THE POTTING SHED UK Jan/Feb Issue 2014 - Page 48

We are having a garden revival this year but last year we had a homegrown revolution by James Wong and Sutton’s seeds and one plant stood out more than any other.

That is the Cucamelon this climbing plant produces masses of grape sized cucamelons which taste like a cross between a melon and a cucumber. My daughter loved them every morning she would make the trip to the greenhouse to pick some for her packed lunch she would also take some for her friends so if the kids like them they have got to be good. Dahlia 'Yams' this was the food of the Aztecs it's the tuber that you eat roast them like parsnips or how about Roast Dahlia Ice Cream for the Kids I am yet to eat them but I will let you know what they are like when I do.

One vegetable that I have not grown for many year is Asparagus but I was keen to try Sutton seeds new variety Ariane F1. Being the only variety ready to harvest in the first year unlike standard variety’s which are normally 3 years before cropping. Although we did not get a crop off them in there first year (I put this down to sowing the seeds in April rather than February) It is the most Vigorous Asparagus I have every grown I have no dough that if I had of sown them in Feb I would have had a small harvest in August. I am looking forward to next year as there should be a good crop to harvest in May/June.

Another good crop we had this year was from Peppers Snackebite red and yellow from Marshall’s seeds the plants where covered in sweet small peppers ideal for packed lunches. Even though the plants where grown in partial shade they still produced about 20 fruits per plant. Beetroot was next on the list Carillon RZ from Tuckers Seeds i have never been much of a fan of beetroot I put it down to my mums pickled beetroot every winter. I have grown to like it now grated raw on to a salad is lovely this variety has long cylindrical roots they sit half in and half out of the soil with a good deep red colour and dare I say it good flavor too. We tried lots of other variety’s in the trails garden which we will mention though out the year as well as all the exciting new ones we will grow this year.

The new way to grow Annual flowers

The Olympics did a lot of good for the country but one idea us

gardeners came away with is the use of Annual flowers and Wild flowers to create whole gardens. Pre Olympics there were very few mixes of wild flowers and annuals on the market available to the public and what was available was very small packets at silly money. But now every company seems to have at least one flower mix to tempt you with and if they take off it could be the new way to create a cheap garden with little effort. The companies have made them so easy even someone with no gardening skills would struggle not to get good results.

You don't even need great soil as they have selected the very easiest and toughest varieties to go in the mix, most of the mixes are annuals or annual wild flowers. Some companies have incorporated annual and perennial seeds in the one mix so you will get a show of colour in the first year. Then in the second mix the perennials come into flower all from the first sowing with the bonus that you never have to sow the mix again.

Some of the newest on the market

Grow Sure Easy Flowers

Made by WestLand, the pack contains a mix of seeds, coir, compost and fertilizer. Each pack contains enough seed to cover 6m2 or 30 x 50cm pots

can be sown in spring or autumn. And should flower from June to October all from one sowing. The flower mix contains the following Agrostemma, Cornflower, Gypsophila, Nigella, Candytuft, Virginian stock, Clary,

Lavatera and Phacelia. Available in bright colors or Pastel colour's.

Flower Magic

Made by Miracle Gro the mix contains 4 month slow release fertilizer coir compost and up to 29 flower varieties, sufficient to cover 4m2. The 350g smaller pack will fill 10 x 42cm pots, sow the mix in spring. There are 3 mixtures to choose from the multi colored mix contains up to 29 varieties. There is also a Pink and White mixture with 16 varieties and the Blue and White mixture contains 19 varieties.

Empathy Mini Meadow

Made by Plant Works, is a mixture of native wild flower seeds specifically selected to attract bees and butterflies. The mix also contains Root Grow which is a mycorrhizal fungi which help transport nutrients from the soil to the plants. This helps increase the plant's health as well as increased resistance to pest and disease. The mix includes some of the following: Common Poppy, Oxeye Daisy, Corn Flower etc.

Flexi Spray

We have been using the Hozlock Flexi spray all summer and have found it really useful. Being able to bend it meant that we could use the same lance whether watering a hanging basket up high or some pot on the floor. But also with it's multi head we where also able change the setting from a fine mist for your seedlings to a strong jet for washing the car. The other advantage is the ability to be able to bend it into a sprinkler or wrap it round a fork handle to give a bit of height to the sprinkler. We would recommend that every garden should have.