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Article: The Outdoor Urban Gardener

A girl holding a terracotta pot planted with Daffodils, Muscari and Muehlenbeckia

The Outdoor Urban Gardener

We know city living can be compact which is why we started grow urban. in 2019 to ensure that all city dwellers could enjoy the outdoors inside. Over the last three years we have strived to fill your homes with an array of tropical beauties and, with space running low inside, it’s time to explore the possibility of the outdoors. If you are lucky enough to have some outdoor space in the middle of the city we have an array of treats for you at our shops at 8b St Vincent Street and 92 Grove Street, including seeds, bulbs, plants and gardening tools. 

Compost Quality

Whether it be a window box, balcony or garden there are so many things you can grow from scratch. Healthy soil is crucial to gardening success, so before you start growing make sure to choose the right compost. This will guarantee your plants get the right levels of nutrients, moisture retention and oxygen circulation. 

We recommend using Carbon Gold which is an All-Purpose Compost which is chemical free and approved for organic farming by the FSC and Association. This compost has a wide range of applications and is suitable for pots, containers, hanging baskets and window boxes - so perfect for growing your own plants, flowers and vegetables. 

Sensational Seeds

Seeds are perfect for growing your own plants in a small space. Whether it be a window box overflowing with nasturtiums or creating your very own pumpkin patch we have a plethora of seed varieties ready to be planted up!

How to plant seeds

Seeds have differing seasonal requirements so always make sure to thoroughly read the packet before jumping in. Here are some general tips to getting started;


  1. Start indoors by filling a propagation tray or small pots with a sieved multipurpose mix or seed compost. Make sure the compost sits just below the rim of the pot and press down firmly.
  2. Press larger seeds into the compost individually. The spacing between larger seeds varies and is usually written on the seed packet. Smaller seeds can simply be scattered in a fine layer across the top of the compost.
  3. Cover with a thin layer of compost.
  4. Gently water to avoid dislodging any of your freshly potted seeds. If you have a watering can with a sprinkler attachment this would be a great time to use it! Alternatively sit in a tray of water to allow the compost to take up moisture from the base.
  5. Cover the tray with a polythene bag or place in a propagator. This will create a warmer and humid atmosphere to encourage the seeds to germinate.
  6. Regular watering is crucial to ensure the soil stays moist.
  7. Gemination can take around two to three weeks. Once you notice the seedlings beginning to appear, remove the bag or propagator lid to increase air circulation. 

Planting outdoors

  1. Once your seedlings have become sturdy it’s time to pot your seeds outside. This is usually in April or May when the frost has passed.
  2. “Hardening off” is the term used to get your seeds acclimatised to outdoor conditions to ensure they continue to thrive. This is done by placing them outdoors each day during the week to a sheltered, warm spot. Bring in each night to avoid them getting too cold. Gradually leave them out for longer over the next two weeks before planting outside.
  3. The seed packet will tell you ideal light conditions for your seedlings so make sure to read this before potting them outside.
  4. Dig a hole around the size of the container the seedling is currently in.
  5. Gently tip the plant from it’s pot and place in the hole making sure the top of the seedling compost is level with the new compost.
  6. Fill in any gaps with excess compost and water generously.

Beautiful Bulbs

Bulbs are seasonal and depending on the bulb can be potted in spring, summer or even autumn. This will always be stated on the packaging. We currently have a superb range of bulbs to be planted in spring, which will be ready to bloom come summer. Unlike seeds, bulbs can be potted directly outdoors in pots, flower beds and even window boxes. 

How to plant bulbs

  1. Fill a pot that has drainage with a multipurpose compost and make a hole to place the bulb in. Larger bulbs such as tulips and daffodils like to be potted around 6  inches deep whilst smaller bulbs can be potted around 4 inches deep. 
  2. Place your bulbs (pointed end up) at least a bulbs distance apart. 
  3. Cover with layer of compost so the shoots sit just below the surface
  4. Water after planting and keep hydrated when in growth.

Why not use our DeWit Bulb Planter to create planting holes for more uniform displays. Alternatively, we have wooden dibbers to measure hole depth which are great for small bulbs or seeds!

Bare Roots

Did you know certain outdoor plants can be grown from a root system? Bare roots are plants that have been grown and then dug up to enable planting during the dormant season. They follow a very similar planting method to bulbs. 

How to plant bare roots
  1. Soak the roots in water prior to planting.
  2. It's best to plant your bare roots into temporary pots in spring and grow them in a sheltered spot outdoors before planting them out into borders in late spring.
  3. Plant the roots so that they are fully submerged in the compost with the shoots just below the surface or any top growth exposed.
  4. Water after planting and keep hydrated when in growth.

Perfect Plants

Shrubs, flowers and even small trees - we have a little something special for every space, both large or small! Peruse our selection of outdoor plants online or at our St. Vincent Street shop. After something larger? Drop us an email with your request and we’ll see if we can get it in.

Terrific Tools

To aid your urban oasis, why not take a look at our wide range of urban gardening tools which include incredible brands such as Niwaki, Corona and Dewit?

We are pleased to introduce our brand-new range of gardening tools by Corona. Originally developed for the California citrus industry, Corona has become America’s leading tool innovator and we are thrilled to be able to offer it here in Edinburgh. They strive to meet the highest standards in utility, quality and craftsmanship to provide the very best in outdoor gardening tools.

Since opening our doors at 92 Grove Street, Niwaki has been our go to for indoor and outdoor tools. Their premium range of tools highlight the very best of Japanese design and craftsmanship in the form of pruning tools and even golden spades! Niwaki also offer care accessories including Camellia oil and sharpening stones to keep your tools looking brand new for years to come.

For over 115 years Dewit have developed a plethora of quality forged tools including weeding forks, trowels and their three tine bio cultivator to help aid garden transformations.

And there you have it - everything you need to know to start growing your very own urban oasis. Head to the outdoor section on our website for our full range of outdoor botanical goods!