Hello Hello and welcome to the growing family!
Firstly, sorry for the delay, the recent shopify update was not letting me upload any new blogs.
Your recent purchase means the world to me, and I just wanted to start with a massive thank you! If you are a recurring growing family member from April, May, June or July then welcome back, I’m so happy and excited to show you the August box!
August is the time of the year where our gardens are bursting with life, and we should be able to harvest an abundance of food. For the growing family members who have been growing past boxes, now you should be well on your way to having massive harvests.
Let’s get growing together!
In your August box you will find:
1 small recycled fabric pot
1 medium recycled fabric pot
1 large recycled fabric pot
Twine securing your pots together
1 pack of Dill seeds, 1 pack of Swiss Chard seeds and 1 pack of Pak Choi seeds
2 blocks of peat-free compost
Organic plant food
3 grow guides
1 how to start your compost guide
1 thank you for your order and how to dispose guide.
Now let’s get growing! (This is the same as April, May and June)
It is a good idea to get started with your compost blocks. You can expand one block to start off with but I like to expand them both at the same time.
You will need a water tight container such as a bucket or tray. Place your compost blocks into your container, but make sure the compost has room to expand. It might look small now but its going to grow like crazy!
Start by adding 1 liter at a time, warm water will speed up the process but it is by no means necessary. Overall the dried compost blocks will absorb around 6-10 liters.
After a few minutes the compost will start to expand, if it is not expanding, try breaking a few chunks apart and adding a touch more water.
Now its time to get your hands dirty, break apart your blocks making sure to break apart any chunks. You might find you need to add more water at this stage.
Your coco coir compost should be lovely and fluffy with no lumps, and not saturated with water. If you still have lumpy compost, continue to break it apart with your hands. If your compost is soaking wet you can squeeze out some of the moisture.
Now let's get your seeds started!
This months box is super easy to grow and I cannot wait for you to try the amazing crops we are growing.
Lets start with Dill
I have selected muskat dill as it has been a staple in my garden for years. Not too large, but with fantastic flavor, it is perfect for small pots. Dill is a must if you plan on making any home made pickles this year, especially if you are growing our cucumbers.
To get you dill started please use the smallest pot in the kit
Fill this pot halfway and add in roughly 1/5th of your plant food
And then fill the pot nearly to the the top with more compost
And using the back of your hand flatten the top of your compost, this is not necessary, but I find it is a big help.
Now, if we were growing these earlier in the season, I would suggest spacing out the seeds, but as it is getting late in the season, we will be harvesting these young. As a result, just sprinkle your seeds, on the compost as evenly as possible.
Cover with another thin layer of compost, and water really well.
Do not forget to give your dill a name with your plant labels, and place outside in a warm sunny location.
After a few weeks your dill will start to poke through the soil, and here we have two choices. We can either thin out these seedlings, only leaving a couple to grow to full size. However, as it is so late in the season I will be leaving them all to grow, as we will be harvesting them young.
The young plants are quite delicate, so please be careful when watering, as you can damage them. At this stage all you need to do is make sure the dill is growing in a warm sunny location, and the soil is kept moist.
After a month of so your dill may start to flower, please do not worry. This is completely natural, and you have not done anything wrong.
As it is late in the season, there is no need to let your dill grow massive before harvesting. Once your dill is around 15 cm you can start harvesting the green filly shoots.
We will be returning to dill in the snacking section of this grow guide.
I have selected Rhubarb Swiss chard as I find it one of the easiest most attractive plants you can grow. Rhubarb chard is also pretty hardy, so unless we have a very harsh winter they can easily be overwintered.
Please start by using your medium grow bag, and half fill with compost
Sprinkle in 1/3rd of your plant food
Top up the pot with more compost all the way to the top, and poke 3-5 holes evenly space apart, using either a pencil or a dibber.
Drop in only one seed per hole and cover each hole back over with soil. If you drop in multiple seeds, you can simply thin these out when both seeds germinate.
Give your seeds a really good water, making sure it penetrates all the way down through the soil
Remember to give your chard a name using the wooden plant label, and place in a warm sunny spot outside.
Keep the soil moist at all times, and make after a week or so your chard will start to pop through the soil.
At this stage thin these out, so you only have 2 or 3 evenly spaced apart. This may be painful but the remaining plants will grow much better.
Chard is prone to bolting, this is where (usually due to lack of water, or extreme temperatures) the plant sends out a large central stem and will run to flower. To prevent this, make sure your chard is well watered at all times.
Slugs and other garden animals will enjoy a chard snack, so please keep an eye out for any damage.
After around 10 weeks you can start to harvest baby chard which is lovely and tender. To harvest baby chard you can pick the whole plant when it is around 15 cm tall.
However, I highly recommend leaving your chard to grow to full size. This is around 45 cm , where you can then use a sharp knife to harvest single stems as and when you need them. The plant will keep growing as you do this.
We will return to chard in the snacking section later on.
Canton White is actually a new variety for me, but I have been so impressed with it, I just had to use it in a GWJ box set. It is a compact variety making it perfect for container growing, while maintaining its great flavor.
To get your Pak Choi started select your large pot and half fill it with compost
Sprinkle in the remainder of your plant food and fill up your pot all the way to the top with plant food.
Using a pencil or a dibber poke 4-5 holes in your compost, you can see how I space mine apart in the picture below.
Now Pak Choi seeds are tiny, so try your best to sow one per hole, but if more than one falls in. please do not worry, as it is easier to thin the seedling than try to fish out that tiny seed. I have provided you with way more seeds than you seed, so please keep these safe for next year, and cover back over with compost.
Give your Pak Choi a really good water and a name using your wooden plant labels.
Place your Pak Choi outside in a warm sunny location
I love growing Pak Choi as they really are low maintenance. After a week or two your Pak Choi, will poke through the soil to say hi. All you need to do from this stage is make sure the soil is moist and the container is placed in a sunny spot in your garden, yes it really is that simple.
Like Chard, Pak Choi can be prone to bolting, so to prevent this please keep the soil moist at all times, and you should be okay. Canton white, seems to be pretty resistant to bolting, unlike some other Pak Choi varieties.
Slugs looooooooove Pak Choi, so please keep an eye out for any damage. If you spot any damage, you can simply keep an eye out after dark and you will see the slugs on your plant. Simpy remove these by hand.
Pak Choi can be a baby leaf crop, or as a full size crop. If you plan to use the leaves raw in salads, go for baby leaf, whereas if you plan on cooking them, let them grow yo full size.
Baby leaf Pak Choi, can be harvested when it is only a few weeks old and no bigger than 7-8 cm tall. However I like to leave mine to become a fully grown plant.
Simply wait another month or two or until your Pak Choi is around 15-20 cm tall. Remove the whole plant from the soil, but make sure you use it soon after as it will not store well.
Snacking and cooking your crops
Dill is the perfect ingredient to add yo any home made pickles, I use it in every single one of my recipes. Be warned though, fresh home grown dill is powerful, so you will not need to sue that much, yo get a great flavour.
If pickling is not your cup of tea, then dill is fantastic when chopped up small and added to home cooked meals, especially over fish. Dill is also great in sandwiches, mixed in salads or even added to sauces such as mayonnaise.
I like to use chard much in the same way I would Kale, spinach or beetroot leaves. Yes, you can eat it raw, but I really would not recommend that, as it is not the best flavour or texture. Instead for me, I love to chop up the leaves and the stems really small and saute in garlic and butter. This is a delicious side dish to any meal.
Look no further than Asian cooking for this crop. You can literally add it to pretty much any east Asian meal, especially stir fry and ramen! I like to chop up the leaves and add them to these dishes, but you can even add the leaves whole.
Thank you so much for being part of the growing family, and I love you all
PS If you need further help or just want to share photos or your crops, please pop me an email.