Grow Wild FAQs

Wildflowers

Why UK native wildflowers?

Answer

In the UK we’re lucky enough to have some amazing wildflowers, but we’re in danger of losing them as their natural habitats disappear. This means less colour in our lives, less shelter for wildlife and less food for butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

Wildflowers are perfect for spaces where the soil may not be in the best shape. They’re also easier to grow than many other plants and flowers, so are an excellent way to introduce people who may never have sown seeds before to the joys of growing.

This is why we are using wildflowers to Grow Wild. Find out more about why wildflowers matter.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Can I have some free wildflower seeds, please?

Answer

Our Autumn 2019 wildflower campaign is currently live, for which there is a chance of receiving a free packet of seeds. Find out more here.

If you would like to source UK native wildflower seeds yourself, we have guidance on how to get wildflower seeds.

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Wildflowers

What wildflower seeds are in the packets you're giving out?

Answer

Our kits contain UK native wildflower seeds, which are sourced from the relevant country - England for England, Scotland for Scotland etc.

You can see the seeds that are included in our 2019 kits, by country, on this page.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

How does Grow Wild decide who gets a seed packet?

Answer

For our Autumn wildflower campaign, we are aiming to reach people that know little about UK native wildflowers as well as young people and people from disadvantaged areas. You can find out more in the campaign Terms & Conditions. Seed packets are also allocated across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in proportion to population size.

If you sign up early you will also be in with a better chance, so sign up now!

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Wildflowers

Where do the seeds come from?

Answer

The seeds have native provenance, which means they were grown by specialist growers in the country where they’ll be given out and grown. 

Naturescape Wildflowers supply the seeds for England and Wales; Scotia Seeds supply the Scottish seeds and EcoSeeds supply the mix for Northern Ireland. 

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Can I have some seeds from another country? We’re in England, but are Scottish, so would like Scottish seed.

Answer

Native plants have adapted over many generations to thrive in their local natural environment.

Sourcing seed from different parts of the UK helps ensure our mixes are well-adapted and able to thrive in the different growing conditions in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It can help reduce the risk that plants from distant parts of the UK will ‘escape’ to areas they would not normally be found, or hybridise (that is, cross-breed) with local wild populations. This is why we also ask that our seed is not sown in or near natural areas.

We are also keen to work with specialist producers across the country, benefitting from their local experience and supporting the development of a diverse native seed industry.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

What do you mean by ‘Do not use in open countryside or nature conservation areas’?

Answer

Natural areas, usually the open countryside, are ones where wild plants and flowers are already established, particularly nature reserves or other areas where rare, species-rich habitats have been identified and protected.

These intricate and distinctive communities of plants and animals may be damaged by the addition of plants from elsewhere, and should be cherished as they are.

Grow Wild seeds are intended to bring the colour, beauty and wildlife habitats we gain from UK native wildflowers to the human environment: the gardens, streets and shared spaces that make up our towns and cities.

Here comes the science bit…

Grow Wild seeds contain a mix of common UK native and ‘archeophyte’ species. Native species are those that came here without human assistance, with most arriving between the end of the last ice age and the flooding of the English Channel 8,000 years ago. Archeophytes - ‘ancient plants’ - were brought here by humans, often introduced and finding a home amongst our crops. Poppies and cornflowers are examples, and have been part of the farmed landscape here for centuries.

If you already have wild plants growing naturally in your space, pass the seeds from these flowers to someone who is not so lucky, rather than sowing Grow Wild seeds here.

Find out how to collect and store wildflower seeds with Hannah Grows.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

When is the best time to sow wildflower seeds?

Answer

We recommend a fine Spring day, when your soil is neither too wet nor dry - preferably before mid-May. Read our guidance on how to sow wildflower seeds.

But if you miss the boat in Spring, all is not lost. You can sow them in Autumn and they will get a head start for the next year. Read our guidance on how to sow wildflower seeds in Autumn.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

What soil preparation will I need to do before sowing seeds?

Answer

Your seeds will thrive best in soil you’ve prepared well - dig it over and remove all plants and weeds that will compete with your seeds. Use our tips on assessing your soil.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

I don’t have a garden; can I sow wildflower seeds in a window box?

Answer

Yes, absolutely. Window boxes can make great homes for wildflowers. It’s easy to keep an eye on them and they look brilliant and brighten up your home when they flower.

However, wildflowers will do better in a bigger container with more space to grow. Read our guidance on how to sow wildflowers in containers.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Can we grow wildflower seeds indoors?

Answer

Wildflowers do best outdoors, where they can be accessed by bees and insects and other pollinators. We also really want you to use your wildflowers to transform a space that lots of people can see and enjoy.

Remember, you can grow wildflowers in containers as well as in open soil. Read our guidance on sowing in containers.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Can I save wildflower seeds for later use?

Answer

Yes, store them in a cool, dark place.

The best time to sow seeds is Spring or Autumn, and you are more likely to be successful if you follow our top tips on sowing seeds.

Grow Wild’s seed have a high viability but bear in mind that this will dip slightly if you save them beyond the year you received them.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

How long can I store wildflower seeds for?

Answer

There is no hard and fast rule about how long you can store seeds for, but the longer they are kept the less likely they are to grow. If you are not yet ready to sow your seeds, keep them in a cool dry place.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

I didn’t get any Grow Wild seeds, can I still get involved?

Answer

Of course you can! We have guidance available on how to get wildflower seeds, if you do still want to try growing them.

You can also enjoy wildflowers themselves, taking photos and sharing them on social media (don't forget to tag @GrowWildUK).

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

I have corncockle growing in my garden - should I dig it up?

Answer

Our advice is that corncockle does not need to be removed from your garden. As Guy Barter, the Chief Horticultural Advisor to the RHS says above:

"Merely touching this plant is a very low risk indeed. Like other potentially harmful garden plants, the actual risk of harm is extremely small as a considerable amount of a very acrid (bitter) plant would have to be consumed to cause ill-effect.

"The usual sensible garden precautions should be followed; refrain from eating any plant not known to be edible, wash hands after working in the garden and before eating or touching lips and eyes, and see that pets and children who cannot be entirely trusted not to consume vegetation are supervised. If these simple precautions are followed there is no reason not to grow this plant."

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Is corncockle dangerous?

Answer

Professor Monique Simmonds, Director of the Kew Innovation Unit says:

"This plant, like many we have in our gardens, does contain compounds that can be toxic if eaten in large amounts or eaten frequently over a period of time. The toxic compounds are in higher concentrations in the seeds, which are hard and very bitter. If eaten by a child, the child would most likely be sick or complain of a stomach ache. There is no evidence that eating a few seeds would cause acute toxicity. In the past, problems associated with toxicity occurred in Europe when flour contaminated by corncockle seeds were consumed in bread, and this contaminated bread was eaten over a period of time. The fact that there are very few reports about any form of toxicity to humans in other parts of Europe where the plants are more common indicates that although toxic, the plant is not considered a high risk."

Guy Barter, the Chief Horticultural Advisor to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says:

"Like many garden plants, corncockle (officially called Agrostemma Githago) is potentially harmful especially if consumed. Merely touching this plant is a very low risk indeed. We know of no instances of harm occurring from this plant in gardens, but in historical times cases of poisoning occurred from consuming contaminated bread. Modern agricultural practices have eliminated it from farm crops.

"Like other potentially harmful garden plants, the actual risk of harm is extremely small as a considerable amount of a very acrid (bitter) plant would have to be consumed to cause ill-effect. The usual sensible garden precautions should be followed; refrain from eating any plant not known to be edible, wash hands after working in the garden and before eating or touching lips and eyes, and see that pets and children who cannot be entirely trusted not to consume vegetation are supervised. If these simple precautions are followed there is no reason not to grow this plant.

"Corncockle is a very rare wildflower, but contrary to recent reports has never actually become extinct in Britain, merely hanging on in a very few isolated pockets. Cultivated seed of this plant has been widely sold as a ‘wildflower’ and consequently is not uncommon in gardens. It is a cornfield annual, so it can only grow on disturbed ground. Therefore, it generally has to be sown afresh each year or the ground disturbed to produce its preferred conditions where seed is already present in the soil."

Grow Wild seed mixes contain a variety of UK native wildflowers, including corncockle, but should not be considered high risk.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

I applied for a seed kit – when will I receive it?

Answer

We are not currently giving away wildflower seed kits.

However, there is a chance of receiving a free packet of seeds as part of our Autumn 2019 wildflower campaign. Find out more here.

If you applied for a seed kit in early 2019 and it never arrived then we are very sorry, as we no longer have any seed kits available.

F.A.Q. Category

Wildflowers

Fungi

Why UK native fungi?

Answer

Fungi are crucial to life on earth. And yet they are not well understood - it is estimated that as many as 90% of fungal species are still yet to be discovered!

At Grow Wild we want to help raise awareness and understanding of fungi, and from this hopefully inspire the next generation of mycologists (fungi experts). Find out why fungi matter.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Why shouldn’t I pick mushrooms in the wild?

Answer

We discourage people from picking mushrooms in the wild because many species look alike, and distinguishing species is difficult even for experts. Harvesting such species could also, possibly, harm natural fungi and wildflower populations.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

What is a fungus lab?

Answer

Fungus labs are what we are calling our "fungus kits", these are self-contained boxes with straw, fungal mycelium and a few extra bits to help you grow and nurture your own fungus.

Our fungus labs are designed to introduce people to the fungi kingdom, which is crucial to life on earth. The idea is that a team of people, learn and work together to create the conditions for the fungus to fruit an produce mushrooms.

We have now run out of fungus labs for 2019. If you would like to try growing fungi, or mushrooms in a kit, read our guidance on how to grow fungi.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

My fungus lab didn’t work – can I have another one?

Answer

We have now run out of fungus labs for 2019.

If you would like to try growing fungi, or mushrooms in a kit, read our guidance on how to grow fungi.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Where can I buy a fungus lab?

Answer

Our Grow Wild Fungus Labs are not available to buy. However if you are interested in cultivating fungi or growing mushrooms from a kit, you can find out more here.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

How does Grow Wild decide who gets a fungus lab?

Answer

Successful fungus lab teams are determined by the extent to which they will meet Grow Wild's aims to engage as many people as possible in learning about the fungi kingdom, this is why we are encouraging 'teams' to grow their fungus together. We are also allocating labs to try and reach as many of Grow Wild's target beneficiary audience as possible: children aged 5-11 years old, young people aged 12-25, adults disengaged from nature, and disadvantaged adults (living in or near an area within the top 30% of the national Indices of Multiple Deprivation).

Fungus labs are also allocated across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in proportion to population size.

You can find out more in the Terms & Conditions for Fungus Labs.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Why isn’t there a spray bottle?

Answer

We are trying to reduce our use of plastic, so have provided just the spray nozzle - this can be either attached to the right size bottle or simply propped inside a cup filled with water.

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Fungi

How long can I keep the fungal mycelium before use?

Answer

If not using straight away, you can leave your fungal mycelium inside the packet in the fridge for up to three weeks.

 

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

The mycelium in different packets look different, will it affect its growing?

Answer

The brown bits in the packet are organic wheat grain, which are used as a carrier for the microscopic fungal mycelium. The grain also helps to feed it until transferred to the straw, which is a much richer source of nutrients.

This mycelium, or spawn, is essentially mould. However, the white fluff isn't mouldy, promise! In this packet is a living breathing fungus and as it breathes it heats up, like we do. There is a small risk your mycelium may have got too hot on its journey to you. If there is a green tinge to your white fluff, get in touch and we will try to help.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Is my mycelium mouldy?

Answer

two plastic packets with brown grain inside covered in white fluffThe brown bits in the packet are organic wheat grain, which are used as a carrier for the microscopic fungal mycelium. The grain also helps to feed it until transferred to the straw, which is a much richer source of nutrients.

This mycelium, or spawn, is essentially mould. However, the white fluff isn't mouldy, promise! In this packet is a living breathing fungus and as it breathes it heats up, like we do. There is a small risk your mycelium may have got too hot on its journey to you. If there is a green tinge to your white fluff, get in touch and we will try to help.

Remember: your Fridge Monitor in Chief will need to put the packet in the fridge (or other cold place) until it is ready to be dispersed in the pasteurised straw!

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

What is the white patch on the bag?

Answer

The patch is a breathable membrane which allows gas/air exchange. The patch allows the fungus to get fresh air while preventing contaminants like mould and bacteria from getting in.

You will need to make sure it's at the top of the bag, once you have dispersed the mycelium through the pasteurised straw.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

The bag split when I poured in the water, what do we do?

Answer

Don't worry, it will be ok!

We would suggest keeping the straw in the bag – continue to follow the instructions – but if you can use tape to seal the hole before putting the straw and mycelium mix in the kit box that will help keep it moist. There is also the risk that your mushrooms may grow out of the split rather than the slit you make later in the process.

It is better to keep it in this bag, rather than transfer into another bag, as it has the breathable patch at the top.   

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

My straw looks mouldy – what should I do?

Answer

The fungal mycelium is white. This isn’t mould. This is the root of the fungus and should grow and cover all of the straw.

However if you can see areas of blue, green or black, this could be mould. A little bit of mould shouldn’t be harmful to the growth of your fungus, but if there is a lot of mould, unfortunately, this means your fungus will likely not grow.  The ideal temperature for your fungus kit while the mycelium grows is 18 – 25°c – if you think you can see mould becoming a problem, try moving your kit to an area with a more suitable temperature.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

I have asthma – are the fungi safe?

Answer

Yes. Our fungus is a specially cultivated sporeless strain of Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). Unlike the wild variety that produce spores, which can be potentially hazardous for people with asthma, the oyster mushrooms you’ll grow in your lab can’t produce any spores.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

I have flies in my fungus lab, what should I do?

Answer

The mushroom fly or Phorid is a big problem in the mushroom industry. The flies are attracted by the smell of the growing mycelium. They are tiny and can fit into the smallest hole, so they can get into the kit through the neck of the bag. The bag is not intended to be airtight, so there is always the risk when using our kit.

The flies are not known to be a health hazard to humans: neither the adults nor the larvae have been found to carry any human or animal disease-causing organisms. However, if you have flies in your kit or on your mushrooms you should dispose of the flies as soon as possible. 

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

I can see mushrooms growing before putting my straw in the fridge – what should I do?

Answer

If your mushrooms are starting to grow early just cut the plastic open to give them room and oxygen to grow. Spray with water twice a day to keep them moist. They should continue growing.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

How much water does my fungus need?

Answer

Your fungal mycelium needs moisture to grow. After the fungal mycelium has come out of the fridge and you’ve cut the plastic open, spray twice a day with at least five sprays from the bottle provided in your kit.

The straw should feel damp to the touch, but there shouldn’t be any water pooling up or gathering in large quantity at the bottom of the bag. If your straw looks too wet, just skip a couple of days watering.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

How long will my mushrooms take to grow?

Answer

That really depends on the growing conditions you create! Sometimes, particular if the weather is warm, mushrooms may appear before even the fridge stage. Sometimes, even after the fridge stage, if your fungus is too dry it can take several weeks for mushroms to appear. 

When they’ve appeared, they’ll grow quickly, so keep a lookout; once the mushrooms begin to grow, they’ll be ready to harvest and eat within a couple of days. Don’t wait too long as they’ll be past their best quickly too. Don’t eat the mushrooms if they’ve started to shrivel and dry up.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

When can I eat my mushrooms?

Answer

You can eat your oyster mushrooms as the top is flattening out – this is when they’re at their very best, but don’t worry, they’re safe to eat before then too.

Be quick though! The mushrooms will grow quickly and pass their best quickly too. Don’t eat them once they have started to dry up and shrivel.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Is the fungal mycelium growing in my fungus lab safe?

Answer

Yes. The fungal mycelium is completely safe. The white areas that you can see spreading over the straw are the fungal mycelium, this is like the root of the fungus. They spread out in search of water and nutrients that help them to grow. 

Only the oyster mushrooms can be eaten.

F.A.Q. Category

Fungi

Funding

How many projects are Grow Wild funding this year?

Answer

Grow Wild will fund 50 community groups and 50 youth projects in 2019 across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are aiming for a good spread across each of these four countries.

Applications have now closed for funding and you can see which community projects we are funding here.

F.A.Q. Category

Funding

When will I find out if I have been successful?

Answer

If you have been successful, you will be notified by Friday 23 February 2018.

Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by Tuesday 27th February 2018.

Unsuccessful applicants will be able to request feedback on their applications. Your relevant Engagement Manager will set aside a date for this, likely during March 2018. 

F.A.Q. Category

Funding

If successful, what is the time scale for delivering my project?

Answer

Projects will begin delivery in March 2019 and will be required to finish by October 2019.

You will be expected to have accounted for all project spend by the end of this period.

F.A.Q. Category

Funding

What support is available if my group or organisation is successful?

Answer

Your local Grow Wild Engagement Manager is there to help throughout the duration of the project

You will be given assets to help you promote your project locally, including a profile page on our website and opportunities to share your stories across our network and in the media.

If you have identified a mentor to work with the project in your application form, Grow Wild will provide them with training to enable them to offer a wide range of support. Depending on your project’s location, there may be support from other Grow Wild mentors, who are available to share a variety of useful skills and experience.

F.A.Q. Category

Funding

Other

Can I visit Grow Wild’s Community Projects?

Answer

Absolutely! You can zoom into the areas on our project map to find one near you.

Not all of our projects are open all the time, so you may need to get in touch to find out when you can visit. We also have a range of "recommended sites", these are places around the country that are free to visit and celebrate wildflowers and fungi.

F.A.Q. Category

Other

What do you mean by 'natural areas'?

Answer

Natural areas, usually the open countryside, are ones where wild plants and flowers are already established, particularly nature reserves or other areas where rare, species-rich habitats have been identified and protected.

These intricate and distinctive communities of plants and animals may be damaged by the addition of plants from elsewhere, and should be cherished as they are.

Grow Wild seeds are intended to bring the colour, beauty and wildlife habitats we gain from UK native wildflowers to the human environment: the gardens, streets and shared spaces that make up our towns and cities.

Here comes the science bit…

Grow Wild seeds contain a mix of common UK native and ‘archeophyte’ species. Native species are those that came here without human assistance, with most arriving between the end of the last ice age and the flooding of the English Channel 8,000 years ago. Archeophytes - ‘ancient plants’ - were brought here by humans, often introduced and finding a home amongst our crops. Poppies and cornflowers are examples, and have been part of the farmed landscape here for centuries.

If you already have wild plants growing naturally in your space, pass the seeds from these flowers to someone who is not so lucky, rather than sowing Grow Wild seeds here.

Find out how to collect and store wildflower seeds with Hannah Grows.

F.A.Q. Category

Other

How does growing wildflowers help insects and animals?

Answer

Native wildflowers are fantastic for our native wildlife. This is because they have evolved alongside each other and are well suited to each others’ needs.

Wildflowers provide food in the form of nectar, pollen, seeds, fruits and foliage, for pollinating insects, or ‘pollinators’.

Pollinators are insects or animals that move pollen from one flower to another as part of the plant reproduction process. This is a vital job that helps continue the life cycle of plants and crops. In fact, approximately one in three mouthfuls of food and drink require pollination

Wildflowers also provide nesting sites, larval food, forage and shelter for wildlife.

F.A.Q. Category

Other

I have some old seeds from Grow Wild, can I still use them?

Answer

Yes, but store them in a cool, dark place.

The best time to sow seeds is Spring or Autumn, and you are more likely to be successful if you follow our top tips on sowing seeds.

Grow Wild’s seed have a high viability but bear in mind that this will dip slightly if you save them beyond the year you received them.

F.A.Q. Category

Other

How else can I get involved with Grow Wild?

Answer

There are many ways to become a Grow Wilder!

Currently you can sign up to learn more about wildflowers this Autumn (and you could get a free seed packet).

If you have wildflower seeds – either ones you have bought or ones you have been given – and would like to grow them, then use our guidance to help and share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #GrowWild.

We have Community Projects and recommended sites that you could visit.

There is also a newsletter that you can sign up for, to keep up to date with all the news and updates from Grow Wild across the country.

Or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Other