Thursday, 9 April 2009
Sprouts and seed swapping
Everything is sprouting this week! Down on the allotment today, cauliflower and brussels newly through; tomatoes two leaves tall, celery tiny yellow tinted white worms, and black-eyed susan (Thunbergia) thrusting up like beans on the windowsill at home; and in the greenhouse, Victorian Purple Podded Peas showing their first leaves just a fortnight after planting.
I have some different varieties of seed to grow this year, a new initiative as until now I've been happy to buy whatever's available from local garden centres. Reading around, I'm persuaded that I could be doing more to preserve old varieties and promote diversity, even on my little plot.
I was particularly inspired by http://daughterofthesoil.blogspot.com/
who writes lovely reviews and photos of traditional varieties and makes saving and using one's own seeds seem very simple.
It seems there is a growing blogger seed swap network, and by following links from
http://www.patnsteph.net/weblog/ I found http://fuggles.wordpress.com/ which has lots about allotment gardening and a variety of seeds.
Generous Miss Fuggles sent me two varieties each of peas, dwarf beans, runners and tomatoes in exciting little origami packages. I hope I can return her kindness next year...
I've also purchased a stunning selection from the Real Seed Company www.realseeds.co.uk
They have a mix of unusual varieties as well as traditional favourites such as Parsnip Tender and True, which I recall my grandad growing! Despite a slightly reproving little message on the website about it being the busiest time of year, and to expect some delay in fulfilling my order, it arrived within five days a month ago - excellent service.
Finally, my friend Nick from Colliers Wood sent me some rocket seeds from his organic garden which I plan to plant out this weekend. So I'm really looking forward to some different flavours on our dinner table later this year.