Archive for the ‘Plant Profiles’ Category

How to over-winter your Chilli plants..

Person Author: Gavin Conway Calender December 9, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments
chillie 1

I thought I would share this as it is time to get your Chilli plants ready for overwintering. (I confess this is not my article – I found it on "chilli king" website when I was looking to over winter a few plants of mine.) It is much easier to bring them out after over-wintering as plants rather than bringing them up again from seed. You can choose the best plants in Autumn / Winter that you have to keep for the following season. You are basically going to put them in hibernation and bring them out in the Spring to flourish once more.. 1. Not all your plants will make it though the winter. Assuming you are like most people available space (away from frosts) such as in the greenhouse or conservatory or a sunny windowsill will be limited so only choose your best looking, healthie

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Growing Brussels Sprouts

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender December 8, 2012 Posted Tags: , , , Comment No Comments

Brussels Sprouts [ Brassica oleracea ] you either love them or hate them, I love them! What Christmas dinner table would be complete without them! They appeared as a sport from a cabbage plant and are a very hardy winter vegetable that can stand our coldest winters here in the UK. By choosing early and late varieties, you can have fresh sprouts from late summer right through the winter. Soil Preparation. Sprouts like a rich firm soil so add lots of well rotted manure or garden compost in the winter and let the soil settle before planting. Choose a sunny, sheltered site protected from strong winds. As all brassicas like a slightly alkaline soil, add a dressing of lime before planting. If in doubt you can do a soil test. Sowing. Traditionally sprouts are sown into a nurse

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Growing Fennel.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender December 2, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment 1 Comment

Fennel is an very old plant that has it's origins along the shores of the Mediterranean but it is now found around the world. It is often seen along roadsides and riverbanks from Australia to the USA. It has been naturalized in Britain since Roman times. Herb fennel is very aromatic with a strong aniseed like flavour. It is grown for it's ferny leaves and seeds and has many culinary and medicinal uses. It is a main flavouring ingredient in the liqueur Absinthe. The bulb type of fennel, often called Florence fennel or Finocchio is grown for it's swollen base and is used cooked as a vegetable or used raw in salads. Herb Fennel [ Foeniculum vulgare ] Soil Preparation.  Growing herb fennel is very easy, it is a hardy perennial plant that is not fussy about soil type, so long as

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Growing Parsnips

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender November 18, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment No Comments

The parsnip [ Pastinaca sativa ] is related to the carrot and was brought to Britain by the Romans. It is a very hardy root vegetable and is wonderful when roasted. It also makes a great addition to casserole, soups and stews and is a must for the Christmas dinner table. Parnips are quite easy to grow and require little maintenence. They can be left in the garden, even in the coldest weather. Parsnips are usually sown in early spring, and if successive sowings are made, parsnips can be harvested from autumn right through the winter. Soil Preparation. Dont add fresh manure to the area you are going to sow your parsnips as this can cause to growing roots to fork or split. Parsnips can grow quite long and large, so a good deep, stone free soil is best. Like carrots, they prefer a well d

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Growing Melons

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender November 16, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment No Comments

The melon [ Cucumis melo ] is a member of the Cucurbit family along with squashes and cucumbers. It is unsure where melon's first originated from, but it is thought most likely from Asia or Africa, rather than the USA. It is thought that Columbus introduced melon's to America on his second expedition, carrying them as rations to ward off scurvy. Whatever their origins, melons are tender plants and need warm sunny conditions to thrive. Because of this, they are mostly grown undercover in the UK, though more cold tolerant varieties are being developed. The use of fleece or cloches can help to keep the plants warm in poor weather. Sowing. In April or May, sow the melon seeds on their sides 1/2 inch [ 1 cm ] deep in pots of moist seed or multi purpose compost. Place in a propagator o

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Growing Leeks

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender October 30, 2012 Posted Tags: , , , , Comment No Comments
11 Grass or pips

The Leek [ Allium ampeloprasum var: porrum ], is one of our hardiest and most versatile vegetables. A member of the onion family it closely related to elephant garlic. The leek is a good vegetable for cooler climates like ours, is easy to grow and can fill the harvest gap when there is little else in the garden. By choosing the right varieties, and sowing from February to August, leeks can be harvested for most of the year. They will stand in the ground through the worst of the winter weather. Leeks are a biennial and will produce seedheads in their second year. They can also produce baby leeks on the seedhead called grass or pips. These can be overwintered undercover and planted the following spring. The grass or pips are what exhibition leek grower use to grow their show leeks. Somet

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How to grow Lettuce

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender October 13, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 3 Comments
08 Interplanting Salads

Lettuce [ Lactuca sativa ], is an annual plant that belongs to the asteraceae family. This family includes many garden flowers such as the calendula and sunflower. Lettuce is usually grown for it's tender leaves, most often used in salads. The wild lettuce, the ancestor of our garden lettuce can be found in many countries across the globe and was brought to our shores by the Romans. There are 7 main types of lettuce, Batavian, Buttercrunch, Butterhead, Chinese, Cos, Crisphead and Looseleaf. Within these 7 types are hundreds of varieties that come in a wide range of greens, reds and speckled. By selecting from the large selection of varieties available, lettuce can be grown and harvested almost year round. Batavian Not widely grown in Britain, Batavian lettuce are also known as

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Growing Garlic.

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender October 6, 2012 Posted Tags: , Comment 1 Comment
08 Garlic Bulb

Garlic has a long history of human cultivation of more than 7,000 years, and was well know to the Ancient Egyptians. It is a native of central Asia and has long been established in the Mediterranean. It's popularity has spread across the world. Garlic came to Britain with the Romans and has always been cultivated here. Garlic's big rise in popularity here, began when we Brits started to travel abroad on package tours. On returning home, folks wanted to recreate the wonderful tastes and flavours of the holiday. Then grew the trend for a 'take-away' resulting in a big rise in the number of Italian, Chinese and Indian restaurants and take-away's and garlic was here to stay. It is now a kitchen staple in most British homes. Garlic is part of the Allium family, along with leeks, onions and c

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Growing Maincrop Onions from Seed

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender September 5, 2012 Posted Tags: , , , Comment No Comments

Most folks I know grow their maincrop onions from sets planted in spring, but I have always grown mine from seed. It's pretty easy growing onions from seed, and there is a much greater choice of varieties, onion variates come in many shapes, sizes and colours. If you want to have large onions then the two main factors are, variety and date of sowing. Exhibition growers sow their seed in December, you need a long season to grow big bulbs. The main important factor in growing really big onions is the variety, the most successful gardeners keep saving their seed from their best plants from year to year, developing a good giant strain. You can produce big onions from bought seed, the most popular of these varieties are The Kelsae, Mammoth and Ailsa, and seed is readily available. For most of u

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Person Author: Lajos Szabo Calender August 28, 2012 Posted No Tags Comment No Comments

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is also known as artichoke thistle and is indeed a very close relative of the artichoke. It is a very attractive perennial plant and a really interesting feature in your kitchen garden or in the flower border too. The plants grow very tall, about 2 metres in ideal conditions. It is native to the Mediterranean and widely used there but not so much here in the UK. Cardoon was used more in Victorian times. Some resources say that you can eat the flower buds just like the artichokes but more traditional is to use the leaf stalks similar to celery. The flavour of the stalk resembles artichoke of course and really tasty with hollandaise sauce. The best time to pick the leaf stalks is late winter – early spring just before the long flower stalks start to grow

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