Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Our Night Rider to Make his Garden Releaf Debut

March 7th, 2018 | Events, News | 0 Comments

Richard Keegan, National Field Sales Manager here at Mr Fothergill’s, began his training for the 100-mile Garden ReLeaf bike ride on 16th March with a 5-mile cycle-ride in the dead of night as he was so embarrassed that someone might see him. He came back “knackered” and realised the gravity of what he had just agreed to do!


Matt Jackson ready for anything!

The problem started for Richard soon after Business Development Manager, Matt Jackson, suggested the ride. After agreeing, he realised he didn’t even have a bike, so he had to borrow his partners bike and raise the saddle!

Training has continued and Richard comments: “After buying a little bit of kit – shorts, shoes and helmet – borrowing a bike from a mate and a lot of training rides in the snow, ice, rain and wind (a lot of the last two) I completed my first big ride last Saturday 74 miles. I’m really not sure how the day itself will go, but I am hoping riding with other people will make the whole thing easier but whatever, it’s all for a great cause!”

Richard will be joined by Matt Jackson who ran the 20-mile walking course last year! Like Rich, he has trained hard and has also bought a new bike, lots of winter gear and a turbo trainer! Matt says, “it’s been miserable at times training in this rotten weather but as long as we raise plenty of money for charity it is worth it!”

Richard and Matt are part of the Team Lightning Seeds from Mr Fothergills. They will be joined on the day by 20-mile walkers Tim Jeffries, Jeremy Sharp, Ian Cross, Alison Mulvaney and Chris Owen. In addition, staff at the Kentford HQ will be completing various fund-raising events in the Mr Fothergills HQ

To support the team, visit our JustGiving page by clicking here.

New Vegetable Varieties in our Seed Range

March 6th, 2018 | News, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

We have strengthened our vegetable seed range with the introduction of nine new and two exclusive varieties for the 2018 season, all of which promise excellent yield and flavour.

Carrot Speedo (RRP £2.29 for 350 seeds) is a fast growing and early maincrop ‘Nantes’ variety which matures 90 days after sowing. It has a uniform, cylindrical shape and smooth skinned roots. This high quality carrot has good external and internal colour and a well-rounded tip at maturity.

In support of Fleuroselect’s Year of the Pepper campaign we have introduced the exclusive Pepper (Hot) Curry Pepper (RRP £2.45 for 10 seeds). It produces 15cm long fruits on compact plants. It is full of hot flavour, can be used both fresh or dried and is at its best when still green or light green.

Another new pepper added to the range is Pepper (Hot) Havana Gold (RRP £2.69 for 10 seeds). It is a vigorous plant, great for large crops of attractive fruits. Havana Gold has the amazing habanero flavour but with half the heat. Perfect fresh or dried and suitable for freezing.

Mr-Fothergills-Carrot-Speedo-Variety Mr-Fothergills-Pepper-Hot-Curry-Pepper-Seed-VarietyMr-Fothergills-Pepper-Hot-Havana-Gold-Seed-Variety








Besides peppers we have also introduced a selection of other varieties including Pea (Mangetout) Sweet Sensation (RRP £2.69 for 150 seeds), well-known for good resistance to mildew. It is an early crop variety producing sweet and crunchy pods.

Broccoli (Autumn) Covina (RRP £2.45 for 50 seeds), quality harvests over a long season. It produces solid, domed heads with medium sized beads.

Carrot Purple Sun F1 (RRP £2.99 for 350 seeds), a maincrop sweet nantes type, with rich purple flesh throughout.

Leek Navajo (RRP £3.49 for 50 seeds), distinguishes itself with extreme hardiness for crops throughout winter, producing long, easy to clean shanks.

Lettuce Thimble (RRP £2.05 for 200 seeds), resistant to bolting and tipburn diseases, producing dense heads of crisp leaves. This mini-romaine type can be cooked, grilled or used fresh in salads.

Tomato Sweetbaby (RRP £2.29 for 10 seeds) is an indeterminate outdoors or greenhouse growing variety that produces delicious and sweet, small cherry-sized toms.

Make Your Own Seed Starting Mix

March 5th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

It’s that time of year again: seed sowing time. Sowing the first seeds of the growing season is always incredibly exciting. Think about all the fresh, home-grown products to come.

If you are planning on starting to sow in containers, you will need seed starting mix. And since buying this is often quite expensive, we will show you how to make your own.


Seed starting Mix

The perfect seed starting mix, should not be too high in nutrients, which could harm delicate seedlings. The mix should also hold on to moister without becoming soggy. Overly wet conditions can rot seeds and encourage fungal diseases such as damping off.

Here is a very simple recipe: It’s a soilless recipe so it’s beautifully light and fluffy. All the ingredients are natural too, promoting good strong growth and healthy, happy seedlings.

Seed-starting-mixBegin with 2 parts compost as your base. All parts measured by volume; So it doesn’t matter what you use to measure your ingredients, as long as you are consistent.

The compost adds slowly released nutrients to the mix, which will help to feed seedlings as they grow. You can use your own garden compost or buy some.

Break up clumps with your hands or screen/sift it to get a fine even texture.

Then add 2 parts coir or coconut fiber. If your coirs come in a block, rehydrate it first by soaking it in a bucket of water until you can easily break it apart. If you prefer you could substitute well-rotted leafmould instead of the coir.

Finally, add 1 part perlite, which will both lighten the mix and improve its air content. You can substitute perlite with sand, but it will give you a heavier mixture.

Mix all the ingredients together, create a consistent mix with all the ingredients evenly distributed. Once done, store the seed starter mix in a lidded container or in a plastic sac. Store your mix in a dry cool place.


Using your seed starting mix

Moisture your seed starting mix a little bit before using it, for it to be damp but not sodden. You can use your mix for sowing into plug trays, plastic pots, seeds trays or any other container suitable for seed sowing.

Gently press down your seed starting mix as you fill your container and take particular care to properly fill out the corners. Top up with more mix if required. Sow your seeds according to the package’s instructions and water. Watering requires some care if you don’t want to blast the mix out of the container.

Once the seedlings have germinated, it is best to water them from below. Put your containers in shallow trays of water, until the surface of the mix is moist.



Potting on

Many seedlings need potting on into larger containers at least once before it’s time to plant them out. Most will be happy in the same seed starting mix. But for hungrier seedlings like tomato for example, they will appreciate something a bit richer. Adding some worm compost, gives it the nutritional boost for after.


Container Potting Mixes

Try this potting mix for plants to be grown in larger containers.

Combine 2 parts garden compost with 1 part coir or leamould. Now add some perlite for drainage. 2-3 generous handfuls to every 10 gallons or 40 liters of the coir/compost mix. A similar amount of worm compost can also be added for hungry plants. Or incorporate a slow release organic fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Plants grown in the same container for a very long time need a potting mix that holds its structure. Loam or good quality garden soil offers this.

Simply combine 1 part loam or garden soil with 1 part garden compost. Then add some slow releasing organic fertilizer.


Making your own potting mix will save you a lot of money, but the other benefit of these recipes is that they can also be tweaked depending on what you are growing.



These are just a few tips and ideas to help you create your own sowing mix. If you have any additonal tips let us know which ones in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page and tell us what you would recomend.

Growing soft fruits for Beginners

March 1st, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

In a few weeks fruit bushes will be bursting into leaf, ready to start a new season of delicious abundance.

Many soft fruits are both heavy cropping and surprisingly easy to grow; and when you consider how much it costs to buy them in the shop, there is every reason to grow them!

If you have never tried growing fruits before, watch this video, it will show you how to grow soft fruits for beginners.



With so many varieties you could be picking fruits from spring all the way through to autumn.

Strawberries will crop the first summer of the planting, and because they aren’t woody plants, the only pruning they need is pruning back the leaves after fruiting.

Fruits that lie on bare sole can rot, you can protect them by laying straw around them when they begin to flower. You can even enjoy a late crop of strawberries by protecting them with row covers or cloches.



There are two types of raspberries: summer fruiting and autumn fruiting or fall bearing .  Autumn fruiting raspberries are the easiest to grow because they only need minimal support to stop them flopping over. Pruning couldn’t be easier too. Simply cut back on the old canes in late winter, ready for new canes to replace them in spring. Autumn fruiting raspberries produces a steady supply of berries from late summer to the first frosts.


Blackberries and Hybrid Berries

Most modern varieties are thornless and their fruits tend to be bigger and sweeter than their wilder counterparts. The canes are vigorous and generally trouble-free. Simply tie them to support to maintain order and cut out old canes to encourage new growth.

Hybrid berries such as boysenberry or tayberry are the result of a cross between the blackberry and other cane fruits; often raspberry or another hybrid. The result are tasty berries, all easy to grow and all juicy and delicious.



With red, white and black currant to choose from you’re immediately spoilt for choice. All currants crop well, producing heavily laid in clusters or streaks of currant to eat fresh, use into sauces or turn into jam or jelly. They also go wonderfully with apples in pies!

Red and white currants prefer cooler climates and will even grow well in shade. If you got a sweet tooth, opt for white currants. Which tend to be a little sweeter than reds.

Blackcurrants require very little care. They even crop when neglected; But prune them in winter to remove some of the older branches, and you will encourage a lot of new, healthy growth and plenty of fruits.



They are near to indestructible and will strive in any soil, though it prefers cooler climates and some shelter from the wind. You can choose between culinary varieties and desert varieties.

Gooseberries will produce their fruits even when neglected, but if you show some care by feeding, pruning and mulching, you will have many fruits to enjoy every summer.

They have been some restrictions for growing gooseberries and currants in the United States. The reason is that they served as intermediary host for the white pine blister rust disease, which is fatale to white pines. Thankfully, modern breedings created varieties resistant to the disease and restrictions have been lifted in most states. However, there are still some restrictions in some area, so make sure to check the situation where you live before planting.


General care

Generally, soft fruits require less space than trees, and are quicker to reach maturity, so you won’t have to wait long before your first pickings. Container growing soft fruits can be planted at any time of year, while bare root fruits are best planted from late Winter to early spring; or in milder climates from autumn onwards.

Keep your soft fruits striving by watering thoroughly once a week in dry weather, especially in the first year.

In spring, top up with mulch, such as compost, to help feed the plants, while improving soil structure. Lay it at least a couple of inches or 5cm thick, taking care to keep it clear of the canes or trunks of the plant.

You may find birds like your fruits as much as you do. Netting or a walk-in fruit cage will keep them off.

While soft fruits are delicious eaten fresh, most currants and berries can also easily be frozen or dried, to enjoy later in the year.



These are just a few tips and ideas to help you grow soft fruits for the first time. If you are already growing fruits let us know which ones in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page and tell us what you would recomend for beginners.

New Flower Varieties Seed Range

February 28th, 2018 | News | 0 Comments

We have expanded our flower range with the introduction of eleven new and four exclusive varieties for the 2018 season, all of which promise colourful backdrops as well as distinctive shapes and blooms.

Verbena-Scentsation-new-Mr-Fothergills-flower-seed-varietyVerbena Scentsation (RRP £2.69 for 50 seeds) is our own super-scented compact variety. Developed from an unusual specimen discovered by trials manager Brian Talman. An annual verbena not only pretty enough for patio pots, but also has the potential to be a scented star in vases and posies. This half hardy annual flowers from summer to autumn. The plants grow up to 20cm high and create a beautiful carpet of fragrant pink, white and bright purple flowers.

Sweet Pea Lady Salisbury (RRP £2.45 for 20 seeds) is named after the patron of Capel Manor College, Lady Salisbury. Lady Salisbury is a passionate gardener as reflected in the magnificent grounds at Hatfield House. She has visited the Mr Fothergill’s trials ground and demonstrated a keen interest in our work in ensuring the quality of seed supplied. The easy-grow annual is ideal for use on trellis, fences and frames, offering a long summer of colour and fragrance. The classic, highly scented, grandiflora blooms are cream and white, many with picotee edges in blue, pink or lavender. Being long-stemmed it is superb for cutting as well as garden display.

Other exclusive flowers added to the range include: Calendula Orange Flash (RRP £2.29 for 75 seeds enough for 50 plants) which is an uniquely bicoloured, dwarf variety with double blooms in warm tones of orange, apricot and caramel up to 10cm across. Plants are attractive with a nice bushy habit. Adds beautiful colour and style as a cut flower in arrangements. Excellent in landscapes and borders where it exhibits impressive garden performance. Cosmos Double Dutch White (RRP £2.29 for 30 seeds) has large double and semi-double, extremely showy, long flowering blooms. Plants are tall with an attractive bushy habit that makes it an ideal border variety.


Calendula Orange Flash


Cosmos Double Dutch White


Sweet Pea Lady Salisbury







Among the new varieties in our Mr Fothergill’s main seed range are:

Lupin Avalune Bicolour Mixed (RRP £2.05 for 30 seeds),
Marigold (French) Red Knight (RRP £2.29 for enough seeds for 30 plants),
Poppy American Legion (RRP £2.29 for 2000 seeds),
Poppy Maanzaad (Bread Seed) (RRP £2.29 for 1000 seeds),
Sunflower Sun King (RRP £2.69 for 20 seeds),
Sweet Pea Little Red Riding Hood (RRP £2.29 for 20 seeds)
Sweet Pea Turquoise Lagoon (RRP £2.29 for 20 seeds).


Visit your local garden centre for the full range or head over to