Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts



As we all do what we can to keep the pandemic at bay, one of the most personal things we can do is to keep ourselves as healthy as possible to boost our immunity. Boosting our immunity can be done through regular exercise but also by ensuring we are eating the freshest, most nutritionally-rich foods possible. The US’ CDC categorises 41 foods as ‘Powerhouse fruits and vegetables’ – those foods deemed to be the most strongly associated with reducing chronic disease by offering 10% or more of 17 qualifying nutrients1 per every 100 kcal of energy.

Four of the top ‘Powerhouse’ foods listed; watercress, chard, beetroot greens and spinach, all have a nutrient density score of 86% or more (watercress has a score of 100%) and are all vegetables you can easily grow now in a Greenhouse. Historic Glasshouse and Greenhouse manufacturer Hartley Botanic has been helping gardeners to ‘grow their own’ under glass for over 82 years. Here they share their essential tips for growing the most nutritionally dense, fresh vegetables.

Firstly, ‘grow your own’ powerhouse vegetables…

Growing your own is arguably the best way to access the healthiest fruit and vegetables, and using a Greenhouse you can do this all year round. Growing your own allows you to control exactly what sort of fertilisers or pest control measures are used, and it also means you can eat your food, the same day it is harvested. Numerous studies have shown that there is a connection between time after harvest and nutritional value lost. A University of California2 study showed that vegetables can lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C within the first week after they are picked. Similar studies have also revealed prepared, pre-packed fruit and vegetables have lower nutritional values3.

1 Qualifying nutrients include vitamin A, B (6 and 12), C, D, E, K and minerals potassium, fibre, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and zinc.

1: Watercress – ‘powerhouse’ nutrient density score: 100 percent

Once considered a weed, watercress is part of the Brassicaceae family and packs an impressive nutritional punch – particularly vitamin K which is necessary for blood clotting and healthy bones. It is also a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants which may lower the risk of chronic diseases and cancer.

Watercress can be grown in a Glasshouse or Greenhouse all year round – albeit more slowly in mid-winter. This nutrition-packed crop doesn’t need to be grown under running water, it will grow well in pots or trays of compost which are kept moist. Pots must be kept continually moist and this can be done by standing them on capillary matting or in very shallow saucers of water. Change water regularly to keep it clean and oxygenated. Watercress can be started from seed or you can get perfectly good cuttings from watercress bought in the shops (you can even use microgreens). If you are using cuttings, insert each into wet compost, sharp sand or even just water. They will soon grow roots and then you will be ready to plant. When your plants start to run to seed, divide them up and start again.

2.   Chard (or Swiss Chard) – ‘powerhouse’ nutrient density score: 87.27 percent

Despite its name, Swiss Chard originates from the Mediterranean. Like Chinese cabbage, chard is an excellent source of vitamin K. It is also high in antioxidants, including beta-carotene and flavonoids, which fight free radicals and may protect against disease. It is also loaded with fibre.

The growing process for chard is similar to spinach – although much easier. Chard needs a sunny spot in your Greenhouse and should be sown in moisture-retentive, free-draining soil. Sow in multi- cell trays around 2.5cm deep. The soil should be damp enough to encourage germination, not dry or cold and waterlogged, the seedbed firm and free of weeds and stones. In terms of temperature, a good rule of thumb is to be sure the soil is at least 50 F (10 C), which is warm enough for the seeds to germinate. A soil thermometer takes the risk out of sowing. Harvest your chard when crops are still young, don’t wait until they reach maximum size as the leaves will be less tender.

2 https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-xpm-2013-07-10-chi-most-produce-loses-30-percent-of-nutrients-three-days- after-harvest-20130710-story.html

3 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3005061/Are-ready-prepared-fruit-veg-healthy-think-Tests-far-lower-levels- vitamin-C-unprepared-produce.html

3.   Beetroot greens – ‘powerhouse’ nutrient density score: 87.08 percent

Beetroot greens are the green leaves of the beetroot plant. Historically, they were used for their amazing healing properties as Hippocrates believed that the juice from beet leaf bindings would help heal wounds. They are bursting with vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, known to be a natural immunity booster, vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes and vitamin K. They are also rich in copper, manganese, iron, calcium and they are a good source of fibre. Their health benefits may help boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve mental health and strengthen bones.

Beetroot is a versatile vegetable and can withstand cooler, and sometimes even freezing, temperatures although it is best to ensure soil temperature doesn’t fall below 7C (44F.) Beetroot can be sown in multi-cell trays or sown outside 5cm (2in) apart in rows 23cm (9in) apart. If growing a multi-germ type be prepared to thin seedlings. When the seedlings are large enough to handle easily, thin them out. If growing a multi-germ variety, thin the clumps to one seedling per station where wanted for roots. Thinning is less important if the plants are to be harvested as a salad leaf alone. Allow 10cm (4in) between roots for beetroot intended for salads or cooking. Water thoroughly, especially when the roots begin to swell. If you decide to plant them out, do it when the soil is sufficiently warm, hardening them off thoroughly beforehand by placing in a cold frame for a week or two prior to planting. Make sure plants are planted into their final positions before the roots start to coil around the compost in the cell and take care to disturb them as little as possible. Beetroot should be ready to harvest within about 12 weeks in the case of round-rooted varieties and 16 weeks in the case of the long-rooted types.

Harvesting – Lift grown beetroot carefully – long-rooted varieties will need a fork underneath them to aid lifting without damage since any bruises or cuts will bleed, draining the colour from the roots as they are cooked. To remove the leaves grasp them firmly above the root and twist with the other hand to prevent damage to the top of the root, again to prevent bleeding during cooking.

4.   Spinach – ‘powerhouse’ nutrient density score: 86.43 percent

Spinach is well known for its nutritional qualities and has always been regarded as a plant with remarkable abilities to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. There are sound reasons why spinach would produce such results, primarily the fact that it is rich in iron.

Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2.

First of all, choose the type and variety of spinach you would like to grow. Spinach comes in three main types; savoy, smooth leaf and semi-savoy. Spinach usually grows well in cooler temperatures so if you are planning to start sowing now, choose bolt-resistant varieties. Spinach likes well-drained soil which is neutral PH. It responds well to being fed so make sure the soil is rich with compost.

When sowing, space out the seeds well so they don’t compete. Each new spinach leaf can be carefully harvested with a sharp cuttings knife or secateurs; this gentle harvest pruning seems to encourage more leaves as long as you are not too eager and don’t damage the centre or cut off too many too soon. While wilted spinach disappears into tiny, tiny morsels, there’s something quite tactile about fresh and raw baby spinach leaves carefully extricated from the mother plants. Each perfect, heart shaped leaf has texture, substance and flavour left raw on the plate.

For more Greenhouse gardening help and advice, Hartley Botanic’s online magazine offers a wealth of information.

All Hartley Botanic’s Glasshouses and Greenhouses are handmade, bespoke and made to order. Customers interested in purchasing a Hartley Botanic Greenhouse should visit: http://www.hartley-botanic.co.uk or call 01457 819 155 for more information.

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‘Why Hartley?’

Unrivalled. Unparalleled. Unique. There are Glasshouses, and there are Hartley Botanic Glasshouses. Combining inspired design with enduring quality, nothing quite enhances your garden like a Hartley Botanic. The manufacturer prides itself on five key pillars of service which sets it apart:

1.      Beauty and elegance

The incomparable range of simply beautiful and elegant structures means Hartley Botanic can create designs that are distinctive and unique. The Victorian, Heritage and Modern Glasshouse ranges, means customers don’t have to go anywhere else to find the widest range of beautifully crafted, high-quality Glasshouses.

2.      Structurally superior

Every Hartley Botanic Glasshouse is handmade in the North of England to customers’ exact requirements. They are made of the finest materials with unparalleled durability, safety and beauty. All of their sections have a structural purpose. They never take short cuts by ‘sticking’ aluminium to glass for aesthetic reasons. They are so confident of the structural integrity of their Greenhouses; they offer a 30 year Lifetime Guarantee.

3.      A reputation beyond compare

Hartley Botanic’s brand heritage and reputation has been built on trust for over 80 years. Hartley Botanic has earned an unrivalled reputation for crafting the finest Glasshouses and Greenhouses money can buy through the very highest standards of hard-won experience, craftsmanship and service.

4.      Unrivalled knowledge and expertise

With a wealth of knowledge and expertise built into every Hartley Botanic Glasshouse, generations of customers have put their trust in the hands of the manufacturer’s expert, time served, highly skilled craftsmen. Hartley Botanic creates Glasshouses of distinction from decades of knowledge and care.

5.      Exceptional delivery of service

Once an order has been handmade to customers’ personal requirements, and to Hartley Botanic’s exacting standards, the delivery and installation will be exceptional. The proud team at Hartley Botanic are there to ensure the process runs smoothly, providing customers with the information they need and keeping them up to date throughout.

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Notes to Editors:

For press enquiries please contact:

The Hartley Botanic team at WADE PR on: [email protected]

or call: 0797 067 9437 (Caroline)

About Hartley Botanic www.hartley-botanic.co.uk

Hartley Botanic is an English Glasshouse and Greenhouse manufacturer based in Greenfield, Lancashire. The company was founded in 1938 by brothers Vincent (RHS fellow) and Norman Hartley following their groundbreaking aluminium Greenhouse design, the first time (to our knowledge) aluminium had been used in Greenhouse construction and marking a huge improvement on its wood and wrought iron Victorian forerunners. Today, Hartley Botanic’s reputation has been built on over 80 years of English craftsmanship, creating Glasshouse and Greenhouse structures known for their enduring strength, quality and performance. It is the Greenhouse manufacturer of choice for leading horticulture organisations, institutions and designers in the UK and worldwide with Hartley Botanic commissioned by the RHS, the National Trust, Kew Gardens, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Oxford Botanical Gardens, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Blenheim Palace, The Lingholm Estate and Hampton Court Palace…to name a few. In February 2017 Hartley Botanic became the only aluminium Glasshouse and Greenhouse manufacturer to be endorsed by the RHS.

Company approach

Hartley Botanic combines modern advances in design, engineering and technology with old fashioned values and techniques which enhance its products and customer experience. Despite using cutting- edge machinery in its Greenfield factory all Hartley Botanic Greenhouses are still ‘handmade,’ being assembled entirely by hand with precision parts still being made using traditional, hand-operated.

equipment. The customer service experience is also both hands-on and highly personal with Hartley Botanic providing 360 degree support, from the Greenhouse design phase through to installation.

Vincent and Norman Hartley’s vision in 1938 of lasting quality and ambition in making the finest Greenhouses money can buy remain key pillars for the company. Customers purchasing a Hartley Botanic Glasshouse or Greenhouse are making an investment which will stand the test of time, span generations and be robust enough to travel well.

Greenhouse products

Hartley Botanic’s Glasshouse and Greenhouses are all made to order and range from small patio models to imposing Glasshouses. Designs are available from 3 product ranges (Victorian, Heritage and Modern) with all models available in a variety of colours and sizes, along with options for ‘glass to ground’ installation, free-standing or lean-to and internal glazed partitions. Standard for every Hartley Botanic Glasshouse and Greenhouse are:

  • 30 year ‘lifetime’ guarantee which covers both the structure and installation*
  • Bespoke solutions to suit particular horticultural requirements
  • Full installation service or choice of self-assembly for select designs
  • Polyester powder coated paint finish
  • Top hung opening lights for advanced, efficient ventilation*
  • Single glazing in BS6206 tempered safety glass
  • Glazing in individual frames
  • No glass to glass or glass to metal contact in glazing
  • Unique clear span roof design (no internal support to impede space)*

*not relevant to the Patio Greenhouse

Accolades and awards

In 2017 Hartley Botanic’s entire product range was endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society


The manufacturer’s RHS Flower Show tradestands are award winning, year after year:

  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show – Awarded the Director General’s Linley award for the last two years (including in its inaugural year), awarded 5 Stars or the Silver Gilt Show Garden award every year since 2014, awarded Best Tradestand in 2014
  • RHS Hampton Court Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars in 2018
  • RHS Chatsworth Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars since the show’s inauguration in 2017
  • RHS Tatton Park Flower Show – Awarded 5 Stars in 2018