Best vegetables to grow from seeds!


Image: Climbing French Bean ‘Cobra’ seeds from Suttons

If you’re starting a new vegetable patch or allotment, the cheapest and most satisfying way to grow your own vegetables is from seed. You don’t need a greenhouse or lots of fancy equipment. In fact, clean yogurt pots can be used to start seeds off on a bright windowsill. Some seeds can even be direct-sown into the soil outdoors. Check the back of your seed packets for the best time to sow each variety. 

For the chance to win eight packets of Suttons Vegetable Seeds along with 10 windowsill starter trays with lids, enter the competition now.  But be quick, it closes at noon on 12 January 2022. 

Easy veg to sow from seed

Some vegetable seeds are easier to germinate than others. If you don’t have a huge garden, many of these can be grown in pots or containers on a sunny balcony. Here are some of the best vegetable seeds for beginners: 

  • Tomato – F1 Sweet Million

  • Pea – Hurst Greenshaft

  • Beetroot – Rainbow mixed

  • Bean (Climbing French) – Cobra

  • Cucumber – F1 Burpless Tasty Green

  • Lettuce – Little Gem

  • Courgette – F1 Defender

  • Radish – French Breakfast 3

Quick tips for growing your own veg from seed

  • Add holes to clean margarine containers for cheap, reusable seed trays.

  • Good quality seed compost gives the best results.

  • To speed up germination, soak your beans overnight and lay them on some damp cotton wool to shoot. 

  • Seed swap with friends and family. If you each grow a different variety you can exchange the seedlings.

  • Always label your seed trays. Wooden ice lolly sticks work well.

  • Store spare seeds in a sealed container with a few grains of rice to keep them dry.

  • Sow salad leaves and radish seeds every two weeks for a constant supply through the summer.

  • Some vegetables stop producing crops if you don’t pick them regularly. Keep harvesting runner beans, French beans and courgettes to get more veg.

THE HIMALAYAN FOXTAIL LILY - Eremurus himalaicus

Himalayan foxtail lily
The Himalayan foxtail lily is one of the delights of the late spring/early summer garden and the popular Eremurus himalaicus is one of the hardiest of all the species within the Eremurus genus. Native to the temperate regions of the Himalayas, the Himalayan foxtail lily is a herbaceous perennial with light green, strap-shaped leaves, and a mass of white starry flowers densely packed on elegant tall upright spikes. It can reach between 4-8 feet tall and has beautiful white flowers hovering over medium green foliage.

Foxtail lilies prefer a moist well-drained loan that does not dry out of the spring growing period, They do well in a sunny position but one that is does not expose them to early morning sun.

The plant can be purchased as pre-packed bare roots in the autumn and will need to be planted in the ground as soon as they are available in September or October. The roots are easily damaged and so will need to be handled carefully when planting.

Before planting the crown add a thick layer of horticultural grit to the bottom of the hole, then back-fill to create a central raised area of soil in the shape of a cone. Plant the roots so that the crown is sat on top of the cone with the roots falling to the sides. When planted the crown should show above the surface of the soil and should never be mulched over.

If they are kept too wet over the winter then Foxtail lilies can be affected by a fungal disease known as winter root rot. With this in mind, grow them in a raised bed or alternatively place a layer of sand or gravel at the bottom of the hole before planting to ensure drainage. In cold regions the roots may need protecting from ground frost and so cover them with a dry mulch such as shingle or bark.


How to plant the Foxtail Lily

The Foxtail lily -  Eremurus species is a gorgeous, exotic herbaceous plant reminiscent of other tall flowering spike producing genera such as the delphiniums, lupin and foxgloves. Native to Eastern Europe and the more temperate climates of Asia from Turkey to China the Foxglove lily (otherwise commonly known as the 'Desert Candle) is a rarely seen and sometimes unavailable gem of a plant. However unless favourable growing conditions can be provided it can also be a struggle to grow in northern European gardens.

The key to growing Foxtail Lilies successfully is to provide them with an organically rich, well-drained soil. To ensure strong and healthy growth add a good handful of bone-meal or fish blood and bone to the prepared planting area. Just make sure that this is thoroughly mixed into the soil below where the roots are planted. Do not pour these fertilisers directly onto the roots.

Regarding soil types, sandy loams are ideal however be aware of heavy, waterlogged-prone soils as this is the leading cause of Eremurus plants failing. So if your garden is a clay-based swampland consider planting them in raised beds or at a minimum into a raised mound. In less troublesome conditions add plenty of horticultural grit or gravel into the surrounding site before planting. Foxglove lilies will not tolerate waterlogged conditions as this will quickly cause the root system to die.

One planted avoid disturbing the root system from weeding or planted bedding close by as Eremurus really do not like to have their roots disturbed. In exposed gardens position supporting canes to prevent the flower spikes from being blown over in strong winds.

For related article click onto the following links:
Crocosmia 'Hellfire'
Hardy Spider Lilies
How to Grow the Foxtail Lily
LILIUM NEPALENSE - The Lily of Nepal
SPIDER LILY - Hymenocallis species and cultivars
THE HIMALAYAN FOXTAIL LILY - Eremurus himalaicus