Last week I filmed the first in a series of over 200 videos which will become the backbone of our new Quickcrop vegetable growers course. This epic learning experience will cover all the crops you would expect and a few that you might not and will be filmed over a full growing season. Unlike many other online courses I will be growing all the plants we cover, I will also be growing and comparing different varieties of each crop and talking about how they may be suited to a various growing conditions.
The course is based on a brand new set of videos but will also be supported by written course tutorials, multiple choice tests and email support. While the full course won't be available until this time next year (we need the season to shoot each crop from seed to harvest), I will be releasing the videos as we make them on our YouTube channel and hope you find them useful.
I need some Help
At this stage, growing the vegetables shouldn't be too difficult but I need some help making sure I cover what is most useful for folks taking the course. My home garden needs to be large for trialling crops and making videos but it may not be relevant to growers with smaller gardens. I will be including the traditional vegetable garden, polytunnel and container growing but there may be other things you think would be a good idea which I would love to hear about.
Maybe you'd like a specific course on the polytunnel, perhaps you like to learn more about fruit? You might prefer a number of short courses on a long and in depth one? You might like a test at the end of each module or you might not?
I have put together a brief, 5 minute questionnaire which will be very helpful to ensure this new departure hits the spot. If you would like to complete our questionnaire please click the blue button below.
Coming Next Week - New Succulent Plant Range!
In order to keep gardeners amused over what may be a long winter this year we have been growing a broad range of pretty succulent plants for indoor growing. Succulents, as you probably know, are plants that have adapted to arid conditions by storing water in their 'meaty' leaves and stems. They make ideal house plants if you have a warm, South facing windowsill as they need virtually no maintenance and don't even mind if you forget to water them.
I love their frosted blue, green, pink and purple leaves and their interesting, architectural shapes which seem to mix in any combination and still look fantastic. The pictures above and at the top of the page are just random shots of stock on the nursery benches, they look absolutely superb!
Succulents have become increasingly popular in the last few years with hobbyists coming up with quirky ways of displaying them like the sardine can above. Plants are easily propagated and will produce miniature versions of themselves (that's what the 'babies' are in the tin) which can then be potted on to produce full size plants. As succulents need minimal water or plant feed, they grow well in a wide and shallow bowl filled with a suitable potting mix; these arrangements make beautiful living centre pieces for a dining or coffee table.
We now have plants ready to ship, I will be adding them to the site this week and will have a range of plant packs ready to go for next week's mail. Plants make a beautiful gift with a pretty bowl and potting mix included. As I said, they are easily propagated so make a great hobby growing new plants from your main stock and coming up with interesting ways of displaying them.
Bare Root Hedging
Of course the reason we have been coming up with hedge planting solutions is we also supply bare root hedge whips which are ready to go in now.
Unlike many bare root hedge suppliers we lift our plants to order which gives a healthier root which will be quicker to establish. Plants are also grown in the North West so will be used to more challenging conditions if you have an exposed site.
Depending on your budget we offer two choices of bare root whip, we have Standard
60-80cm (Agri) spec and Premium
90-120cm (Garden) spec. All hedging is supplied in bags of 25. All our plants are 2 years old with spec explained as follows:
Plants are grown from seedling stock planted in a field situation at approx 2 inches apart. Standard stock is supplied unpruned and will need to cut back to 15cm when planted out. The plants will produce a hedge of the same quality as the Premium hedge but will typically be one year behind in terms of growth. Standard spec is more suitable for large scale Agri applications.
Premium plants are grown from seedling stock planted in a field situation at approx 6 inches apart to allow more room for root development. Plants are pre pruned to 15cm to create a multi-stemmed plant. Premium plants are also 'undercut' which involves pruning the roots 15cm below ground, this produces a larger root ball which is much quicker to establish. Premium hedging is more suitable for garden applications where a thick hedge is needed more quickly.
Edible Hedge Packs
This year we are also stocking packs of edible hedge plants to provide Autumn fruit for birds and for making jams, jellies, sauces and drinks. Our native edible hedge pack includes: 6 x Hawthorn, 5 x Blackthorn, 4 x Hazel, 3 x Elder, 3 x Crab Apple, 2 x Dog Rose and 2 x June Berry
Edible hedge packs are also supplied bare root in packs of 25 mixed plants. As with all bare root plants they are best planted as soon as possible after you receive them.
- If your garden is in any way exposed I highly recommend putting in a temporary windbreak mesh for the first 2 years after the plants go in, your hedge will grow twice as fast.
Shallow Planting Potatoes
Some of you may remember I wrote about shallow planting potatoes in March so I figured I might as well show you the results. The idea is to plant your seed potatoes only 5 -10 cm deep and cover with a layer of mulch. I used compost when I planted them at the end of March and then used seaweed to earth them up when the first shoots appeared.
The advantage is the potatoes will grow in the mulch and top level of soil so you don't need to dig them. The photo above is before I lifted the potatoes, I had just brushed away the compost to reveal a lovely neat pile of tubers like a little nest of dinosaur eggs. I think this is great as when I used to dig for my potatoes I always seemed to spear half of them with the fork.
All you need to do is rummage around with your hands to gather your crop. The potatoes will all be more or less the same level as they grow out rather than down as they chase the nutrients in the compost.
Also, as the compost is relatively light (and well fed) the tubers can be very large like the one above. They might make a nice Valentine's day gift in February, romantic baked potato for two anyone?