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Behind the scenes with Heritage Services: self-isolation tips

This week Lou, Client Liaison Manager for Bath's Historic Venues, shares her green fingers with us!

13 May 2020

Growing from seed

I am lucky enough to have a garden at home, and once the lock-down started, I realised just how important this was.  I had bought seeds last year in the hope of us being much more self-sufficient and growing our own veg again (as we had done once before in our old house), but life (and work!) got in the way and the months ticked past.  I had kept all the seeds and had stored up old pots and recycled trays ready and decided that now was the time to put this plan into action.

Whilst outside at the weekends we have built a raised bed from old timber we had, inside I gathered together my seeds (some of which were out of date but I used anyway), some compost and my containers and spent a happy hour at the kitchen table planting away.

You will need:

  • Compost (or ordinary soil if easier) – but you can also grow micro greens on folded damp kitchen paper!
  • Old pots or containers, tins, recycled trays, old milk cartons, ice cream tubs, toilet roll tubes etc.  It is amazing what can be re-used in the absence of plant pots!  Plastic fruit containers that have a lid can double up a makeshift propagator!
  • Seeds - you can buy these online or at the garden centre, now that some have reopened, or ask friends if they have any spare they can post to you. 
  • A sharpie pen or ordinary pen, and old lolly sticks or small pieces of card as name markers
  • A sunny windowsill!

And that’s it!

To grow salad

I filled up an old plastic container with some compost (I didn’t have fine seed compost, so I just rubbed it between my hands to try and make it as fine as possible).  I used another plastic tray underneath as a drip catcher, and then watered the soil well BEFORE I scattered the seeds on the surface. This meant that when I scattered the micro greens seeds on top, they would not move around. I very lightly pressed on the surface so they were nice and snug on the soil and then moved the tray into a sunny position.  (For other types of seeds you will need to cover with compost – just follow the packet instructions).

From here, you just need to ensure that they don’t dry out and wait for your greens to grow!

I also planted wild rocket and baby spinach (which are both ‘cut and come again‘ so you can keep snipping them off for your salads and they will grow again!).  Salad greens grow so fast – the cardboard ice cream tub in the bottom left of the photo was planted with ‘Italian Leaf Salad Mix’ only last week!

Remember to label your seed pots – either direct onto the container using a sharpie pen or with a small stick / piece of card.

Whilst we will move some of the bigger seedlings into the garden, with some veg there really is no reason why you couldn’t ‘pot on‘ (plant them in a bigger sized container once they have grown into small plants) and simply grow some veg indoors!  I’ve planted individual Kale plants (just above the Italian salad in the photo) and could see these easily staying indoors if you don’t have a garden.  And I have planted individual radish plants in the toilet rolls that could also stay indoors – but remember for radishes that one seed = one radish!  Small compact tomato plants and chilli peppers can also stay indoors.  With a bit of planning, you can grow a whole salad bowl from your windowsill!

Happy planting everyone, go ahead and experiment, you will love it!