Monthly Archives: February 2007

First Seeds Sown!

It’s been pretty wet and unpleasant since, well, the New Year almost – and because of my general lack of organisation (i.e. I didn’t do anything during autumn!) I’ve got lots of digging and ground-clearing that I really need to do. It’s a bit frustrating because if it could only be dry for a few days in a row I’d be able to get out and at least finish clearing the space I’ve got mentally marked out for the potatoes.

Which reminds me, really must buy some seed potatoes soon!

Anyway, the main reason for this post is that despite the generally lousy weather I managed to at least get some of the early seeds into seed trays – the red onions are the first ones to go in, and sometime probably next week the early savoy will also need to be sown.

So anyway, a short post but something to celebrate – 2007’s crops are on their way (assuming any of the seeds actually germinate!)

Hunting for Seeds

My original plan this year was to do plenty of research about the exact varieties I wanted to grow, and then turn to the Internet. Too often in previous years I’ve gone to the garden centre with a specific variety in mind only to find that it’s not available and I have to choose between the 2 or 3 varieties they do have.

With that in mind, I’d examined my Group 1 list and come to the conclusion (because my book mentioned them!) that Dickson was a fun-sounding sweetcorn. So, to the internet!

Ah. Seems that nobody on the planet actually sells this stuff (I’m beginning to suspect that the author of my book just put them in there to annoy me) so I’ll fall back to the garden centre route – admittedly that was partly because I like wandering around garden centres and this seemed like an excellent excuse.

So, we headed off this week to have a nose around and successfully found some ‘Lark F1’ sweetcorn, which is often mentioned as “incredibly sweet” so that will keep the wife happy (I don’t actually like to eat sweetcorn, but I love growing it and my wife loves to eat it).

Of course, it’s not possible to only buy one thing in a garden centre so we somehow also ended up with some red onion seeds – I’d half-heartedly considered growing some onions anyway, but I’d left it out of the list for some reason. Still, I was persuaded to give them a go so we’ll see how it goes – they shouldn’t take up too much space so it shouldn’t cause a problem.

And, err, some more savoy. No, I don’t quite know how that happened. This time it’s a summer maturing variety, Estoril F1 – what I think I’m going to try, therefore, is to get them in really early and plant our old savoy a little late, and squeeze two crops out of the same space. Not entirely convinced the timings work according to the seed packets but I reckon that something will grow…!

2007 Crop Selection – Part 1

So, now is the time when we have to start planning what to grow this year. Now every year I draw up a big list, only to only grow half of it because either I don’t get around to buying the seeds, or planting them, or simply clearing the ground – I’m far too optimistic about my progress on that front!

So, this time around Ive split my plans into 3; the first group are definites, and I’ve the space to grow them right now. The second are probables, and assuming I manage to complete the clearing that I’m (conservatively) hoping to, will fit nicely.

The last group are ‘nice to have’ crops; I hope to get to them but it’s dependent on me doing a reasonable amount of work so it might not come off!

Group 1

  • Leeks (Musselburgh) – we still have seeds left over from last year and they were delicious; this time I’ll take better care of them!
  • Savoy (Ormskirk) – again, left over from last year.
  • Sweetcorn (a supersweet variety TBD) – always pleasing to grow!

Yes, I know I said that I’d never grow Savoy again, but my wife is determined! This year I’ll do a couple of things different – first I’ll protect them a little better from the birds at the start, and secondly I’m going to look into some sort of ‘companion planting’ to address the butterfly problems…

Group 2

  • Courgette (Golden Zucchinni or Gold Rush) – I’ve never grown them but I’m told their easy and tasty!
  • Garlic – I’ll try it again this year, but in a slightly more controlled manner so I don’t lose them like I did last year
  • Potatoes (Majestic?) – not too decided on the variety yet, hopefully we can find something unusual to try

As I said, I know where these will all go, even if the ground is currently occupied by weeds and bushes!

Group 3

  • Carrots (intermediate root) – something sweet and tasty
  • Lettuce (Sherwood) – we happen to have an old packet of seeds lurking, although I don’t know if they’re till viable
  • Tomatoes – from seed. I’ve not done it before, and I’m always frustrated buying tomato plants because I go in with a specific variety in mind, only to find they don’t have any real choice

So that’s the first step done; the next step is to figure out where we get the seeds from, and to pin down the precise varieties we’ll go for!