Introducing a seed price comparison page

Introducing a seed price comparison page

As the early evenings have drawn in I’ve been quite busy on the blogging front, building pages that I’m hoping readers will find useful.

First I began working on a Plant A-Z page that can be found here. As I was building that page and compiling all of the information with regards to sowing, planting and harvesting I found myself searching for seed prices, which can be found in the sidebar of each plant page. 

Then I thought to myself, hang on a minute, all of this needs to be in one place. I did a quick search online to see if there were any outlets or sites that compare seed prices and I couldn’t find one – so I thought I would build my own. 

Prices being compared

I’ve started with comparing the prices of these five seed retailers and manufacturers, and I’m only comparing the prices of seeds that I’ve grown in the past. Each time I grow a new variety, it’ll get added to my Plant A-Z page and Price Comparison page. 

The prices being compared are all prices that can be found online, rather than in store and they all reflect the same seed packet size. 

And it goes without saying – but these prices don’t take into account any promotions that are in place, nor do they take into account postage.

Thompson
& Morgan

Mr. Fothergills

Dobies

Suttons

Unwins

If you’re a seed manufacture and want to be included in this seed price comparison, reach out and contact me here. 

What’s next? Subscribe to a monthly buying guide of course! 

I can put both my Plant A-Z information and Seed Price Comparison information together and start publishing buying guides via newsletter each month starting with January 2019 – so that you know the most cost effective place to purchase seeds for the month ahead.

If you’d like to receive a copy each month – use the form below (you’ll also see a pesky pop-up every now and then as well!)

I hope you find this useful, and if you spot an update to any seed prices, feel free to let me know here (I’ll also be checking at the start of each month)

Who knows, if this takes off over the course of the year I might just compile all of the data and publish the most cost effective seed price manufacturer 🙂

Hosepipe ban: Tips on How to save water when growing your own

Hosepipe ban: Tips on How to save water when growing your own

We’re currently in the midst of a heatwave and the lack of rain and increase in temperatures has seen river, groundwater and reservoir levels drop at an alarming rate. As a result, hosepipe bans have been springing up in various parts of the UK.

I’ve done some reading online and chatted to some of the chaps at the allotment to see what they do to help combat water shortages and hosepipe bans. I hope you find the below useful.

10 ways to save water when growing your own

Collecting as much rainwater as possible
Invest in a couple of water butts or a disused water tank to store your water. Be sure to keep a lid on it so that water doesn’t escape through evaporation. Also think about how you’re going to collect the rainwater, whether it’s via the roof of a shed or an adjacent board channelling rainfall into the the tank or water butt.

Homemade bottle feeders
This wine bottle hack is a great way to keep your plants watered during dry spells, and is dead easy to implement. Get a bottle of wine that has a screw top, simply drink all of the wine and make a small hole in the lid of wine. Fill with water and bury the bottle – lid down, to create a drip feeder. I guess it doesn’t have to be wine – any decent sized bottle with a screw top will do. Wine is more fun though 🙂 !

Mulching
You can stay ahead if you keep the soil moist between watering. Mulch is a layer of material from your compost bin, or even grass cuttings applied to the top of the bed.  The mulch will act as a sponge to store moisture and reduce the amount of water leaving the ground during the hot weather. I’ve even seen old carpet being used to keep the ground moist.

Burying newspaper into your bedding
This is similar to the mulching idea above, but I found this article, which explains that burying newspaper in with your bedding is a safe way of storing water within your beds, and closer to the roots. Burying newspaper into the ground also keeps the weeds down too.

Absorbent gels
The video below shows you how to dissect a nappy – but you can just as easily buy absorbent gels for your garden from any reputable garden center.  Absorbent gels are great for containers and raised beds. They’re also great if you’re away from your allotment for long periods of time and you’re relying on water butts and wine bottle feeders being full.

Self-watering pots
Last year I saw that Self-watering pots were all the rage and I soon learnt that these are a great way to preserve water in one space. Self watering planters store water and when the soil dries out it will automatically draw up more water until it is full – the technology is a simple one.

Establishing a watering routine
Because watering will effectively take longer using a watering can, it’s best to build up or establish a routine that involves watering little and often. An extra trip to the allotment during the week could be the difference between a plant surviving or being subject to the elements. I’d also invest in another watering can so you can carry more water in one go. Be sure to also focus your watering on the roots of the plants to avoid any wasted run off.

Keep beds weeded
Weeds will take up water that should otherwise go to the plants that need it. By keeping on top of the weeds, you’re effectively getting rid of the competition. This is another reason why weeding is so important, so much like the watering – it’s best to keep on top of the weeding little and often to avoid labour intensive bouts.

Drought resistant varieties 
Hosepipe bans seem to creep up on us and are announced at the last minute, so if you suspect like I have, that this year might involve a hosepipe ban – give extra thought to the varieties of fruit and vegetables that you would like to grow. There are varieties of plants out there that fair well in hot, dry weather – perfect for a hosepipe ban.

Capillary Matting
For indoor growing, capillary matting is a wise investment. Capillary Matting will transport water quickly and evenly over a level surface. This means that large number of plants can be watered easily and at the same time. Capillary matting will also help to create humidity in your greenhouse, which will assist with keeping the mat moist and your plants watered.

Hosepipe bans are a necessary evil unfortunately and they come around every so often – my last piece of advice is to keep calm and carry on. What are your water saving tips? I’d love to know!

Picking Champagne Rhubarb

Instagram and Twitter has been awash this bank holiday weekend with photos of people picking rhubarb and making all kinds of lovely sweet treats with it.  Picking rhubarb gives you a real sense that spring has settled in nicely and summer is truly on the way.  I tried earlier this to force my rhubarb in a strange looking frame, which got blown away by the wind the rain – so in the end, I just left it to do what it was supposed to do on its own.  I can’t say that this has done any harm to my crop as I’ve got a glutton of rhubarb to harvest.

It’s not advised that you cut rhubarb stems, the reason being is that once cut, the base of the stem will die and rot into the plant, which is as good as it sounds.   When harvesting rhubarb you want to be sure to pull stems out of the crown of the plant.

Reach as far down along the stem, into the root, as possible and pull a stalk in the same direction in which it’s growing.  You’ll know when you’ve done it right because of the sound – you’ll hear a nice, light, suctioned crunch – if you hear a snap, you may have broken it off at the root (this isn’t the end of the world, and you may accidently do this as I have done on occasion, so try not to lose too much sleep over this!)

You should end up with a nice clean stalk like the one below.

 

I’ve seen people cut rhubarb at differing lengths all over the internet, and I’m sure each variety and each grower has their own personal preference, but personally – I like to cut off the stalk about 2 or 3 inches from the leaf, or when the colour starts to change along the stem.

Can’t wait to make some jam with this and show you the recipe!