Hello Hello and welcome to the growing family!
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 then welcome back, I’m so happy and excited to show you Mays box!
Let’s get growing together!
In your May box you will find:
1 medium recycled fabric pot
1 medium recycled fabric pot
1 large recycled fabric pot
1 pack of pea seeds, 1 pack of radish seeds and 1 pack of rocket seeds
2 blocks of peat-free compost
Organic plant food
1 packet of free sunflower seeds
3 grow guides (one for each plant excluding sunflowers as that’s on the packet)
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 )
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!
Let’s start with your pea seeds (as these are my all time favourite crop)!
I have selected Kelvendon wonder pea as the variety as I have been growing it for years and it never lets me down. It is also quite compact as pea varieties go, so it’s perfect for our pots.
Start by filling your seed tray with compost. You will notice there are three trays, please keep them together, I have put in three as that keeps them more sturdy during watering.
Fill the tray right to the very top with compost and pop the extra compost in your three pots.
Using your bamboo dibber or a pencil, poke five holes roughly 2cm deep, evenly spaced apart, see below image for how I spaced mine.
Sow one seed per hole and pop them back to bed by covering back over with compost. You may have one or two seeds left over. I always like to give you too many, as if you are anything like me you will drop some, the mice might eat some, and just in general its better to have too many than too few.
Using a mister bottle or a turkey baster (strange I know, but it really does work well) lightly water. Make sure the water has reached the seeds, but the soil should not be saturated. Too much water will cause mold, too little water and the seeds will not grow. Your soil should be damp without being soaking wet.
Using your plant labels, mark your pea seed so you do not get confused (a mistake I make every year). This is the time to get creative and give your peas a name. Place your seed tray on a sunny windowsill indoors (they will be okay outside but indoors is faster). Make sure the soil stays moist but not too wet.
After around two weeks your seeds should start to appear and say hi. Please be patient, sometimes this can take a little bit longer. I have had pea seeds take 5 weeks to germinate before.
When your seeds appear it is vital to give them as much light as possible (the pea seedlings in the picture above were just starting to bolt). Please make sure they are in the sunniest spot you have available, otherwise your baby plants will bolt. This is where they grow very tall, but very spindly as they compete for the light.
You can also see in the above image only four of the five germinated. We use the seed company in the UK with one of the best germination rates but this can still happen sometimes.
Once they reach this size it is time for their new home! Using a teaspoon or a dibber, really carefully dig them out. Please make sure to leave as much of the root as possible.
Time to prep the pot
You should already have the extra compost sat in the pots from when you expanded it. Take the biggest pot and make sure the soil is filled to around 4 inches from the top. As you can see in the image I like to fold the extra bit of the pot at the top over.
Mix in 1/3rd of your organic feed, (please use gloves and wash your hands afterwards) and dig out three holes, trying to space them evenly apart and plant out your three largest pea seedlings. The left over peas can be given to friends or simply eaten as a micro green pea shoot in salads.
Water your pea plants really well and please do not let them dry out. Place them outside in a warm sunny spot and soon they will grow. Now peas are a climbing plant, so it is best to grow them up a support. You can simply use some cheap bamboo canes, or alternatively fallen branches from a tree will work too. You shouldn't need supports much longer than 50 cm.
Please use the twine from your pot and plant label bundle to secure the plant to the canes.
This is the part of the grow guide where I will update with pictures once my plants are at this stage.
After another month or so you will notice little white flowers appearing. These flowers will eventually turn into delicious pea pods. Start picking the pods once they start to swell up. If you pick a pod and the peas inside are still tiny, let the rest of the pods continue to grow. The key thing here is to not let the peas get too big, if the pods swell up too much the peas inside will be sour and nasty. I always think its better to harvest them a little bit too small than too big.
We will return to your peas in the snacking and cooking section.
Lets get those Radishes started!
Radishes are one of the easiest and fastest crops to grow, and I think you will really enjoy this one. I have selected the variety Poloneza, as it is a fantastic all round variety and much less likely to bolt than other radishes. Bolting is when the radish runs to seed and will cause the part we eat to turn woody and almost inedible.
To get started grab one of your medium size pots and fill up with your compost leaving five inches from the top. As you can see from the images below I enjoy folding the top over so its even with the soil. Mix in 1/3rd of your organic plant food, and once again please wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
It is a good idea to pat down the soil, so it creates a nice flat surface for this next step.
Now its time to get those radish seeds in, but please be careful as they are quite small. Using a pencil or a dibber, poke holes 3 cm deep, and try your best to evenly space them apart. You should be able to make 9 to 14 holes. Please see below to see how I have spaced out mine.
Carefully sow one seed per hole and put them back to bed by covering them back up with compost and giving them a really good drink.
Make sure to name your radishes using your plant labels so they don't get mixed up with your other plants, trust me a super easy mistake to make! Once they have been named place them outside in a warm sunny spot and keep well watered. Radishes are a very low maintenance plant, just be careful not to let them dry out as that can cause the plant to bolt.
You will notice you have plenty of radish seeds left over! As a little thank you to you my amazing growing family, I have included enough for multiple sowings. Radishes will grow from seed to harvest in as fast as 40 days. Simply harvest once they are around the size of a large marble. I do not recommend letting them get much bigger as they will start to taste woody and loose flavor.
Once you have harvested a radish, simply take another one of your seeds, and plant it out in the same hole and just repeat this process. You should have enough to provide you with fresh radishes until September. But please keep this as our little secret as this is only for the subscribers :)
We will return to Radishes in the cooking and snacking section
Now lets get your rocket growing
Rocket is a great crop to grow for beginners and it is also amazing with those BBQ side salads or even in the burger itself! I have selected Astra variety as it is very beginner friendly and a bit more forgiving than a few other varieties. It is also my tried and trusted go to variety for taste.
Just like radishes, to get started grab one of your medium size pots and fill up with your compost leaving five inches from the top. As you can see from the images below I enjoy folding the top over so its even with the soil. Mix in 1/3rd of your organic plant food, and once again please wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
It is a good Idea to flatten out the soil, as it will help the seeds make good contact. I like to use the back of my hand but you can really use anything with a flat surface.
Now rocket seeds are tiny, so it is easiest to just sprinkle out our seeds over the soil. We are aiming for an even coverage but it does not have to be perfect, we will sort out the spacing in the later growing steps.
Once you are happy with the spacing, put them back to bed, by sprinkling out a light layer of compost over the top, and pat it down. Give your seeds a really good water and place out in a warm sunny location outside. Once again its time to name your plants, I have gone with rocket man, but I am silly ;)
It is super important to keep your rocket well watered, otherwise like radishes they will bolt and go to flower.
After a few weeks your rocket will start to germinate and say hi. Let it grow to around 5 cm tall and start to thin out the plants. I know this is painful but you need to do it for the best results. Also you can add these thinnings to your salad so they don't go to waste.
You are aiming to leave one plant every 3-5 cm which will give them room to grow. Rocket is a fast grower so in a few more weeks it will be around 10-20 cm tall.
Once they reach this size its a good idea to keep harvesting. Simply pick one leaf at a time, there is no need to pull out the whole plant as they will keep cropping.
I will update this with images as soon as my plant reaches this stage.
Storing, cooking and snacking on your peas, radish and rocket.
Lets start with peas as they are my favorite crop! The peas you have grown will taste a million times better than any pea you can buy and there is science to back me up here.
When you harvest a pea it contains natural sugars, which make them lovely and sweet. By the time the pea has made it to the store these sugars have started to turn to starch, thus reducing some of the flavor. But when you eat them picked fresh, you get the true taste.
I recommend, harvesting a pod, cracking it open, and just eating the peas raw. They are the ultimate summer treat, and trust me you will thank me later. You can of course cook them, but try them raw first.
The pods are edible, but I do not like to eat them. I pop them straight in the compost bin.
Radishes are super fast growers, and can be ready to harvest in as fast as 30 days! Harvest them once they are around the size of a big marble. I find any larger than this, they loose flavor and start to turn woody.
Radishes are amazing chopped up and added to a fresh salad. They add a bit of a kick to your salads and as a result you don't need to add too many.
Harvest them as and when they are ready and use within three days. They will keep for a few days in the fridge, but nothing beats fresh.
The real fun is with the radish tops. Keep the leafy green parts of the radish and wash them.
Pop them in a blender, add oil, pine nuts, cheese, salt, pepper and garlic and blend. This with give you an amazing radish top pesto for you to have with your pasta.
Like radish, rocket is a fast grower. It is also a cut and come again crop, so simply cut each leaf and leave the plant to keep growing more. Rocket will store for a week or so in the fridge.
I love adding rocket to salads as a substitute to lettuce. It has a wonderful peppery taste, which can spice up any salad. The taste compliments BBQ food really well, so I recommend it as a BBQ side salad or burger garnish.
You really do not need to add too many leaves to benefit from the flavor.
A little note about the sunflowers.
To get them started all you need is a small container and fill it with some of the excess compost. You can use yogurt pots with holes in the bottom, old toilet roll tubes, newspaper pots or any small container.
Sow one seed a few CM deep and cover with soil. After a few weeks they will grow and you can plant them out in your garden soil or a very large pot. Give some of the seeds to friends and family and see who can grow the tallest.
The seeds I have given you are one of the tallest varieties you can grow, so lets see who grows the tallest!
Thank you so much fro growing along in May with me! I really appreciate and love you all! Any questions please email me.