Seed Swapping

In the days before my wonderful wife came onto the scene and introduced me to a greener lifestyle, I tended to be a little careless with my pennies. Continue reading “Seed Swapping”

The Seed Addiction

It’s December and excitement is in the air, people are a little friendlier and there are bargains to be had. Christmas? Bah, humbug! I’m talking about buying next year’s seeds!Thompson

Every December I have a clear-up of my remaining seeds. I keep some aside to plant the following year and any that are past their best go to the bird table. I also broaden my search at this time and think about new crops. But before I can buy these pods of pleasure, I head down to the Agents of Field vault, tap in the secret doorcode and enter our underground map room. It’s here I plan my allotment domination for next year. With a table-sized blueprint of our plot, I begin pushing around plastic models of vegetables, frantically working out my best course of action and considering the factors of crop rotation, wind exposure and microclimate. I’m merciless in my forward-planning.

Now I’ll be the first to admit, having taken on a second plot this year, our allotment is far too large for just two people. Despite all the veg I give to family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues, we still have too much and Soph can often be found curled foetally in the kitchen, rocking gently and talking to herself, fearing  which truck-load of vegetable I’ll bring home next time. ‘For the love of all that is horticulture, how much blanching can one person do in a lifetime?’

So I have promised Soph I will curb my vegetable addiction next year.. slightly. However, there are still new varieties I am trying. For example, ‘Musque de Provence’ and ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ squash, both purchased from Chiltern Seeds. Chiltern

If you are looking for fresh seeds, there are so many great deals and discounts to be found online right now from nurseries and seed suppliers. What you think might be a great deal on one website, turns out to be cheaper on another and they might throw in free delivery, so it pays to shop around. There are deals everywhere from Suttons Seeds, Thompson & Morgan and Chiltern Seeds to name but a few.

I also purchase from individual suppliers on Ebay as not only does this help smaller businesses, but you get that personal touch. sutton seed

For me, there is something utterly thrilling about packets of new seeds, those little rattling parcels of joy hold all our growing hopes and horticulture dreams; to grow the biggest turnip, the sweetest of sweetcorn and the plumpest of strawberries..

It’s what keeps us gardeners awake at night. AdeSignature

Servant of Two Masters

As I sit-down and gather my notes, exhausted but full of excitement from another horticulture-filled weekend, my optimism is quickly dampened as I discover technology has failed me. The photo memory card reader that has downloaded all my treasured memories over the years has finally fried its circuits and shuffled off this mortal coil, leaving behind a camera full of a weekend’s hard work, both from the plot and  in my back garden.. I’m truly a servant of two masters.

I wanted to show you the two types of onion sets, ‘Red Baron’ and ‘Hylander’, I have planted on the plot,  in a new bed, with the tops of their heads just popping through the freshly cultivated soil.  If I say so myself it was a job well done. Hidden under mesh to avoid the prying eyes of those distruptive pigeons, I’m hoping to repeat last year’s success.  However, this year I have planted them closer together so that we get a larger crop of smaller onions, rather than the beasts we harvested last year.

The mangetout seems to be thriving and my early peas are just piercing through the soil with their green tendrils. In the polytunnel the ‘Little Gem’ lettuce and pak choi have already germinated. With time to spare, I took to sowing a tray of ‘Chioggia’ Beetroot and brought my leek seedlings up to the polytunnel.

Today was spent with my other mistress, the back garden, as I hurriedly sowed Larkspur and Gaura lindheimeri ‘Summer Breeze’. I reassured this faithful lady that I would spend more time with her. To prove my pledge, I pricked out my Cosmos ‘Purity’, planted the strawberries and potted on a collection of herbs. This year I want to attempt a little more garden design in regards to colour schemes. I keep most of the fruit here from cherries to plums to gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. I had hoped to show you the bare root strawberry plants I have planted in both hanging baskets and in buckets and troughs throughout the garden. They’re a ‘heritage’ collection consisting of ‘Cambridge Favourite’, ‘Royal Sovereign’ and ‘Red Gauntlet’. There was also a cheeky snap of our thriving rhubarb, but alas I ask for your forgiveness due to my memory card meltdown, and leave the images to your imagination.

To finish the weekend off, Soph kindly brought me out a cup of tea and a slice of pumpkin and ginger teacake she had made, which was truly scrumptious. Working in the back garden sure has it benefits! With tea in hand (the cake was quickly wolfed down), I looked at all my hard work and had the strangest of thoughts. We spend so much time looking down at these marvellous seeds, as they hold all our horticulture hopes for the season. But what’s their point of view? Lying their on their warming compost bed, are they hopeful, anxious or just content to be the gardener’s centre of attention? I wonder what they see? 1

Ahh, now we know. AdeSignature