Friday, 30 December 2011

It's started.....

It's started - the next growing season

It's always nice to get the first batch of seed off to a flying start; I am quite tough with mine. These are tomatoes at the back, lettuce on the right hand - front and onions in the others. The toms will be grown on indoors until I work out which one is the best to try and get me early toms [these are all earlyish varieties], the lettuce and onions will go straight outside into the unheated greenhouse once they are an inch tall.

First sowings from the 2011 Seed Circle

Ok, so first to go in were the Babington Leeks and the Egyptian Walking Onions. They have been sown in a try with some garlic inbetween; not much to see yet but photos of starts are always as good as photos of the finished crops!


Sunday, 25 December 2011

2012 Tomato Seed Listing...

My lovely friend suggested that we go to an open day 2 hours from home, to get tomato seedlings in March and I've said that I probably won't need any - so I thought I'd list my tomato seed stash to see whether I do indeed need a trip out...

There's those from the 2011 A4A Seed Circle [22]:
Alpatieva 905A
Beijing Yellow
Delhi
Demidov
Dwarf Mr Snow  
Early Tanana
Eli
Green Bell Pepper
He-man rootstock,
Koralik 
Korol Rannikh  
Latah
Michael Pollan
Monkeys Ass
Plumpton King
Prairie Fire 
Yellow Out Red In
Red Pear
Slovienian Black
Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf
T.C. Jones 
Vova Yellow 

Recent aquisitions [3]:
Imur Prior Beta
Christel's Plum
Sweet Pea Currant

Bush tomatoes from Jeannine in Canada [12]
Homesweet
Kootenai
Pendula Orange
Moskovitch
Oregon Spring
Rutgers
Early Girl Bush
Chico III
Celebrity Bush
Beaver Lode Slicer
Alaska
Sasha's Pride

Bush tomatoes given to me last year by a chum [4]
Scotia
Maja
Rambling Gold
Silver Fir Tree 

Others for my bush tomato project [10]
Texan Wild Tomato
Maskotka
Togi Bush [original]
Togi Bush [self saved, so the next generation]
Koralik [different year from the ones above]
Red Cluster Pear - centiflor type
Dwarf Wax
Lime green salad
Latah [again from different stock from above]
Aurora [earliest I've ever had toms, red on 2nd June]

And Vines [68]
Auntie Madge 
Minabel
Atkins Stuffing
Black Plum
Bloody Butcher
Marmande
Jan's Cherry
Galina
Fablonelistnuj [?]
Roma 
Costoluto Florentino
Speckled Russian Plum [not named, just they looked like this on the packet]
Silach
Blue OSU
Mortgage Lifter
Nepal
Snow White
Golden Sunrise
Principe Borghese
Piccolo
Black Truffle 
Polish Linguison
Red Zebra
Mexican Honey
German Lunchbox [no sniggering please]
Goldkrone
Kenilworth King George
GReen Velvet
Giant Plum
Bruds Blackheart
Depp's Pink Firefly
Purple Cherokee
Cuore Di Bue
Millefleur
De Colgar
Falcon
Purple Ukraine
Amish Paste
Gardener's Delight
Southern Nights
Yellow Perfection [get in, these are fabulous]
Purple Russian [honestly, these are amazing]
Togi Vine
White Oxheart
Grushovka
Chiapis Wild
Spanish Big Globe
Smadar
Togi [the previous generation to the above self saved ones]
Riesentraube
Burpees Delicious
Red Pear [From Brooklyn]
Yellow Pear [from Brooklyn]
Abraham Lincoln
Darby Striped Pink/Yellow
Dawson's Russian Oxheart
Stonor's No 2
Arkansas Traveller
Sreonjevlika
Peacevine Cherry
Sugar Plum
Stonor's Most Prolific
Tigerella
Plum from Coullioure [bought in a market]
Piglet Willie's French Black
Olirose
Sungold
Nior
I've got some others that I will definitely not grow, that I will give away in swaps, and I'll be adding the Costoluto Florentinos to those; plus a couple of others that I won't be growing next year.

Plus I have got a couple others saved from this year drying out which I haven't added on here - yet.

I get 109 different varieties from that list ready to sow. Only 1 [Smadar] has one seed; the others have plenty for me to be getting on with.

The sowing starts tomorrow for my bush tomato project; I got great results with bush toms and want to try more this year. Bring it on.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The List

Following on from this Blog post

I will be recording and documenting these seeds to show the benefits and results of partaking in a seed circle with like-minded individuals. 

Somewhere over the next growing season, I will be sowing ALL of these seeds, and tracking their successes, failures and the yields that I got from them.

Achocha Lady’s Slipper (cyclanthera pedata)
 
Alliums
Babington Leek (allium ampeloprasum babingtonii)                     
Stamme onions
Egyptian Walking onion Catawissa allium cepa proliferum
Broad Beans
Vitelotte 
Unknown Variety
French Beans
Major Cooke 
Bonne Bouche
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Succotash
Magpie
Madeira Maroon
Edamame
Swedish One Dot
Runner beans
Mrs Connell’s Black 
Corn
Painted Mountain
Herb
Borage
Dill 
Quillquiña = Bolivian Coriander
Rocket
Turkish Rocket (Bunias orientalis).
Lovage
Flat Leaved Parsley
Sorrel Belleville
Kale 
Siberian Kale
Nero di Toscana aka Black Kale
Lettuce
Grandpa Admire’s
Pommee Brune d’Hiver
Pink
Parsnip
Avon Resistor
Peas and Mangetout
Golden Sweet mangetout 
King Tut/Pran’s Pea 
Magnum Bonum
Paula
Salmon-Flowered Pea 
Skånsk Märgärt
Stephen’s Pea 
Suttons Purple Podded 
Pepper, Chilli
Alberto’s Locoto, a Rocoto pepper
Chilli de Cayenne 
Small Unnamed Chilli 
Anaheim Chilli
Pepper, Sweet
Napier Pointy Red
Pumpkin/Squash
Hungarian Zucchini
Georgia Candy Rooster Squash 
Waltham - butter nut squash
Zapallito Squash 
Tomato
Alpatieva 905A
Beijing Yellow
Delhi
Demidov
Dwarf Mr Snow  
Early Tanana
Eli
Green Bell Pepper
He-man rootstock,
Koralik 
Korol Rannikh  
Latah
Michael Pollan
Monkeys Ass
Plumpton King
Prairie Fire 
Yellow Out Red In
Red Pear
Slovienian Black
Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf
T.C. Jones 
Vova Yellow 
True Potato Seed
Blue Belle TPS                            
Spring Cabbage Durham Early
Tzimbalo Solanum Caripense
Sweet Peas [mainly pink]
Helianthus Sungold


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A little part of a big picture....


So today I took delivery of the results of one of the Seed Swap Circles that I am a contributor to.  This is year 2 of this particular circle; which is run through a popular allotment forum. 

72 bags of seed I received, the list is below. 

A decent photo will follow, once I've found the lead! For now though, the image was taken on my blackberry....

Now, I've not knowingly met any of the people in this community; and I know I've swapped with them informally, and perhaps some of the seeds that were shared were grown from seeds that I originally swapped with them, or from last year's circle. But the bigger picture here is that we are saving and swapping from seeds from all over the place, from HSL, from Real Seeds, from friends, family and overseas; and we are helping to save a little piece of our history in these lovely seeds. 

It's blooming marvelous, and I am hoping that the participant of my own circles will feel the same once their seeds are sent out in the New Year. 

And a very timely delivery, with tomorrow being the solstice, I'm going to get the Babington Leeks and Egyptian Walking Onions into soil first thing tomorrow. 

If you have never saved seeds, or if you do save and are not part of a circle, I heartily recommend it. Have a look at our Seed Saving in Schools document which may give you some ideas as to how to save your own seed and activities to get people interested in saving their own seeds....oh, and it also saves a fortune each year as 72 varieties from a seed catalogue would be about, well, probably about £140.

Here is the list:

Achocha Lady’s Slipper (cyclanthera pedata)
Alliums
Babington Leek (allium ampeloprasum babingtonii)                     
Stamme onions
Egyptian Walking onion Catawissa allium cepa proliferum


Broad Beans
Vitelotte 
Unknown Variety

French Beans
Major Cooke 
Bonne Bouche
Cherokee Trail of Tears
Succotash
Magpie
Madeira Maroon
Edamame
Swedish One Dot
Runner beans
Mrs Connell’s Black 


Corn
Painted Mountain

Herb
Borage
Dill 
Quillquiña = Bolivian Coriander
Rocket
Turkish Rocket (Bunias orientalis).
Lovage
Flat Leaved Parsley
Sorrel Belleville


Kale 
Siberian Kale
Nero di Toscana aka Black Kale

Lettuce
Grandpa Admire’s
Pommee Brune d’Hiver
Pink

Parsnip
Avon Resistor

Peas and Mangetout
Golden Sweet mangetout 
King Tut/Pran’s Pea 
Magnum Bonum
Paula
Salmon-Flowered Pea 
Skånsk Märgärt
Stephen’s Pea 
Suttons Purple Podded 

Pepper, Chilli
Alberto’s Locoto, a Rocoto pepper
Chilli de Cayenne 
Small Unnamed Chilli 
Anaheim Chilli

Pepper, Sweet
Napier Pointy Red

 Pumpkin/Squash
 Hungarian Zucchini

Georgia Candy Rooster Squash 
Waltham - butter nut squash
Zapallito Squash 

   
Tomato
Alpatieva 905A
Beijing Yellow
Delhi
Demidov
Dwarf Mr Snow  
Early Tanana
Eli
Green Bell Pepper
He-man rootstock,
Koralik 
Korol Rannikh  
Latah
Michael Pollan
Monkeys Ass
Plumpton King
Prairie Fire 
Yellow Out Red In
Red Pear
Slovienian Black
Tasmanian Chocolate Dwarf
T.C. Jones 
Vova Yellow 

True Potato Seed
Blue Belle TPS                            

Spring Cabbage Durham Early

Tzimbalo Solanum Caripense

Sweet Peas [mainly pink]
Helianthus Sungold

Here is the photo:
 and I'm off now, to prepare some seed trays for tomorrow. 

Happy Winter Solstice to you all for tomorrow, I'll have my head down sowing seeds and especially planting Garlic.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

OCD - ish

I am currently in a job where I teach Organic Gardening to SEN teenagers. As part of this, I have spent some time with the Garden Organic Growth project. One of the things that they are taught is to be very specific about what is composted where - so perennial weeds are burnt, and annual weeds are chopped down and composted in their compost bin. Ever since, I have been ever-so-slightly obsessed with chopping down my own 'to be composted material' at home. This for example, is the foliage from 24 tomato plants, 9 pepper/chilli plants and the droppings from our very large grape. I collected them and as the bag filled up, got the choppers out and chopped them down. Then filled it again, and again and again; possibly about 12 times. And then I added today's potato peelings, carrot peelings and coffee grounds. So there is alot of 'stuff' in here - probably 2 wheelbarrows full if it wasn't chopped down.

This is a shopping bag, not a huge composting bag; from a popular supermarket.

It can be quiet therapeutic, just chopping down stuff for composting.

Village Show and peas


 I've added this as I put it on faceache just to start a new album and I had so many 'likes' that I felt bad deleting it. So now it has it's place somewhere....It needs cropping now it's on here but what the heck...


We had our village show in Sept and I just wanted to showcase a couple of cup cakes. These first ones were made by my chum, Debbie - and I thought they were fantastic

Whereas these were the winners, made by the 'only goths in the village' [so they think] and I bought these afterwards in the raffle and can concur - they were fabulous.

Photos in Northumberland


 We went to Northumberland and I took a few shots on my Olympus EP-1


This first one is of a Dandelion on the side of the walls of Lindisfarne Castle. 
One of the roughest places in the UK - weather-wise....and yet there it sits, hanging on and still keeping it's seed head intact. 
Marvelous.


 This one is at Alnwick Gardens next to the Castle. 
It's of a little girl running across the swing bridge.



 This was taken in the grass with Lindisfarne Castle in the background.


 Ditto


 And this is of grasses also hanging onto Lindisfarne Castle walls.


If you haven't been to Alnwick Gardens, I'm not going to spoil the surprise that greets you when you walk through the entrance, suffice to say it's breathtaking. esp on a sunny day. 
So this is a shot out in the rose garden.

Photos in Edinburgh

We took a trip in our camper van up North to Northumberland and to Edinburgh a few weeks back, and I thought I'd add some of the photos on here. All were taken with my Olympus EP-1

This first one is a shot of the entrance to the campsite.


And this next one is of a church with a speeding bus - taken as we waited for the bus that was to break down on it's way up the hill. 

We did the Rebus tour - we don't often 'do' tours but we thought we would as it would stop us from spending too much money and we would learn stuff about Edinburgh that we didn't already know. I'd recommend it, however try to do it on a non-rainy day. This is a shot from some steps as we went round the city.


And on the same tour, a bench.



All in all, our 2 days were great, the first day we had glorious sunshine and were too hot to walk around the city; the second day we had a grey start, it got greyer and wetter and by the time we got back to the campsite, at about 7pm - it was raining heavily and it didn't stop all night long. So we headed in a southerly direction towards the 'non-rain' and yes, it only stopped raining 5 miles from home. So we had the last day of the hols at home, in the sun.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Beans, beans and more beans

Warning - this is a trial!

We bought one packet of Asd* soup beans [other supermarkets are available] and sowed them in land turned over just once, that hadn't been used for growing for years.

We sowed half in each 80cm wide row, which was about 10m long. 

This was the week before the end of last year's summer term; so about mid July.

We started harvesting them in October; and didn't harvest them all [I'd estimate about 2/3 of them were harvested] the rest were lost due to wet weather the pods got too wet to deal with without a workshop to lay them all out to dry.

So - the stats. We sowed 500g of seeds, and got out 5490g - a very good increase in yield of over ten times the amount we put in. Also, a fair amount of the soup beans were not beans, but green lentils, and peas; so an even better yield for the beans that grew well.

We are having half each, as I bought the seeds - I am putting them into jars for presents and the school will be doing the same for their Christmas Fayre.

All in all, a complete success.





Monday, 12 September 2011

Autumn 2011

I'm so bad. I've not been on here for ages - mainly because summer is so busy! But I wanted to blog the lovely present [from a swap] that came through the post today.


A chum on a forum I am on [not the Vine] wanted some potato onions - so I've sent those and as bush tomatoes have been so successful for us and the schools this year, I asked for a few [a few I said] bush toms if she had any....and this was what she sent.

Flippin loads of them!!!


Anyway J - thank you so much, me and the students will be growing these in and around Coventry, Oxford and Derby next year and we'll save from them and share them round the UK.

Brilliant.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Heritage Vegetable Review - Salmon Flowered Pea

Salmon Flowered Pea
The bag of peas was part of a batch that were ex HSL as the germination rate wasn't enough to give to members. So I nabbed a bag.

First flowers out yesterday so I grabbed a photo this morning. Lovely looking flower.



Just wanted to capture the stem and the pinkiness where the leaf axils are. [June 2011]

Heritage Vegetable Review - Sweet Lupino Bean

Sweet Lupino Bean


These seeds were bought from ebay and to be honest they have been a bit hard to germinate. I got one however, which is very satisfying. Half the remaining seeds are currently in the airing cupboard in damp compost and vermiculite to try and encourage them to sprout.

I love the leaf of these. The new leaves seem to be quite yellow so I am repotting this one at the weekend. I really need to make sure this survives to get some beans from it. [June 2011]

Today's photos of the greenhouse

I only have a 8x6 greenhouse, so I have to pack it in there. It is my place to grow toms and peppers; as well as my propagation and cutting area, and I also overwinter things in there so it has to be multifunctional.
This is how I grow cucumbers I have a large old recycling container, sat on a large flat tray. I have 7 cukes in there, and all climb up twine to the roof. As the cukes grow, I trim off the lower leaves, and will hand pollinate 1 or 2 fruits from each once they are in full swing.....which means very careful bagging and poking as cuke flowers are very small and tricky to handle.
I also grow on 2 levels; so I have big trays on the floor with toms in big pots. These are trained up behind the staging and onto twine up to the roof. The staging has peppers at the front, and a few toms at the back in smaller pots, again trained up twine. All leaves are taken off as they grow so that I can fit more plants in.
These are my spare peppers and toms. The toms are all from armpits from my main toms, and will either go to schools/community growing areas that I am working in or will go under my main tom frame at the lottie - they can grow lower to the ground as they are armpits and as I have mulched the ground under my tom frame at the lottie with straw, the toms can just go wild under there and grow almost like strawberries. The peppers, will all go into spare pots around the garden or get given away.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Update 8th June 2011 - Seed Saving 2011

Ok, I've not updated for a while. Far too busy sowing, growing, driving etc.

So I just wanted to type out a list of seeds that I am expecting to save this year.

Blue de Solaise Leeks
Tender and True Parsnips
Red Swiss Chard
Sheepnose Pepper
Lau Pointed Leaf Lettuce


For HSL as a Seed Guardian
Chinese Radish
Giant Crimson Radish
Buffalo Horn Tomato [Buffalo Tom - yay]

And loads of beans and Peas including
Parsley Pea
Victorian Purple Podded Pea
Goldensweet Mangetout
Crimson Flowered Broad Bean [thanks Janet for the seeds]
All the old faves such as Madeira Maroon, Dapple Grey, Canadian Wonder and many others

Most tomatoes will be saved from, and peppers will be glued to preserve purity and saved from, once I find the PVA glue.

I'll choose some of the cukes to save from - I have one called Luke which is apparently prolific and was called Dave and was a seed that was stopped by the 'MAN' from being distributed and so I'll see how that pans out.

I'll try to hand pollinate all the squashes so as at least one of each can be saved from.


I need to sow for saving:
Mountaineer's White Half Runner bean

And I need to put aside some Blue Azur Kohl Rabi for saving, if Mark doesn't pull them all up for eating! I can do this now that the Radishes are nearly done flowering.

Gonna be a busy summer by the looks of it!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Scotia or Furry Hog?

Scotia - what I was expecting to be honest....

All the furry hogs look like this one


This is a scotia...but looks like a furry hog



A line of Furry Hogs at the back, and a line of Scotias at the front. Furry Hogs sown in one batch and Scotias all sown on a different day, in one batch.

The question is - is this the leaf that I should be expecting from a Furry Hog and just a few got mixed in with the Scotias; or has some cross-fertilisation gone on and do I have to isolate the 'pepper leaf' type Scotias AND the Furry Hogs so that all the toms from this year's saved toms don't all end up cross pollinating with the Furries.....

Hmm......it's exciting!!!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Seed sowing and potato planting

So, since last post:
Sown on the 8th - Turnip De Milano, Poached Egg Plant, Leek, Bleu De Solaise. Onions - sturon, zebrune shallot, rouge pale de niort, jaune paille de vertus, kyoto market, deep purple spring, random chives

Sown on the 12th - HSL peas - pilot, tutenkhamun, parsley, purple podded, salmon flowered. And Sown for Seed Guardianship - Chinese Radish, Crimson Giant Radish and Buffalo Horn Tomato

Potatoes put in today, the 13th - Amorosa, Charlotte and Kestrel. Charlotte and Kestrel were netted as they are at the top of the plot where it gets a little windier.

Sown today: 13th:
Chioggia Beetroot [self saved, these were the bits that didn't go through the sieve]
Tomatoes: Red Zebra, Summer Cider, Yellow Pigmy, Snowberry, Black Pineapple, Limmony, Banana Leggs, Brown Berry, Showwhite Cherry, Maskotka, Red Pear Franchi.
Peas: Table Talk and Sweet Peas from Ryton
Pepper: Corno Rosso, Carmangola Rosso, Ciliega Piccante
And a tray of Fenugreek.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Seed Sowing

Things I sowed today:

Tester cucurbit: Rugosa Friulana - Summer Squash

Aubergine: Violetta Lunga 2

Flowers:
White Cosmos
Poached Egg Plant
Corncockle
Astrantia [from Cascades - nr Matlock Bath]
Rudbeckia and other seeds [from Chatsworth]
Calendula Officinalis Greenheart Orange
Echium Pininana

Peppers:
Black Hungarian
Corno Gallo
Purple Venezulian
Kaibi Round No 2
Sweet Chocolate
Dedo De Mocha Sweet Aji
Sweet Piemento
Bolivian Rainbow [last of these seeds]
Gogosar [last of these seeds]
Cheyenne [last of these seeds]
Mini bell pepper
Ryton Red Chili [last of these seeds]
Purple Jalapeno
Sweet Pointy Pepper
Tabasco

Tomatoes:
Piglet Willie's French Black
Speckled Plum Russian [no, I can't understand the writing and the pic looks like plums that are speckled]
Saint Pierre
Amish Paste
Aurora
Latah
Costoluto Fiorentino
Maskotka
Red Cluster Pear
Black Cherry
Falcon
Galina
Aunti Madge's
Fablone Listnyj

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Seed Sowing


Just to test viability - I've sown some home saved winter lettuce seeds, plus some chantenay carrots.

The photo has been added for a chum....

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sowing and pricking out

Today I
Sowed:
Tomatoes: Scotia, Maja, Silver Fir Tree all bush tomaotes - for school donated to me by a chum from a couple of seed saving circles
Onions: Valencia and Prebosa - both bought in Spain last autumn.

And

Pricked out/potted on:
A - Piglet Willie's French Black Tom
B - Maskotka Bush Tomato
1 - Purple Beauty Sweet Pepper
2 - Chocolate Sweet Pepper
3 - Chocolate Habanero Chilli Pepper

The above are numbered 1,2,3 etc for peppers and A,B,C etc for toms so that I can cut down on writing labels all the time

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Hellebores




Just out in the garden for a bit yesterday - the Hellebores are out and looking fantastic - if you are a borrower or leprechaun that is. So, I popped the camera on the ground and took some photos whilst they are still out. Lovely!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Seed Sowing

Well, I sowed a few more - just some Phacelia and Sanguina Beetroot [from self saved seeds]; got waylaid in the greenhouse depodding some Fenugreek and Golden Sweet Mange Touts from last summer and potting up Broad Beans and Peas from the Vermiculite Germination from last time.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Seed Sowing

Peas and Beans in Vermiculite

The photos say it all:
Peas, and Broad Beans, in a sandwich bag, with vermiculite and some water. Label, fold up, and keep somewhere warm and dark for a few days.





Today I sowed:
Some F1 Sungold Tomatoes - see below - one of which will be used for the Armpit Challenge

Spring onions and bunching onions
Root Parsley
Chioggia Beetroot
Buckshorn Plantain
Kohl Rabi