Penny’s gardening blog – box to grow

In My Gardening Blog This Week
A cold snap has arrived down here in Devon and we’ve had some frosts in the last few days and now thankfully a little rain and hail.  On my way home I noticed even a light dusting of snow on the edge of Dartmoor. What with the untimely hot weather of last week where summer thoughts and searches for shorts were both on the cards in my life and now this!  What trickery Jack Frost!! Slow down and beware. Spring is just here, trees still bear of leaves and cold weather is still on the cards.

The first Boxes to Grow have been dispatched from Wash and will be being delivered over the next two weeks to customers up and down the country. Today I will give you some extra advice and tips on planting out and caring for your seedlings.

Box To Grow Welcome
I want to thank our growers first who have really come up trumps this year with the most fantastic quality seedlings and plants for our veg and herb boxes to grow. I am proud to say we have developed a really good growing kit.
When your box arrives you will find inside full instructions on how to care for your seedlings right from the start and how to then get on with the task of planting them out and growing them on. Below I am going to list the most important things to bear in mind. Please feel free to use me as support and leave comments and questions on my gardening blog.

Frost Protection.
In the veg and herb  boxes to grow there are tomatoes , courgettes and cucumber and coriander seedlings that are all quite tender so need extra care for the next few weeks or more. Basically these plants need to be protected from frost, wind and cold temperatures generally. If you have no option but to plant them out it would be wise to cover with a cloche or make a little greenhouse recycling a large plastic water bottle, or at the very least cover with  horticultural fleece. In the past I have put individual cardboard boxes over such plants at night. Do not forget to uncover first thing in the morning though!  I would tend to plant into a pot with some compost and grow them on a bit on a window sill if I didn’t have a greenhouse.

If you live in one of the areas that have been hit with snow then it will be impossible to plant out your seedlings until it is has thawed. Make sure to take the seedlings out of the box and stand upright in a seed tray or cut the box down so that the plants don’t get leggy searching for light. Place the seedlings in a polytunnel, greenhouse, conservatory or window sill. Basically they need light and protection from freezing weather for the moment and ideally shouldn’t be put anywhere too warm either. The plants shouldn’t need watering but if look at all wilted or dry then do water gently with a watering can.

Follow the instructions provided with the kits.
The Cabbages, beetroot, rainbow chard and the kohl rabi in the veg kits can be planted quite deeply however make sure  the other seedlings and lettuce particularly are planted level with the ground and not at all below the surface.

Watering and fleece
Be sure to gently water in your plants after planting them in the ground and check for slugs and snails before ideally covering with horticultural fleece. Fleece will help protect against frosts and cold temperatures and give your plants a head start generally. Remove the fleece carefully every few days for watering as required. Once the weather has warmed up the fleece can be removed. Keep an eye on the weather and check your plants regularly.

Keeping your plot, planters or pots free of weeds is important for the success of your vegetable growing. Use a hoe if appropriate to your situation and hand weed around the seedlings themselves.

Your seedlings will take a few days to adjust and recover from their hike over dales, down and up hills and so on. Look after them tenderly and give them the best chance of success. Speak to them nicely and before you know it they will start doubling in size over and over so do pay attention to the suggested planting distances to. Good luck!

21 responses to “Penny’s gardening blog – box to grow

  1. Hi Penny
    This is my first attempt to grow my own and the small box has arrived.
    Just wondering how much space i will need? I have prepared a raised bed 8 by 4 and when it getts warmer ready to go!

  2. Hi Bob
    Are you talking feet, yards or metres? About 8 square metres is the recommended space for the small box to grow but you can also use tubs and planters for any surplus if your bed isnt big enough. Some people grow spuds in old car tyres stacking them up gradually and adding earth or compost as they grow. This is a huge space saving idea and cropping thems much easier on the back too. Good luck and any more questions welcome. Penny

  3. Hi Penny

    again as Bob has said this is my first attempt and the large box arrived this morning. What about the recommended space for the large grow your own box.



  4. thrilled to bits with my box. potted up toms and cucumbers in greenhouse and will leave herbs indoors for a few days. all the other veg are planted out under cloches and courgettes have a little bell cloche each. great quality. i usually grow mine from seed but fancied trying these instead and couldnt be happier 🙂

  5. I also have a grow your own box for the first time and my cucumber seedlings already look very sad. how can I save them??!!


    PS i have never followed a blog either so do not know if I am writing in the right place!!

  6. Hi Penny
    Our large veg box has arrived, we are new to gardening and very excited about getting stuck in, victims of our own ignorance but it might be useful to label the plants as we are struggling to identify what is what! With the weather being so unsettled, is it wise to delay planting out for a week or two? keeping the plants in doors on a window sill having been potted on into larger pots?

  7. Hi Penny
    What size pots should I put the cucumbers and tomatoes in ideally.
    Will these need to stay indoors all the time?
    Many thanks for your help.

  8. Stephanie Wheeler

    Hi Penny,

    I’m also a novice…you write about leaving horticultural fleece on the seedlings until the weather warms up – what kind of temperatures do you have in mind? I’ve received the box today and have limited windowsill space so will plant most of the seedlings out tomorrow – I didn’t order fleece at the same time though I do have bags of bubble wrap – would that do instead?

    Many thanks,


  9. Hi Penny,
    Just after a little advice please. I received my box to grow on Friday (13th April). As I don’t have a greenhouse or outside storage i’ve put the plants in the conservatoy. All the pots seemed wet enough but thiin the first 24-48hrs the cucmber leaves began to wilt and shrivel and I’m not sure why? Today, Sunday, I’ve put them in new pots and returned to the conservatory – was this the right thing to do? Any advice you may have will be much appreciated.

  10. Hello. I am a novice gardener and I am having a problem identifing some of the plants in my box can you put up on your website photos, with a discription, of the seedings this wolud be very helpful. I can’t identify the chard, khol radi, courgett and mustard it would be good if you could help.
    Alfred Cook

  11. Hi Alfred, I will ask them at Riverford if they can do this. In the meantime, rainbow chard looks like baby spinach with different colour stems in red, pink and yellows. Mustard has purple veins on the leaves. Will sort out pics and put on a blog if nothing else. Sorry about this… you’re not the only one. Penny

  12. Thanks for the snow tips. We took on an allotment earlier this year in the hopes of growing some nice veggies. Haven’t tried one of the boxes you’re referring to in your post, however the tips regarding snow covering etc could prove pretty handy over the next few months. I work for these estate agents peterborough and am finding more and more people ask us about their gardens etc since we also have a property maintenance part too.

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