Monday, 25 February 2013

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Easy to grow herbs

Anyone can grow herbs - they are relatively tough plants and can thrive in most conditions. They don't always need full sunlight and some grow perfectly in the shady spots. They are very versatile plants and can be used in cooking and many have therapeutic or medicinal properties.

When to Grow Herbs

You can begin to sow herb seeds once all the winter frosts have gone and the weather starts to warm up. If you want to keep all your herbs inside, just sow the seeds directly into a pot with some good quality compost and soil. If you are planning to eventually grow your herbs outside you can start them off in pots or trays in say a poly tunnel or on a warm window sill before hardening them off and taking them outside.

Where to Grow Herbs

Herbs generally don't need to be outside or have an enormous amount of space. As long as they have water, sunlight and good fertile soil or compost, most herbs will grow quite happily indoors or out - not only in the garden, but in pots, containers, window boxes or even hanging baskets.

Growing herbs in pots and containers -  add around 2 cm of gravel at the bottom of each pot to make sure that the plant has decent drainage and use a soil-based compost - either organic or something like John Innes potting compost. Water in the morning rather than the evening as this will give the plants a chance if the temperatures are hot during the day, especially for containers grown in full sun.

Growing herbs indoors - place the herbs a south or west facing window to get the best kind of sunlight.

Growing herbs in the garden – choose is a sunny, open but protected position with good drainage.

Herbs to try – Rosemary, thyme, sage, lemon balm, parsley, chives, mint, oregano, basil, coriander and lavender.

You can find detailed advice for growing herbs by following the links below.

RHS at:
Garden Organic at:
Allotment UK at:

Friday, 22 February 2013

Quote for the week......

“My spirit was lifted and my soul nourished by my time in the garden. It gave me a calm connection with all of life, and an awesome awareness that remains with me now, long after leaving the garden” - Nancy Ross

National Gardening Week: 15 - 21 April 2013

This year National Gardening Week wants everyone to go wild by planting wild flower mini meadows throughout Britain. Register (by 15 March) to get your free packet of wild flower seeds to sow a mini meadow. They can be sown in raised beds, pots, window boxes or in an unused patch of garden.

For more information and to register an event or find a local event, please visit:

Mind in Furness - Planning what they will be growing over the following months

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Feedback from our first horticulture training workshop

Sowing seeds and planting bulbs in the poly tunnel

Garden Organic - 10 easiest vegetables to grow

Garden Organic has produced a list of the 10 easiest vegetables to grow. Details can be found on their website at:

Iris beginning to flower around our water feature area

A welcomed visit from a chaffinch

Disability information day - Tuesday 5th March 2013

Easy to grow - poached egg plant

The poached egg plant is very simple to grow in almost any soil in a sunny spot. The bright white and yellow cup-shaped flowers create a colourful area of ground cover. It is an asset in the vegetable garden as a companion plant to attract hoverflies which will feed on aphids and pollinate plants. The flowers also have a sweet fragrance and are particularly attractive to bees.

It will self-seed freely and will continue to appear and naturalise themselves over the area, germinating and flowering at different times. This can be imitated by sowing in autumn for flowers as early as April, and from spring to July for a long sequence of summer flowers.

When to grow:  Sow in autumn for flowers as early as April, and from spring to July for a long sequence of summer flowers.

How to grow:  Poached egg plants prefer a sunny position and well drained soil. Seeds can be sown direct in to the ground where they are going to flower. Sow seeds 5 mm deep and 10 cm apart. As they grow the plants can be thinned out to about 10cm apart. They will grow to be about 15 cm tall. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Easy to grow nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are easy to grow, add colour to the garden and are edible. Their petals can be added to salads, they taste quite peppery and hot. The flowers come in a variety of colours; creams, yellows, oranges, reds and burgundy.

When to grow: You can sow from March to May, outside where they are to flower. They will flower from the summer through to the autumn.

How to grow:  Nasturtiums prefer well drained soil in the sun. Sow in rows 20 mm deep and 30 cm apart. They can be thinned out later if they become crowded.

One of the best things about nasturtiums is that you don't need to buy more next year, you can simply collect the seed pods when they begin to change colour from green to brown, dry them on some newspaper in the greenhouse or on the windowsill and plant out next year. 

As the flowers are pollinated by visiting bees you often get different colours every year. It's great fun and cheap.

New roots tending their plants

Margaret and Mark from New Roots tending their seedlings in the poly tunnel and watering in some new plants in their raised planter.

Stopping off for a little snack

Friday, 15 February 2013

Plant terms and vegetable family groups

Some of the handouts circulated at yesterdays horticulture training workshop by facilitator Jennifer Lauruol from Carpe Diem Garden Design. The handouts were courtesy of Robin Eyre of LESS UK

RHS vegetable planner

You can download the veg planner and find gardening tips and advice on the RHS grow your own web pages here:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Our first horticulture training workshop

Our first horticulture training workshop as facilitated by Jennifer Lauruol, owner and director of Carpe Diem Gardens Ltd. Jennifer is passionate about designing and creating vibrant, living gardens and has campaigned for the environment for over 30 years.

The day long workshop consisted of two separate sessions; the first  for members of our community grow your own scheme, the second for members of Furness Parents and Carers Forum.

Funding to enable the workshops was provided from a post project sustainability grant we received from Marks and Spencer's Greener Living Spaces programme.

Additional pictures can be found on our Flickr photo gallery here.