As the mornings get lighter my mind is turning once again to thoughts of growing my own. Each morning the first thing I do after getting out of bed is gaze, bleary-eyed, out of the window. Directly below are the raised beds in which we grow vegetables. During the winter I’m never at home during daylight hours so I give up trying to cultivate anything that needs nurturing or harvesting after October or before February. By now, apart from a few windswept herbs, the beds are empty and begging to be repopulated with vital young veggies.
A couple of weeks ago I received a tweet from Pippa Greenwood asking if I would help spread the word about her new range of mail order vegetable plants. Now I don’t normally do this kind of thing but a) this was Pippa Greenwood asking, and b) it sounded like a darn good idea to me. I decided to message Pippa back and find out more.
Here’s the deal:
- you, the gardener, choose the crops you’d like to grow from an expertly edited selection Pippa has developed with her favourite Lincolnshire growers: the list includes tomatoes, onions, runner beans, cucumbers, beetroot, courgettes, peppers, lettuce, climbing French beans, sweetcorn, leeks and peas.
- garden-ready plants are sent out in mid-May, ready for planting after the danger of frost has passed.
- Every week Pippa e-mails advice tailored to the vegetables you have chosen, including tips on growing, supporting, feeding, pinching out, watering and, of course, keeping pests at bay. No-one knows better than Pippa how to avoid plague and pestilence (Pippa, like me, studied at Reading University, only I read Landscape Management and Pippa, Crop Protection). Pippa grows all the vegetables in the range herself and so knows exactly what’s happening throughout the growing season.
- At harvest time, Pippa will tell when to pick and how to get the biggest crops and longest cropping period, whilst offering an occasional delicious recipe. (Pippa confided that she was midway through a stir fry during our e-conversation, so I trust she knows what she’s doing in the kitchen!)
As an urban gardener with precious little time on my hands I am instantly sold on the idea of garden-ready plants being delivered direct to my door. Whilst in my heart I’d always prefer to grow my vegetables from seed, I’m often thwarted by travel and work commitments. And when I do get around to sowing, I either end up with far more plants than I need or straggly seedlings that suffer an inadequate upbringing on my kitchen windowsill.
What, therefore, could be better than relying on an expert to provide just the right amount of healthy vegetable plants at precisely the time I am ready to look after them?
A selection of 4 different crops costs £29; 6, £39 and 10 can be yours for £65. Compared to buying seeds this might sound expensive, but when you factor in the time, energy and space required to nurture vegetables from seed to seedling, I think the outlay is pretty reasonable. I for one will be giving Pippa’s plants a try. Pippa has very kindly offered me a gift voucher, which I will be accepting in order to offer a comprehensive, unbiased review later in 2017. What will I plump for? Tomatoes for sure, even though I’ll be growing some from seed as well, and climbing French beans. We enjoyed a great crop of peas last year, so Sugarsnap ‘Delikett’ certainly appeals, as does the combination of Sweet pepper ‘Redskin’ and Chilli ‘Etna’. I just hope we have a nice hot summer to help them crop well.
For readers of The Frustrated Gardener, Pippa has created a code which offers a 10% discount when you shop for vegetable plants before mid May. That code is 12459-NYWEW. Use it on Pippa’s website when you shop for your vigorous young plants. Do let me know what you think of the results. TFG.
Pippa’s veggie menu:
- Tomato ‘Sweet Aperitif’ x3 & ‘Roma’ x2
- Tomato ‘Super Marmande’ x3 & ‘Sweet & Neat’ x2
- Onion ‘Sturon’ x40-50
- Runner Bean ‘Firestorm’ x10
- Greenhouse Cucumber ‘Femspot’ x3 & Melon ‘Sweetheart’ x2
- Calabrese ‘Ironman’ x5
- Beetroot ‘Pablo’ x15
- Courgette ‘Defender’ x3, plus Butternut squash ‘Hawk’ x 2
- Sweet pepper ‘Redskin’ x 3, plus Chilli ‘Etna’ x2
- Climbing French bean ‘Blue Lake’ x10
- Lettuce ‘Cosmic’, ‘Little Gem’ & ‘Lollo Rosso’ x5 each
- Sweetcorn ‘Swift’ x16
- Early Leeks ‘Jolant’ x10
- Indoor or Outdoor Tomato ‘Sakura’ x5
- Sugarsnap pea ‘Delikett’ x10