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Posts Tagged ‘growing herbs’

I had an ‘Ask the Expert’ enquiry this week from Natalie who wanted some advice on which seeds to buy from our website that she could grow at her son’s nursery garden. She wanted to grow things that the children could eat at their snack time but the only draw back was that they had to be able to pick them between now and the end of June before they break up, here was my advice:

As you are limited for time (approx. 9 weeks before the end of June) the quickest things to sow/grow/harvest would be vegetables/herbs that are grown for their leaves rather than their fruit (tomatoes) or roots (carrots, beetroot).

Mustard and Cress

Mustard and Cress are perhaps the easiest and quickest to grow and can be eaten in approx. a week, these can be sown little and often, sow indoors not too thickly on a thin layer of moist compost or moist tissues, cover with a piece of paper until they are 1”(25cm) and then cut when they are about 2”(50cm).

Salad Leaves (Red & Green mixed) are very quick to mature and their different coloured leaves look attractive.

Coriander

Herbs fit nicely into this category and our Herb Variety Pack contains:

Coriander, Basil, Dill, Rocket

Basil

available to buy separately is Parsley (this can sometimes be slow to germinate)

Essential Propagator

 

To get them all off to a good start I would sow them in Pots/Trays in a Propagator or on a warm sunny windowsill. When they are big enough to handle re-pot them into Larger Pots/Trays with more space to grow, again returning them to the windowsill until they are large enough to plant outside when the weather if favourable.

 

They can be planted into Containers, Hanging Baskets, Wall Baskets, Window Boxes or Grow Bags. They are ideal for planting into Raised Beds, Salad and Herb Beds, Corner Raised Beds or Mangers.

It is advisable to protect them with Fleece if any frost is forecast until they are well established.

Salubrious Salad and Herb Bed

For best results they should be in a warm, sheltered and sunny position.

I hope that Natalie and all the children enjoy sowing and growing their seeds and they enjoy eating the lovely fresh leaves too.

Happy Growing

Gill

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Why not try a hanging basket with a difference this year… filled with herbs it will attract a wealth of bees and other insects, plus if it’s positioned next to the kitchen door it will be handy for cooking too.   

Rosemary, lavender, thyme, marjoram, sage and chives will all do well.  ..And they will love the sunny, well-drained conditions. 

Remember mint is quite prolific and if left to its own devices will take over the whole basket so plant it in a pot of its own and sink it into the hanging basket like that.

With many supermarket herbs travelling thousands of miles to our plates, your hanging herb garden will be great for the environment too!

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We recently had an enquiry from Paula in Yorkshire.  Here is her question along with our advice.

“I have got to take a class of Key Stage 4 pupils with learning difficulties for a modular allotment session each week during the first half of the autumn term.  What can I grow in that limited time?”

Hi Paula,
 
 It’s always tricky planning gardening activities with children when you have only a few weeks to see the results. 
 
Bulbs
There are the obvious things to plant such as bulbs.  Outdoor varieties can be planted straight into the ground and provide a nice surprise in early spring when the rest of the garden is still dormant.  The children can also plant their own bulb in a pot to take home.  Indoor varieties of hyacinths, narcissi and crocus are nice.  Always choose good quality bulbs and ones particularly suited to being forced indoors – the labels will tell you.
 
 
Then take a pot, place a few bits of broken crocks or small stones at the bottom for drainage, half fill with moist compost and then position the bulbs so that the top of the bulb reaches the rim of the container.  Water thoroughly from the top.
 
Then put in a cool dark place such as an unheated garage.  Keep the soil moist and in 12 to 16 weeks when the shoots are 2 to 3 inches above the pot move the pots to an unheated space and place in indirect light.  Don’t allow them to dry out.  In a week or two the pots can then be given to the children to take home where they can put them on a sunny window sill and enjoy the flowers.
 
Growing Herbs on Window Sills
Pots of herbs can be sown in  moist compost and cultivated indoors.  Parsley and Sweet Fennel in particular are successful in autumn.  This herb pot holds 4 herbs and has its own self watering systems which is handy. 
 
Sowing Winter Salads
Our selection of winter salad seeds can be planted now and will grow all through winter months.
 
Making Leaf Mould Compost
Kids always love raking leaves.  You can collect them into one of these leaf mould composters and next year you will have a great soil improver for your raised beds
 
 
Good luck with your half term of gardening

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Herbs such as parsley, mint, chives, basil, coriander and dill are plentiful during the summer months. 

But as autumn approaches their growth will be less prolific and they will begin to die back. 

To make the most of these herbs all year round, harvest them at their best, wash and chop them ready for use and then freeze them whilst they are fresh.  They can then be added to cooking all year round!    

For a selection of herb seeds to buy click here.

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