To get your seeds off to a good start you will need a few things –
Pots/seed trays – I am currently using egg boxes but you can use old yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and the like.
Good seeds – its worth looking for good seeds. There are lots of different varieties of different vegetables that have different qualities so have a good think about what variety would best suit your needs – www.seedsdirect.com have an amazing range of seeds to choose from and use very little packaging.
A sunny/warm windowsill – some seeds need light to germinate others don’t but they all need to be warm.
A little patience – germination varies between different plants so some will break through before others, hold out for a while before giving up on them.
In the house I have been sewing the first seeds of the year, here’s what I’m planning on growing…
I intend to try a bit of architectural vegetable growing with globe artichokes at the back with their large white-green leaves and tall flower stems and beautiful thistle like flowers (if they don’t get eaten) in front of these Rhubarb plants with a stark colour contrast of ruby pink stems and huge green elephant ear leaves at the front of the bed a mass of different mint plants which, in time, will infiltrate the entire bed.
Mini Gem lettuce
These are being grown as a bit of a filler while the space is there and also like the kale as a distraction for the chickens. Once grown to maturity I will pot them on and pop them into the run for the chucks to peck at and play with.
A summer flavour I can’t live without is Courgettes pan fried with garlic. Courgettes are great ground cover between veggies in your patch, they need nurturing indoors or under glass until they are grown up enough to withstand some slug and snail attacks. I may try starting them in pots protected with copper tape which the slimy baddies can’t slide over. Staggering the sewing of these seeds will help ensure your plants crop for longer.
A stunning edible plant with a fiery peppery flavour. The flowers and leaves are edible and the seed pods make great home-made caper replacement. They are easy to grow but beware – they self-seed very efficiently and will come back next year, they also take a lot of space so I favour a trailing plant that I can grow down my raised walls.
Seeds are great and lots of fun if you have the time and space but this year, I’m going to be looking at plug plants as well. I don’t have very much window sill space as they are full of house plants! www.rocketgardens.co.uk have a wide selection of 100% organic plant plugs and also have created garden plans for you to help make planning easier. I’ve decided to choose my own and this year I have ordered –
I have always wanted to grow these. They are delicious, think nutty potatoes. But they are also quite invasive. I haven’t worked out where they will go yet so watch this space.
A beautiful addition to the plot! And yummy, I’m holding back on planting spinach to give these guys a go. Purley for looks as it’s hard to beat a row of perpetual spinach which just keeps on giving.
Cherry Tomatoes – Tiny Tim
Another new project for this year. Tomatoes in hanging baskets! Let’s see how it goes. A great solution for homes with limited garden space.
I know, I know. Runners are the easiest plants to grow from seed but I don’t have much windowsill space and the slugs and snails make light work of baby beans so lazy bean buying it is for me this year as I need lots to be able to recreate Mrs Malley’s runner bean chutney. Keep ‘em peeled for the recipe in a future blog!
Tomatoes – Gardeners Delight
As with the runners this is just an easy option for me. Also, if you don’t nurture healthy tomato plants, they will grow to be weak adults. Much easier to get them in adolescence and take it from there! There is nothing quite like homegrown tomatoes, I love them! There is a fantastic Tomato & Pomegranate Salad recipe in the Fast Vegan cook book on page 156.