Salad in seconds.

If you have done nothing about salad growing this year, feel you have left it too late or just would like a bit of lettuce for your sandwiches, this works brilliantly…
You will need:
A packet of mixed salad leaves seeds
An old fish box or similar plastic box (with holes punched in the base if necessary to let water out) or a window box.
Peat free general potting compost

Fill box with compost, water compost, sprinkle lettuce seeds thinly in rows, pat down with your hand to ensure seeds are just covered, keep watered and wait. In a month it should look like this:



Box of salad grown by Nick who manages
our immaculate vegetable garden.



Put it outside your door where you can pick a few leaves for your sandwiches. It’s that easy!

Tomatoes

tomatoes harvested at Easton Walled Gardens

We grow a fair number of tomatoes at Easton and have been growing sweet cherry and big fat cheeked beefsteak varieties for some time. We use them in the tearoom fresh and roast the glut for using in soups overwinter.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Tomato ‘Cuor di Bue’:

Also called Tomato ‘Bull’s Heart’ – we grew this last year under Paolo’s instruction (he runs Seeds of Italy) We weren’t excited by the first fruits but as they ripened they were spectacular! Big beefsteak type tomatoes, virtually seedless, make the perfect salad tomato or for passata. Needless to say we are growing it again this year.

Tomato ‘Black Cherry’:

A regular with us. Really long trusses of smallish dark pink/black tomatoes, easy to eat whole or halve for salads or cooking. We grow it undercover with Cuor di Bue.

Tomato ‘Principe Borghese’:

This fantastic tomato is a vine tomato suitable for outdoor growing. It’s egg shaped fruits are good with salads and then, at the end of the season can be dried. Lucy, our florist used them like this last year.Lucy cut the toms in half, laid them out flat on baking tray sprinkled with salt and pepper and olive oil. She put in the bottom oven of an Aga or plate warmer overnight until semi-dried then put into air tight jars with olive oil.Summer in a jar!

Tomato baby plum ‘Red Cherry’:

This is new to us this year. The description from Seeds of Italy describes it thus ‘produces sweet long oblong fruits, is ideal for containers and can be grown outdoors.’

Tomato ‘Cumulus F1’:

An early ripening variety with typical tomato shape fruits that has good resistance to disease. Can be grown in or outside.

Tomato ‘Gardeners Delight’:

Well named, this is a cherry tomato with trusses of sweet tasting tomatoes on a compact bush that can be grown inside or out.For us, this grows better outside than in and produces a heavy crop of medium sized fruits with very little side shoot removal required. Easy if your whole world doesn’t revolve around growing perfect tomatoes.

tomato plants for sale at Easton Walled Gardens
We have some of these for sale in the shop as young plants or seeds at the time of writing. The fruiting plants can be seen in the greenhouse or cottage garden with chillies and spaghetti squash from May onwards.

Annual Seed Lists

Reliable Annuals.

Annuals are an important feature in any garden and may be even more vital this year to plug the gaps left by plants you have lost to the snow and ice. They will also give you colour in the flowering gaps that can occur in June and late Summer. The examples below can be sown from January onwards undercover for early flowering or left until later to fill the high summer garden.You could sow them twice for two hits of colour. Here are some suggestions of seeds that we rely on every year.

Sweet Peas:

This beautiful plant is the mainstay of our Pickery (or cutflower garden) in early summer. We grow over 100 varieties and the scent on a sunny day is pure English summer. We sell mixes and over 50 named varieties by mail order so if you would like to order these, see our shop page or email Mary at info@eastonwalledgardens.co.uk

Calendula officinalis:

This photo shows our heritage sweet peas underplanted with the simple pot marigold. A versatile annual that is extremely easy to grow from its curly seeds; it can be used in the vegetable and herb garden and sown in several batches for a succession of colour. Good for children and, in its simpler forms, for insect life. We offer Calendula officinalis ‘Indian Prince’. It has deep orange flowers with a beautiful red sheen to the back of the petals.

Cornflowers:

The perfect cottage garden or meadow annual. Really easy, cheap, loved by insects and available in 3 or 4 colours. We sow these early and late.The late sown seedlings are perfect for putting into gaps left by early bulbs. If you leave the seeds heads on the plant you can collect seeds or seedlings from your garden in late summer. We offer individual and mixed colours in our online shop.

Gilia tricolor:

I love this annual, it is not grown nearly enough. We came across this plant when we decided to grow cut flowers listed in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue.It will flower twice in a season without any help from you as the seeds drop early and reseed around their base. Look close into the flowers and they are an exquisite two tone deep purple with yellow throat. Again, really easy and a great cut flower.

 

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Moreno’ :

Although strictly a perennial this works better in areas with hard winters as an annual. In the past we have trialled 15 varieties of Rudbeckias and this is a beautiful variety. Other good forms include ‘Indian Summer’ (recommended to me by Val Bourne) and ‘Dwarf mixed’ (in spite of the name, not very dwarf and an excellent mix of colours) Suttons sell Moreno and Indian Summer and we offer ‘Dwarf Mix’


Cosmos ‘Psyche White’:

Nailing Cosmos so they grow well for you can be a proper horticultural challenge. At RHS Wisley they grow well over your head but you can also grow them badly as little dumpy things that are all spindly with a sad flower head. This is one we have had had great success with and is more reliable for us than the better known ‘Purity.’ We are going  to grow a range of  Cosmos this year to try and add to this one. Great for late summer colour and the single forms are, like most daisy-type flowers, popular with bees. Thompson and Morgan offer a good range including ‘Psyche White’

And finally, the picture perfect, disease free, flower vase enhancing Clary or Salvia horminum Flowers for ages with blue, pink and white bracts and will resprout throughout the summer if you crop it by cutting down to a shoot.The pink form is shown in close up above with Cosmos. Don’t dismiss the white form, its green veining looks lovely in small posies. We have limited quantities available in the shop.
Salvia horminum
If you can’t imagine summer ever being here again or are looking for a starting point for seed catalogues, I hope this post has inspired you. Happy Christmas x