Growing Together

Fed up of being stuck indoors? Are you happy to see glorious nature bursting out again as spring unfolds?

Then join RAMM in a seed-planting extravaganza!

Be inspired by RAMM’s seed exhibitions in summer 2021, Seedscapes: Future-Proofing Nature and Léonie Hampton: A Language of Seeds, with six ‘Growing Together’ seed activities to take part in – plant one a week using the instructions on this page, and learn a few fun facts along the way. A new activity will be released on our social media channels each Monday in April and early May.

Seeds include tasty aromatic herbs, bright and bold flowers and magically medicinal blooms. All are bee/ nature-friendly and easy to care for in a garden or on your windowsill.

All seeds are available from the RAMM shop for £5 inc. postage.

You can also join RAMM’s free Easter craft activities online, including Potty Easter Eggs – sowing seeds in egg shells  – and making beautiful seed paper to turn into bookmarks and gift tags. Or why not make your own time lapse video as the seeds grow?

We would love to see how you’re getting on. Email us your pictures ([email protected]), or share your growing progress with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

Grab your trowel, some soil, a few pots and get planting!

Let’s grow together.

Week 1, starting Monday 5 April – Calendula

calendula / marigold flower

Vibrant orange aromatic flower from the daisy family, also sometimes called marigold.

Bees, moths and butterflies love them! They flower for months through the summer into the autumn.

Calendula flowers are edible and can be used to bring orange colour to rice or potato dishes, or snip them onto soups and salads for extra flavour and nutrition.

Sowing and care instructions

  1. Plant the curly seeds in your garden from mid-March onwards. You can also start them indoors in pots and set out the sturdy seedlings from early May once the risk of frost has passed.
  2. Cover the seeds with soil to a depth of between 0.5 and 1.5 cm.
  3. They enjoy a sunny spot with regular watering.
  4. It takes up to 12 weeks for the first flowers to emerge after sowing.

Did you know?

  • The Romans and Greeks used the golden calendula to make crowns or garlands for their rituals and ceremonies.
  • The bright flowers have been used to decorate the statues of Hindu deities since early times.
  • One 16th-century magic potion containing calendula claimed to reveal
  • In English cuisine, the flower was traditionally used to flavour stewed birds, dumplings, wine, oatmeal and puddings.
  • Calendula oil can be used as an anti-inflammatory and to heal wounds. In the past it was used to relieve headaches, red eye, fever and toothaches.

Why not share photos of your Growing Together progress on social media? Don’t forget to tag us @rammuseum and use the hashtag #RAMMGrowingTogether!

Week 2, starting Monday 12 April – Basil

Photograph of some basil leaves

A flavourful, aromatic, leafy green herb originally from Asia and Africa. Its leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. 

The flowers are either light purple or white and are completely edible, as well as being attractive to bees and other important pollinators.

Popular as a food seasoning, basil is also used in teas and supplements providing a range of health benefits.

Sowing and care instructions

1. Sow indoors in early spring. They can easily be grown in pots on your windowsill, or can be planted outdoors later in the summer.
2. Fill a small pot with seed compost, firm down and sow a few seeds of basil over the top – only sow a few more seeds than you need.
3. Water gently and cover the pot with a small, clear freezer bag and secure with an elastic band.
4. Water sparingly – basil hates to sit in wet compost. Harvest the leaves individually rather than chopping the plant with scissors, so new leaves can grow.

Did you know?

  • Native to India, ‘sacred’ basil was considered a powerful protector and was often planted around temples and laid with the dead.
  • Over 4,000 years ago the first written accounts mention basil was grown in Egypt. It was first introduced to Britain in the 16th Century.
  • Traditional uses include the treatment of snakebites, colds and inflammation of the nasal passages.

Don’t forget you can tag us in your Growing Together journey on social media using @rammuseum and the hashtag #RAMMGrowingTogether!

Week 3, starting Monday 19 April – Sunflower

Photograph of a a group of sunflowers with blue sky behind

Large, bright, long-lasting flowers that look fantastic in gardens or cut in a vase.

Sunflowers can grow to heights of up to two metres!

Although most of the 70 varieties of sunflower have yellow flowers, they can also be rusty red, green and white.

The brightly coloured petals attract bees and other pollinators like hoverflies. Garden birds and many other wild animals will eat the flower heads and the seeds, particularly the sunflower hearts.

Sowing and care instructions

Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed and are ideal for growing with children.

  1. In April, sow one seed per pot of peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Push the seed 1.5cm into the compost and water.
  2. Cover pots with a clear plastic bag and place in a cool but bright place. Water regularly.
  3. Plant out at the end of May when the risk of frost has passed. You may need to support them with a stalk once they grow taller.

Did you know?

  • Native to North America, American Indians first domesticated the plant into a single headed plant about 300BC. Sunflowers were first taken to Europe by Spanish explorers around 1500AD.
  • The seed was ground or pounded into flour for cakes, mush or bread. The plant and seeds were also used in ceremonies.
  • Tea made from the leaves can be used to treat high fever. The crushed leaves can be used as a poultice on sores, swellings, snakebites and spider bites.
  • Sunflower seeds may help lower to blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Week 4, starting Monday 26 April – Nasturtium

Photograph of some bright orange nasturtium flowers and leaves

Pretty, versatile and useful – nasturtium plants are fully edible and can be used to lure aphids away from other plants in your garden.

They are easy to grow and look great in window boxes or hanging baskets. Nasturtiums will add a peppery taste to salads and look great as decorations on a cake.

Their brightly coloured flowers attract bees and other pollinators, and are a food for the Dot Moth and the Garden Carpet Moth.

Sowing and care instructions

  1. For best results, sow nasturtium seeds directly where they are to flower, as they’re fast-growing and require minimal care once sowed.
  2. Sow each seed around 1.5 cm deep into moist soil to speed germination, so water your soil before planting them if conditions are dry.
  3. The first seeds can be sown from mid-April onwards, and you can carry on sowing until mid-summer to ensure continuous flowering right up until the first frosts in the autumn.
  4. When seedlings appear, thin them to around 30 cm apart.

Did you know?

  • At different times in their history, nasturtiums have been considered a vegetable, a herb, a flower and even a fruit!
  • They were first brought to Europe from Peru by Spanish conquistadors in the late 15th to early 16th century.
  • The flowers and long-lasting leaves were popular in Victorian bouquets and table arrangements. They were also eaten to prevent scurvy, as their leaves are rich in Vitamin C.
  • Traditional medicinal uses included making teas and tonics to soothe sore throats and colds.

Don’t forget you can tag us in your Growing Together journey on social media using @rammuseum and the hashtag #RAMMGrowingTogether!

Week 5, starting Monday 3rd May – Spearmint

Photo of some spearmint leaves

Also known as garden or common mint, spearmint has fragrant, refreshing scents and flavours.

The herb is especially popular in cold and hot drinks, including ice tea, mojitos and herbal teas.

Spearmint flowers are especially irresistible to bees. Mint Moth caterpillars eat the leaves – look out for one resting on your plant!

Sowing and care instructions…

  1. Start sowing your mint seeds in containers, flat pots or in prepared garden soil.
  2.   Sow seeds around 6mm deep. The seeds are tiny, but you can space them with tweezers or simply thin the seedlings once they have germinated.
  3. Keep the seeds moist until they germinate in 10 – 15 days.
  4. Beware – once planted outside spearmint takes off quickly and can take over quickly as well!

Did you know?

  • Ancient Greeks and Romans rubbed mint on tables before their guests arrived.
  • The Romans brought mint and mint sauce to Britain.
  • In the Middle East, mint tea was and still is offered to guests upon their arrival.
  • Mint has been used as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems for thousands of years.
  • Some people believe mint aids digestion, weight loss, relief from nausea, depression, fatigue and headaches as well as asthma, memory loss and skin care problems.

Week 6, starting Monday 10th May – Echinacea

Photograph of an echinacea flower in a field

Pink, daisy-like flowers with a large, cone-shaped centre.

They are heat and drought resistant, easy to grow, bloom for months and make great cut flowers.

The Echinacea flower is known for attracting bees, birds and other pollinators. Its flowers are rich in nectar, and their seeds are a favourite with birds. Rabbits and deer also love them!

‘Echinacea purpurea’, the variety in your seed pack, is used in traditional medicine.

Sowing and caring instructions

  1. Coneflower seeds take a while to germinate – around 20 days to sprout. Sow weeds around 2cm deep in well drained, peat free compost.
  2. The ideal soil temperature is about 21 degrees C, and the soil should be relatively moist. You can start the seeds off in a bright place inside by covering your pots with a clear plastic bag.
  3. Once seedlings have grown to about 7cm tall, thin them and wait a week before putting them outside once the danger of frost has passed in early May.

Did you know?

  • Native to the plains of North America, Echinacea does not grow wild anywhere else in the world, but is widely cultivated in Europe and the USA.
  • It was used by American Indians to treat a wide range of ailments, and was first taken to Europe in the 17th century.
  • The Echinacea flower has a mild antibiotic effect, helping to protect cells from bacteria, viruses and fungi.
  • It is known to reduce the intensity and duration of cold and flu symptoms and helps the body fight recurrent infections. It can also be used to relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue.

Good luck everyone with caring for your plants this summer, we hope they flower magnificently. We would love to see how they get on so don’t forget to keep sharing your pictures with us! It’s been a pleasure planting with you all and growing together. 

If you’re looking for more fun activities to take part in, why not explore RAMM online?