Now is the best time to order your seeds, plants and sundry items for the coming growing season. I try to take advantage of whatever discounts are on offer and it’s worth checking what seed company your local gardening club / Horticultural Society is affiliated to as they tend to receive large discounts.
For example my local village club is linked to Dobies and with our online code I received just over 50% off my seed order (also 10% off plants/sundries) which is a great saving. I’m also a member of the National Vegetable Society which is linked to Marshalls who offer a straight 10% off orders over £30.
I had plenty of seeds left over from last season which are still viable so only needed to stock up on a few such as leeks and squash. I’ve bought some strawberry plants and a few extra raspberry canes – Marshalls added 5 free strawberry plants as I had just over £20 of soft fruit and with a few sundry items I received the 10% discount for an over £30 spend. I know these offers are there to tempt you in but if you were going to buy the items anyway it’s worth shopping around.
One final recommendation at this time of year is to visit a local potato day if you can. They are a great place to buy cheap seed potatoes – all of which can be bought as singles or in packs so you can try out different varieties very cheaply. Plus they have lots of veg growing related stalls – my local Potato Day is the Hampshire one based at Whitchurch, well worth a visit.
It’s that time of year when we’re making plans for next years veg plot. A time to try new varieties or return to old favourites. I have loads of seeds already that I can sow again next year and some I have collected from this years plants. But I still can’t resist a few new purchases. Here’s my list for 2011:
Aubergine Bonica F1 (30 seeds / £1.90) – I grew my first aubergine plant this year which made a great moussaka, so more of the same next year.
Dwarf French Bean Borlotto Firetongue (100 seeds / £1.80) – great colour, a fiery red, not grown before.
Dwarf French Bean Purple Teepee (150 seeds / £1.75) – ditto, deep purple.
Runner / French Bean cross Moonlight (35 seeds / £2.95) – white flowered self pollinating which should mean a better crop in our unreliable summers.
Beetroot Burpee’s Golden (225 seeds / £1.95) – I love beetroot and want to try a golden variety.
Brussel Sprout Bedford (450 seeds / £1.10)
Celery Loretta (350 seeds / £1.95) – grew celery for the first time this year, this is a self blanching variety so no need to dig any trenches.
Cucumber Carmen F1 (5 seeds / £3.95) – expensive but I only grow 2 plants each year. All-female variety which I’ve grown before, heavy cropper, and the girls can eat skin on which is the main reason I’ve decided to grow it again.
Parsnip Exhibition (600 seeds / £1.10) – grew well this year.
Pea Oregon Sugar Pod (260 seeds / £2.15) – mangetout, first time I’ve tried to grow any pea/mangetout.
Sweetcorn Earlybird F1 (35 seeds / £1.75) – I grew sweetcorn for the first time this year and loved the taste of freshly picked cobs.
Rocket Runway (450 seeds / £1.60)
Swede Invitation (1300 seeds / £1.50)
Tomato Golden Peardrop (20 seeds / £1.50) – I’ve not grown a yellow variety before.
Tomato Faworyt (40 seeds / £1.45) – beefsteak variety
Potatoes – Lady Christl, Kestrel, Desiree, Maris Piper and Charlotte (1kg each).
There’s £30 of seeds there and the spuds will set me back £14.95. But by ordering through my local Horticultural Society, who use Dobies, I should get 50% of the seeds and 10% off the spuds which is a fantastic deal!
But you know what they say about the best laid plans……….I just need to find the room to plant them all!!
Are you planning to grow anything new next year?
In previous years I’ve just grown veg, now I’m embracing the dark side and having a go at growing flowers. It’s a pretty miserable day here and I’ve been left alone to look after the girls. Rach is off at a local NCT sale helping out and trying to make some spending money for our holiday.
So in between nursery rhymes, painting, stories etc I thought I’d sow some flower seeds. I moved the operation indoors and the dining table became a temporary sowing area. I’ve recently received some seeds from Maureen which was amazing and a very kind offer. She has collected them from her garden, something which I need to learn to do this year! And put a little note on each packet to help me. There’s a whole host of them, some I’ve never heard of, so it’s exciting to learn more about them and to see their progress. Here’s the list:
Mixed Sweet Peas
Red Orach – hardy vegetable like spinach and deep red leaves mean it can be used as an ornamental border plant.
Sweet William – to be sown direct outside
Cenrinthe Major pururascens
Nasturtium tom thumb mixed
California Poppy ‘Golden Values’
Pumpkin Rouge Vif d’Etamps
Tomato Gardener’s Delight
I’ve sown all but the Poppies and Sweet William in a mixture of trays and pots filled 3/4 full with moist multi-purpose and topped with seed compost. After sowing I’ve covered the larger seeds with a thin layer of seed compost and the smaller ones with just a sprinkling of vermiculite. Then into the sink to soak up some water and then onto the windowsill. Job done!
Most of the seeds sown so far are up and well away with the first true leaves on the cauliflower, calabrese, onions, sunflowers and lettuce. I have some peppers and chilli seedlings coming on and waiting for the courgette and squash to germinate. I’m really pleased that all 3 cucumber seeds I’ve sown have come up as the seed I use, Dobies Carmen F1, is quite expensive at £3.75 for 6-8 seeds (although I do get 50% discount on that price ordering through my local Horticultural Society). If they survive the pack of seeds has latest me two seasons and I will manage to give one plant away each year as I only need two plants in the greenhouse to be self-sufficient in cucumbers from May-October (and we eat a lot of cucumber!). So all in all good value.
A week to go to our local Spring Show and my daffs are nearly there.
I’ve never entered, or even been to, the Spring Show before so have no idea what I’m doing other than what’s on the schedule. I was hoping to enter some of the flowers I planted as bulbs back in the Autumn. There’s a dozen daffodil classes of various sizes and types, a couple of tulip classes (no chance for me as mine are only 3″ out of the ground), flowering shrub, primula and a few other classes such as collection of spring bulb, mixed vase of cut spring flowers etc. Then there are handicraft, homecraft, photography, art, flower arranging and junior sections. We’ll see how it goes, I need to get my entry form in a couple of days beforehand so I will wait and see what I’ve got in the middle of next week.
Here’s the Plot Defender aka “Polo”, my dog, a rescue Staffie cross. He hasn’t featured on this blog before. He likes sticks and proving how destructible so called indestructible toys are (I used to have a Staffie as a kid, Grip, full pedigree name, Grip ‘The Dandy’ III – he used to chew up a car tyre in a few weeks!). Polo’s dislikes are cats and pigeons so he makes a great defender of my patch of earth.
Whilst I’ve been typing Chloe has been busy practising being the next Jackson Pollack!
Posted in General Gardening
Tagged calabrese, cauliflower, Cerinthe, Chillies, compost, Courgette, Cucumber, daffodils, dahlia, Dobies, Horticultural Society, Lettuce, Marigolds, Nasturtium, Onions, Poppy, primula, Pumpkin, Red Orach, Spring Show, Summer Squash, sunflowers, Sweet Peppers, Sweet William, sweetpeas, Tomatoes, tulips, vermiculite
At last after all the snow the first sign of spring, a box from Dobies waiting on the doorstep. One job for the weekend, the onion seeds can be sown in the greenhouse, can’t wait to get started!
What a miserable week, downpour after downpour. Not much that can be done on the plot in this weather but I’m still harvesting the winter veg, some brussels, cabbage, swede and kale. Apart from booking next year’s holiday (Brittany) sanctuary can be sought in ordering seeds for next year. You can get great discounts on seeds if you are a member of your local Horticultural Society or Allotment Association, last year my local society achieved a 50% discount on the catalogue price. I have plenty of seeds in store and most should be good for next year, but I always need to replenish the stocks and it’s the time of year when you can start planning how the plot will look and reflect on what went well this year and what you will do differently next. Our society uses Dobies who have a great selection of seeds and plug plants to choose from. Other good options are Thompson & Morgan, Suttons and Mr Fothergills. So get cracking and get your order in!