Happy New Year from the Marshalls team. We hope you’ve enjoyed the festive period but even more we hope you’re looking forward to starting the new year with growing your favourite crops and trying out some new and exciting ones.
Let us give you some inspiration on what to grow this year. Our January catalogue is coming to your door soon full of much-loved, tried and tested fruit and vegetable varieties as well as new ones to try.
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Enjoy harvests up to three weeks earlier by sowing seeds early in the year. Now is the time to get out your seed trays, modules, seed compost and labels. Sow cauliflowers, spinach, salad onions and lettuce and allow to germinate indoors in a sunny, cool and dry position.
Cut stems of autumn raspberries to ground level. These are the stems that fruited in autumn; you’ll notice the remnants of dead seed heads. Be careful not to damage new shoots coming up from the soil. Apply a layer of mulch or compost to warm the soil and add some nutrients.
Treat your pruning cuts to a dose of winter wash and Prune & Seal. Diseases can be at a high at this time of year. Winter Wash keeps prune cuts clean when exposed to the elements. Prune & Seal keeps external diseases and spores out so they can’t enter plants where the prune cuts are.
Egg boxes are the perfect houses for placing small seed potatoes in, before you plant them out in March. When you chit potatoes you encourage the stems to be thick and robust. You do this by placing seed potatoes in a light and cool spot like a west-facing window sill in an unheated porch.
Get in your supplies of seed potatoes from the varieties you love. Take advantage of our heritage varieties, so popular with home growers over the last 100 years as well as disease-resistant potatoes that withstand scab, rot and bruising. Great for growers with sites prone to becoming damp.
Potato Axona - Resistant to tuber rot
Potato Sarpo Mira - Resistant to blight
Potato Blue Danube - Resistant to bruising
Broccoli and potato bake
350g broccoli florets
50g grated cheese
3 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
400ml pasteurised milk
25g plain flour
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 small leek
Preheat the oven. Boil potatoes in water seasoned with a hint of salt for 10 minutes. Drain in colander and set potatoes to one side but keep the water for cooking the broccoli later. This will maximise flavours.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry leeks for 4-5 minutes, or until they become soft.
Cook the broccoli in water from the potatoes for 3-4 minutes, or until tender.
Make a cheese sauce by melting the butter in the saucepan. Stir in plain flour and cook over a medium heat for a minute.
Reduce the heat and add milk gradually to keep make a smoother and smoother paste. Bring to the boil and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Add the cheddar cheese and English mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes, broccoli and leek to the cheese sauce and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or to golden-brown to suit.
Damping off on seedlings
This fungus-causing disease affects seedling just when they are getting going. Once affected the seedlings collapse and become rotten. This is really demoralising especially when you are sowing seeds for the first time.
Avoid damping off by providing conditions for healthy seedlings. This includes having excellent air circulation around the seed and a medium density. If seedlings grow too near to each other they create humidity which encourages damping off.
For this reason sow thinly, or in separate modules as well as provide air vents if growing in propagators or covering seed tray with polythene bags.
For its 70th birthday Marshalls is offering NEW quality seeds perfect for growers who enjoy time in the kitchen too, coming up with tasty meals made from their well-deserved home-grown vegetables.
For Italian cuisine enjoy these crops; saltwort, microleaf Lemon Basil, microleaf Nasturtium, Papaver (Seeded Bread Poppy)
For a taste of the East sow and grow lemon grass and for British favourites sow Cauliflower Bouquet and kale Colourful N Curly Mix.
This year we invite you to grow pepper Gogorez – a new bell pepper variety which looks just like a beefsteak tomato, easy to chop and slice with its flat broad shape and deepening to a rich red colour as the fruit mature. With F1 hybrid vigour your plants naturally grow big and strong and are much more likely to give you more fruit from its flowers.
Apply with us and we will send you a packet of seeds to try growing yourself. We invite you to show these at NVS (National Vegetable Society) shows around the country throughout the summer and you may get a cash prize if the judges favour your peppers over the competition.
Look out for more information on our Facebook page on growing tips, pictures and competition instructions.