Chilli pepper and sweet pepper plants grow slowly and can take longer than we expect to reach maturity and produce peppers. January is my favourite time to sow chilli and sweet pepper seeds, as it gives the plants a longer growing season with extra time for fruit to develop and ripen, compared to the standard spring-sown plants.
Spring is such an uplifting time in the garden. As the days lengthen and spring flowers come into bloom, the anticipation of the wealth of flowers we’ll admire in our countryside and gardens over the coming seasons provides me with an abundance of reasons to be thankful. If your garden is looking a little lacklustre at the moment, don’t worry – there are some delightful spring-flowering perennial plants available at nurseries and garden centres, which will brighten up our gardens this spring and in the years that follow.
Every year, I trial new plants and products in my quest to discover the top performing composts and the tastiest and most productive edible plants.
Last year, the Quadgrow Self Watering Planter performed exceptionally well in my Trials. Growing tomatoes is easy with the Quadgrow; simply top up the Quadgrow’s 30l reservoir with Nutrigrow and water and the planter will automatically water and fertilise your plants for around two weeks.
I’m a peat-free gardener; I am a passionate advocate for using peat-free composts. Every year, I uncover the best quality peat-free composts on the market in my peat-free Compost Trials. I ran this Compost Trial to help you find top quality composts that will enable your tomato plants to produce bumper harvests of tomatoes!
Chilli pepper seeds are usually sown from February to the end of April. However, these vegetables command a long growing season, requiring sufficient time for the plants to mature and their fruit to develop and ripen. Accordingly, I find that chilli peppers are best started from seed sown in January.
Nurseries stock a limited range of chilli pepper plants in springtime, but gardeners who grow chillies from seed are blessed with the choice of a vast range of varieties.
Earlier this year, Greenhouse Sensation sent me a Quadgrow Self Watering Planter to try. If you’ve not seen a Quadgrow before, it’s a plastic container growing system (made from recycled plastic) that uses capillary action to provide plants with automatic watering. This clever design alters the way we irrigate plants. Instead of watering plants in the traditional sense (watering plants from above with a watering can), with the Quadgrow we deliver the water and nutrients right where they’re needed – at the plants’ roots.
Summer’s golden sunshine warms our gardens and gladdens our hearts, it’s sublime! Make time to sow seeds now to enjoy stunning flowers next spring and delicious vegetables over the coming months.
Cornflowers (also known by their botanical name, Centaurea cyanus) attract a wide range of bees and butterflies; these rosette shaped blooms make great cut flowers, too. If you’re not a fan of the traditional blue cornflower, take your pick from the white, pink, cerise, lilac, purple, and (almost) black flowered forms available.
Growing tomatoes is so much fun! Tomato plants will grow happily in a sunny border or in large containers of peat-free compost.
There are two types of tomatoes – cordon and bush tomatoes. Cordon (also known as indeterminate) tomatoes can form tall plants, reaching 2m or more! Don’t worry – you can ‘stop’ your plants from growing any taller by simply pinching out the tip of your plant’s stem, when your plants have reached your desired height.
I feel a strong and passionate desire to protect our planet’s peat bogs. This is an urgent matter, it’s not something we can keep putting off to consider again in the future, at a more convenient time – for the peat that is being extracted now can’t be saved and so if we continue as we have done in the past, the opportunities we have in our hands, right in front of us now, will be lost forever.
I am a passionate advocate for going peat free. I’ve always been a peat free gardener, but I’ve not always managed to find good quality peat free compost. To search for good quality peat free products, I run peat free Compost Trials every year. Dalefoot Composts have been the top performing compost brand, in all of my trials to date.
I just adore growing fruit and vegetables! Any form of edible gardening is a soul enriching experience, which I would encourage you to try.When to sow tomato seeds and plant tomato plants outside?
I love growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs. We’ve all got our favourite heritage tomatoes, but have you tried any new tomato varieties? Last year, I grew lots of new tomato varieties, as part of my quest to discover the most delicious and productive tomato cultivars available to gardeners!
The objectives of this Tomato Trial were to identify delicious, productive, disease resistant tomato varieties, and to discover whether any of the trialled tomato cultivars perform differently when planted in the ground or grown in a container.
I love terrariums and bottle gardens! I so enjoy designing tiny plant worlds and creating miniature gardens. This is the ideal time to build a terrarium or bottle garden, these Lilliputian microcosms are fun to make! Terrariums will enhance your home and provide the perfect gardening therapy through the autumn and winter months.
The photograph above shows some of the ingredients that I use to formulate my own compost mixes for terrariums and bottle gardens.