Sunday, 26 January 2014

New courses for 2014

I've been asked to run some courses for Garden Organic, at their flagship gardens Ryton Gardens this year.

True to form, they will ALL be activity based hands on learning experiences very much driven by the needs of the delegates.

The first one is on March 13th, it is called Veg Growing for Beginners. Seeing as I spent alot of my time teaching people new to gardening how to do it [and to do it without breaking the bank or your back] this is one that I am enjoying planning as much as we will enjoy the day.

I've just sown some trays of seeds for this, for the delegates to get some practice on the day in transplanting and identifying seedlings. If you are coming along, I hope that you enjoy the mix of seeds that I've just sown, all for you to take home with you.

Can't wait!

The course should be on the Garden Organic website in the next few days. It was only booked last week so get it whilst its hot - as they say.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sorting out the seeds

I have accumulated and collected and swapped and basically, have so many varieties of seeds that it's beginning to get silly. 

So...time to have a clear out. 

I will be saving just 10 seeds of all the peas and beans and tomatoes that I have, and all the rest will be put to one side for swaps, the community garden, for students or to be included in the Random approach which I will be continuing in 2014.

Just to show - these are just the beans...there are about 130 different varieties in here. 

Time to let them fly and let other people grow them.

Maria Zeller

This is a post about a lovely success story with one of the beans I had a few years back. It refers to this bean:

I had a few beans from a swap here in the UK. I tried to grow these and they failed and I had 2 left.

I was contacted about a swap with Russ Crow in the USA late 2011 and we swapped some beans.

I sent him the 2 Maria Zellers and after growing those two, he had 80 beans. He grew those and ended up with 1208 seeds. Which is totally brilliant and amazing and WOW!

Some pics are below.

He has sent some back to me, and hopefully will be swapping and sharing his batch in the USA as I will be doing here.

It's so good to resurrect a relatively rare bean and be able to share it out for growing.

Thanks Russ, and look forward to some more swapping in future years.

Russ's website showing the bean can be found here


Seeds saved in 2013

Well, hello 2014.

It was a busy year, 2013 - a new garden to manage, a new business with my lovely business partner, a DTLLS qualification to finish, a new job, and new students, new processes and procedures and teaching new people at the community gardens.

So, it would be understandable if I'd not managed to save any seeds but lo and behold - in amongst the chaos - I did. Both at home and at the community gardens. So to make myself feel better today I thought I'd list them as I am doing my usual yearly seed sift to see what can be grown, sown, swapped, given to students to grow and what to sell or give away.

Seeds saved in 2013:
Seed Guardian seeds:
Val's Bean - DFB
Rognon D'Loise - DFB
Bird's Egg - CFB
Bonne Bouche - CFB
Bountiful - DFB * I have saved these but they are somewhere in the house
Imur Prior Beta tomato
Yellow Perfection tomato
Peacevine Cherry Tomato

All the above I will be growing in 2014 [at home, at the allotment and at the community gardens] and 90% of the collected seeds will be going to the Heritage Seed Library.

I will also be hosting some plants for Real Seeds -  we have agreed to have around 6-10 Gelbe Kirschen Cherry Chilli plants and save from all of them for Real Seeds, plus a brassica which they are thinking about. So that will be amazing.

Other saved seeds for growing and local swapping:
Tarbais CFB
Corona De Spagna CFB
Bridgewater CFB
Berner Landfrouen CFB
Blue and White CFB
Reade Krobbe DFB
Brightstone DFB
Inca Pea CFB
Marfax DFB
Hutterite Soup DFB
Zuni Bush bean
Trionfo Violette CFB
Succotash DFB
True Red Cranberry DFB
A mystery lupino bean [no idea the variety]
A mystery black bush bean
Croatian bean

Butterbean - Soya Bean
Blackpod Runner Bean [at allotment, may not come true]
White Lady Runner Bean [isolated in polytunnel]

Goldensweet Mangetout Pea

Kyoto Market Bunching Onion

Piglet Willie's French Black tomato
Dark Purple Beefsteak tomato
Salt Spring Surprise tomato
Stonor's No 2 tomato
Sugar Plum tomato

Mini White Cucumber

Look - a pic of all the seeds all packed up

I also have:
Potato Onions
Egyptian Walking Onion
Oca [to dig up in the next week]
Load of herbs - Dill, parsley, Chioggia Beetroot, Swiss chard etc etc.

And more that I can't remember as they are being housed at the Community Gardens.

Not a bad haul for a busy year.

Bring on 2014. Happy new year to all of you growers and seed savers.