February, YAY it’s that time of year again.
I love growing my own veggies, tending to them from seed and watching them grow into adult food-bearing plants. The flavour is so much better and as we can grow organically it is so much better for the environment (no bee and insect-killing neonicotinoids which can be used on non-organic foods you buy in the supermarkets)
Would you love to grow more of your own food?
If so, I’ve put together a quick start guide for you to get going. You can grow them on in pots or even just inter-plant with flowers in your garden. We’ve had courgettes, tomatoes, and fruit plants all dotted around in the flower beds making the most of the space available.
Mid-late February is the time to sow your Mediterranean veggies:
- Courgettes/summer squashes
What You Need To Do To Get Started
First of all, make sure you have small pots. If you don’t already have plastic ones to reuse then other options include coir, toilet roll inners, cardboard or making a pot from your newspaper.
You will need a tray to place underneath for protection, your seeds, some compost and a warm environment to put them in.
If you can buy organic seeds as they won’t have any chemical residues on them, they are still good value. We buy from the Real Seed Company. They let you know how you can seed save so that once brought you’ll never have to buy seeds again. Plus, these seeds are from heritage varieties, so the flavour is even better.
There are many more, these are a few examples of companies to get you going.
You can use seedling compost. Personally, I just use an organic peat-free compost and they have always grown well.
Once you have your seed place one in each small pot and give them a little water. All Mediterranean vegetable seeds germinate at higher temperatures so you will need at least 20 degrees celsius. You can pop a cover over the top to retain warmth and moisture
That’s it really just make sure that you keep them moist and check in on them as they grow. As they get larger pot them on into bigger pots. Keep them sheltered until the night-time temperatures stay above 10 degrees.
If you have been tending to them indoors you need to harden them off, so that they get used to the feel of the outside world. Leave them outside during the day (unless the temperature drops) and bring them in overnight.
Tomato Seeds After 1 Week
Keep them well-watered. There are different types of roots in tomato plants. The ones that are closer to the surface of the soil are the feeding roots. These are the ones you want to target your tomato feed for so use less water when giving your feed.
The deeper roots are for drawing up the water. This means that it is better to give your plant a really good watering once or twice a week, or when your pot or grow bag dries out than a little bit every day. We tend to use this philosophy for all of our plants. One good soaking encourages deeper roots and helps you through drought periods as your plant will already be able to access moisture deeper in the soil.
Try just water the soil for all of these plants and avoid watering the leaves and stems. This will help to keep the chances of diseases to a minimum.
As well as watering if you have a bush-type tomato plant you won’t need to do anything if you have more of the upright types you just need to pinch out any shoots that come out between the main stem and the side branches to make sure you get as good a crop as possible. If they are small you can just pinch them off between your thumb and finger.
Make Sure You Get The Best Crop
To make sure you get the best crop and keep your plants healthy you will need to feed your plants. All of the plants mentioned in this blog will do well with an organic tomato plant feed once a week.
How To Treat Blight Organically.
Blight is the bane of many a potato and tomato grower’s life. There is an excellent mixture that you can use as a preventative as well as when the brown spots showing that blight is present are already there. Last year we had blight. It was mild and kept raining which are perfect conditions for this fungus. We removed and disposed of the diseased fruits (they have black spots on them) sprayed the plant and the fruits that followed were all in excellent health.
Simply mix 1 teaspoon baking soda into 1 litre of warm water and add a drop of washing-up liquid to help the solution stick to your plant, pop them in a spray bottle and make sure you apply it meticulously to the stems and leaves. Once you have your eye in, it doesn’t take long and is quite therapeutic – mindfulness in action.