsuna Torasan

Komatsuna Torasan

Radishes of various kinds are a staple
oriental vegetable and you can use the root or the leaves in many dishes. Some
of the roots can be really hot and so it is always a good idea to use sparingly
at first – you can always use more next time! Rat tail radish is a fun vegetable
to grow – the pods grow above ground and can be used in a variety of dishes and
can be used raw or cooked. The plants look very unusual with their pods which
terminate in a thin tail (hence their name) and could be placed in a border if
you don’t have much room – they will certainly get a lot of attention. If you
are growing for looks as well as taste, a bed of various mustards would look
great and because they grow so fast you can keep them going all season with
careful staggered sowing. Flaming Frills is a really flamboyant mustard with
purple serrated leaves and whether you pick it really young as a salad leaf or
leave it to get a bit bigger to stir fry it (it just needs wilting for a few
seconds) it has a mild mustard flavour which enhances any dish but goes
particularly well with chicken.

Radish Rat Tails

There are loads of reasons for growing
your own oriental vegetables – the fun of seeing what they look like before
they arrived chopped up on your plate; trying new flavours and having fresh
food at your fingertips are all important, but the main one has to be cost. A
packet of seeds of an oriental vegetable mix will have up to 400 seeds in it
and will cost less than a bag of stir fry vegetables from the supermarket. It
just has to make sense to grow your own!

Siamese Dragon Mixture

Grow your own Tomatoes from Seed

March 12, 2017

Tomatoes picked straight from the plant and eaten within minutes are one
of the most amazing pleasures of growing your own – nothing comes even close to
the smell, texture and taste of a fresh tomato. When you grow your own
tomatoes from seed, there are lots of things to consider and if you are new to it, it is
well worth looking in to all the different kinds available but be warned –
there are hundreds to choose from.

Baby Tomatoes Goldrush Currant

The first consideration is how much room you have. If you have a
spacious greenhouse which you won’t want for any other growing for the whole
season, then really you can have practically any variety. For tomatoes
throughout the season, choose different varieties so that you don’t end up with
an enormous glut all at once. Also, it is a good idea to choose a few different
sizes – beefsteak tomatoes for Mediterranean salads and sandwiches (try Black
Brandywine
, a heritage dark variety which looks spectacular and tastes
wonderful); plum tomatoes for cooking; cherry style tomatoes which are ideal
for children’s snacks and finally the classic round tomatoes for salads and
general use – although it is great fun to vary it with a few unusual ones
available from Nicky’s Nursery such as egg yolk, a yellow variety the size and
colour of, yes, you’ve guessed it, an egg yolk! The packet sizes from Nicky’s
Nursery are very sensible, with 10-30 seeds depending on variety, so you won’t
be boring the neighbours with trays of unwanted tomato plants.

Tomato Black Cherry

Sweet & Juicy Tomato Black Cherry

The other thing to check before buying is whether your tomato plants
need a greenhouse or will grow outdoors. If you are new to growing tomatoes
from seed you may have come across the terms ‘determinate’ and ‘indeterminate’
and wondered what it means. It is very simple really and you will need to
consider how you will be using the fruits before you choose which you grow.
Determinate tomato plants grow not very high, usually around four feet and are
often also called ‘bush’ tomatoes. They grow and set fruit until the truss
(group of tomatoes) on the top of the plant sets, then all the fruit ripens at
once – usually over around two weeks – and then the plant dies. Indeterminate
tomatoes keep on growing and can reach quite high if you don’t pinch out the
terminal buds. The fruit sets and ripens as the plant grows and so you will keep
on getting fruit for a whole season. Most of the more unusual or heritage
strains are indeterminate and if you only intend to grow a few plants, they are
the best to choose. You can lengthen the season with determinate strains by
sowing the tomato seeds in batches, but you won’t be able to lengthen the season by
much.

Summer tastes are really encapsulated in the taste, tang, feel and smell
of a fresh tomato straight off the bush or vine and growing them from seed
could hardly be simpler, so if you only grow one vegetable plant this year,
make it a tomato.

Baby Veg from seeds

November 15, 2016

Cucamelon, Melothria Scabra, Mexican Sour Gherkin

Baby vegetable seeds can be grown in a variety of different ways. You don’t
have to buy seeds which are specifically developed to give baby vegetables – you can also
harvest early or sow the seed thickly of some varieties, so they don’t have much chance to
develop. Some people like to harvest crops such as carrots and leeks when they
are small as a matter of course – they tend to be sweeter then as the sugars
have not converted to starch and they are also tenderer. If you take
precautions against attracting carrot fly – you can ask a dozen gardeners how
to prevent this pest and their replies will vary between putting ground coffee
on the ground, growing marigolds, onions and leeks nearby or using fleece –
then you can use two methods at once. You can sow thickly, then use the early
thinnings as baby veg and grow the rest on to maturity, harvesting as you go to
make the best of their sweetness.

Cucumber Pony baby cucumber

Some plants are best grown from deliberately bred dwarf stock, such as
aubergines – Nicky’s Nursery stocks Hansel, an F1 hybrid with purple fruit that
can be harvested as small as two inches long. This is something to remember –
small is not necessarily ‘baby’; it might mean unripe and therefore not good to
eat. Check the packaging if you intend to eat something when it is not mature;
not all plants take kindly to being harvested young and you could end up with
an inedible crop.

Aubergine Hansel

Baby Veg Aubergine Hansel harvest from 2 inches to 10 inches

Baby vegetables not only taste good, they look good too and if you are
on a diet and tending to ‘eat with your eyes’ the plate appeal is very
important. As well as being small, some of the baby vegetables come in weird
and wonderful colours, such as the cauliflower strain ‘Sunset’. As its name
suggests, it comes in a glowing orange shade, which is deepest at ‘baby’ size,
but does still linger even if allowed to grow to full maturity. If you like
runner beans but prefer smaller veg, then Minnow would be ideal. They are the
size of a stringless French bean but with all the taste of a runner.

Cauliflower Sunset seeds

Baby or Mini veg Cauliflower Sunset

Tomatoes are the undisputed rulers of the baby vegetable patch. Many of
the cherry tomatoes are less than an inch across but the baby of even this tiny
strain is the tomato sweet pea currant, which has masses of fruits of less than
a fifth that size. Perfect in salads or to encourage children to eat more
vegetables, tiny tomatoes are a fun way to the five a day. For a perfect salad,
try Iceberg Warpath, a baby lettuce with the crisp leaves of a classic iceberg
but none of the bulk. Baby vegetables need to be sown in succession, to make
sure of a season-long supply of the little beauties.

Grow your vegetables from seed

September 25, 2016

Vegetable seeds grow your own Vegetables, oriental veg, baby veg, patio container veg, cut and come again, heirloom, Italian range, tomato, pepper, beans, peas, salad and root vegetables. Nothing can compare to harvesting your own vegetables full of freshness and flavour straight from the garden. No matter what the size of your vegetable garden, from containers on the patio to planting vegetables in your flower border or growing vegetables on an allotment.  It’s simple, easy and nothing beats growing your own vegetables, children will enjoy sowing seeds, growing and eating their own home produce.

Vegetable Seeds

 

Grow Your Own Salad Leaf Mixtures

March 13, 2016

Most fridges these days have a bag of salad leaves turning slimy and
smelly in the vegetable drawer – we buy them for a pinch to liven up a salad,
quiche or jacket potato and then promptly forget the rest. Either that, or
there is a certain leaf we don’t like and we pick it out and waste it. Without
even considering the cost – which averages out at over £1 and can easily be far
more – and the risk of catching nasty diseases from inadequately washed leaves,
it make a lot of sense to grow your own. As an added incentive, let’s not even
mention the occasional story of the live frog/dead insects and all the other
livestock found in a bag of salad leaf mix.

Nicky’s nursery has a huge choice of seeds for you to try if you fancy
having a go at growing your own salad leaf mixture. You can make the
mixture whatever you like by choosing the varying kinds for sale and the best
part is that, by careful successional sowing, you can have fresh, sweet and
tender salad leaves right through the season. So no more slimy bags in the back
of the fridge. With no waste and with each packet costing at the most the
equivalent of two bags of washed salad leaves, it makes financial sense to grow
your own salad leaf mixture, but that is to ignore the amazing difference in
the taste. You won’t ever get that horrible sour, bitter taste in your mouth
again as you chew down on a leaf that is well past its best. Every leaf you
pick is at the peak of freshness and you can make up the combination that suits
the dish the best.

You don’t need to have masses of room to keep the average family
supplied with lovely fresh baby salad leaves – a few pots will be ample and if
you start in March by sowing a few seeds under glass, you can progress to
sowing outside once the weather warms up. Nicky’s Nursery also has a huge range
of cut and come again salad vegetables
which you can pull a leaf at a time to add to a leaf mix or allow to grow a bit
bigger to be used in stir fries or wilted gently with some butter for a lovely
light summer vegetable. Even if you live in a flat, you will have room to grow
your own salad leaf mixture. You only need to scatter a few seeds on a decent
sized pot or tray and they will soon be showing green. You can let them get to
proper lettuce size if you want but most people can’t resist pulling them when
they are really tiny and sweet. With a lightly seasoned French dressing, they
are good to eat on their own, or, if you are growing some baby vegetables, why
not treat yourself to a warm goat’s cheese, baby beetroot, red onion and baby
salad leaf salad for lunch. It tastes like summer on a plate and apart from
anything else, it is really good for you.


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