Homeschool Garden Club - What Seeds to Look Out for Now

Being a young person the responsibility of growing something for yourself and also picking, cooking and eat the crops that you have sown and grown is a fantastic way of getting outside and enjoying the sunshine for everyone! It’s great for your physical and mental health

If you have never grown from seed before here is some brilliant crops and basic rules to get you started.

1. Keep what you grow quick and simple, there's no point in sowing a seed that will take 6 months to germinate as the boredom factor will set in all too soon.

2. Growing everybody's favourite, cress, is fun entertaining when grown in an eggshell etc.

3. Sunflowers are also an obvious choice, there will be two sunflower competitions next summer. The first will be to grow the tallest sunflower and the second will be the sunflower with the most flower heads.

But why stop there? While you are out and about look out for packets of these seeds and seeds are now on sale in the garden centres and supermarkets.

Carrots

Another seed that is very easy to grow which you can eat nearly straight out of the ground! Do wash them first. The long stems of the plant above ground are a good indication of how well the plant is growing, their fluffy fronds have a tactile quality to them too - don't forget that when you cut the top off you can put it in water to see it grow again, something that we all find fascinating! Try the bite size variety Carrot ‘Paris Market Atlas.

Germination time: 14 - 21 days

Ready to eat: approx. 70 days

Chives

We all know chives, a great cooking ingredient and can be eaten in salads too, so why not grow it, it's very undemanding, and can be harvested relatively quickly, snipping off some ends to add to a soup or chopped up and mashed in with potatoes, or added to cheese on toast, there's so many ways you can easily use this herb and this is one of the easiest to grow!

Germination time: 14 - 21 days

Ready to eat: up to 90 days


Lettuce Leaves

Possibly germinating as quickly as cress but with a much longer period of interest, lettuce leaves can be grown anywhere at all, from the smallest novelty pot to a whole patch in the garden. Edible at any size, lettuce, sometimes referred to as salad leaves are often grown as a "cut and come again" crop, which means you can pick a few leaves off of each plant and then leave it for a few days to grow more! If left to mature, lettuces will grow into the full-sized varieties that you often see on supermarket shelves, only this time you'll have 'grown your own'!

Germination time: 2 - 12 days

Ready to eat: from 21 days (less if eating baby leaves)

Peas

Who doesn't love freshly picked peas? A really easy to sow and grow crop that can be planted in succession from march through to July about every 10 days so that there's always something going on, from sowing, planting out, watering and picking. Peas will need some supports to grow up too, so why not construct (Design and Technology) some interesting and fun structures or just use sticks, twigs and canes.

For reliable grower and cropper, try Pea ‘Terrain’ or for something unusual, how about the purple podded Pea Shiraz’? Don't forget that pea shoots are also a popular addition to salads and stir-fries too!

Germination time: 14 - 21 days

Ready to eat: approx. 70 days

Radishes

One of the easiest and quickest salad crops ever, radishes can be sown repeatedly over the summer so that there will always be something growing well and visibly getting larger every day too.

Traditional red and white varieties such as French Breakfast’ germinate really quickly and can be grown in any sort of container. For something a bit more unusual, try ‘Bluemoon F1 hybrid’, which looks visually stunning when cut through.

Germination time: 4 - 8 days

Ready to eat: approx. 28 days

Tomatoes

Regular feeding and watering is the key to growing tomatoes, A bit of "science" with the feeding and then, of course, watching the fruit grow, ripen and then eating them!

Tomatoes are usually easy to germinate and grow on, but if it's later in the season then it's just as easy to buy our plug plants and grow them on from there. Two great varieties to choose are Tomato ‘Sweet Aperitif’ and ‘Garden Delight’ as they are both prolific croppers. They can grow quite tall (a "giant" tomato plant perhaps) and the cherry tomatoes are the sweetest ever grown!

Germination time: 5 - 10 days

Ready to eat: July to October

Cornflowers

Often seen as an annual wildflower, cornflowers have striking blue colours that will certainly catch the eye of gardeners of all ages! These easy to grow plants are wonderful for attracting bees and butterflies into the garden too, so not only are the flowers good to look at, the insects they attract will be fabulous to watch and record too!


Marigolds

A really easy to grow companion plant that produces bright and cheerful blooms through the summer. Marigolds repel whitefly, so if you're growing tomatoes in the same area, they'll be a natural deterrent!

Marigolds can be sown into pots, seed trays or directly into the ground where they are needed - making them a perfect choice if you have an area of the garden that's yours to look after. The seeds are really easy to handle and so can it's nice and clear where they have been sown.

Germination time: 5 - 10 days

Nasturtiums

A scrambling, spreading annual that grows just about anywhere, each plant can reach up to a metre in length and will happily fall over the side of a pot, window box or hanging basket, or wind its way through a flower bed too. Unusual shaped, veined leaves and a bright array of flower colours are available too. The flowers are actually edible as well and are often used in salads, the seeds are also known as 'poor man's capers' and can be pickled.

Germination time: up to 14 days

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