Tuesday 27 February 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Leeks


Leeks are something I have tried and not been particularly successful with, In 2018 I had better success but grew them as baby type and eat them as large spring onions. In 2023 I was going to have a bash at leeks again on Plot 1, but getting cancer put a stop to that. So In 2024 I'm going to have a bash at Leeks again, mobility allowing.

The average life of leek seeds if stored correctly is 3 to 5 years. Most seed companies allow 2 - 3 years so anything that is 2-3 years past its sow by date is worth keeping and giving a try. 

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2024

Lancelot                            - 65 seeds - £2.49        - Suttons - Packed YE 2022

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2025

Autora F1                          - 30 seeds - £3.60        - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Oct 2022
Autora F1                          - 30 seeds - £3.60        - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Oct 2022


New in 2022 Autora F1  - 30 Seeds   - £3.60 - Mr Fothergill' - Sow By 2025


A very productive variety that’s reliable for autumn/ early winter crops. Plants are high-quality and non-bulbing with a delicious mild flavour.

Autora F1 has good resistance to rust and stands well in the ground, producing crops with impressive uniformity and easy to clean shanks. Bred from the same breeder as the popular variety Stromboli.



  
New in 2022 Lancelot   - 65 Seeds   - £2.49 - 16 71 52 - Suttons - Sow By 7/2024  


This variety of leek is a traditional-looking crop that grows dark green foliage with plants that do no bulb easily. Therefore, these provide straighter stems that are easy to grow on the veg patch and tastes wonderful. The 300 - 400mm long shanks develop a great proportion of white flesh and even more if you choose to earth them up.

'Lancelot' is a versatile crop in the kitchen and is an excellent addition to homemade soups, quiches and salads, or can be roasted for delicious Sunday dinners. Late autumn/early winter variety (Late August- January).


Sow thinly direct into a finely raked seedbed at a depth of 1.3cm (½") in rows 30cm (12") apart. (Germination 14-21 days). When ready to transplant make holes with a dibber 10-15cm (4-6") deep, 23cm (9") apart, drop a plant into each and fill with water to settle soil around the roots. Allow 38cm (15") between rows. To blanch, draw up earth to stems as growth develops. Leeks do well on most soils especially if well prepared. Can also be started off in trays.
 

Alphabetical Listing of Varieties historically grown 

                                                  Sowing          Sowing         Plant                Harvest
                                                  Indoors          Outdoors     Out 

Atal (Baby type)                                               Apr- Jul                                  Jun- Oct
Blue Green Winter                  
 Jan - Mar         Apr - May       May- Jun         Oct - Mar
Bulgaarse Reuzen Lincoln                               Mar- Apr                                Jul - Oct
De Carentan 2                                                  Mar- May                               Oct - Feb
Herfstuezen 3 - Porvite             Jan - Feb        Mar- Apr         May- Jul          Oct - Mar
Musselburgh (Mr Fothergill's)    Jan - Feb        Mar- Apr        May- Jul          Oct - Mar
Musselburgh Wilko                    Jan - Feb        Mar- Apr        May- Jun         Oct - Mar
Musselburgh Seed Tape T&M                          Mar- Apr                                Sep - Jan
Nipper                                                               Mar - Jun                               May -


Monday 26 February 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Lettuce

  


Lettuce is something we eat a lot of and something that I have not been particularly good at growing in the past. I've had a couple of good years, I can grow it but it gets eaten by slugs and snails and I tend to see very little in the way of harvest. 

No Lettuce at all grown in 2019 as a result of the leg injury, and in 2020 until the winter months, and none grown in 2023 because of the treatment for cancer, but in 2024 I intend to try growing hydroponically in my second allotment greenhouse and as cut and come again at home.  

I'm going to blitz the slug and snail population over the late Winter months and hopefully have some success.

Lettuce Seeds when kept in ideal conditions last between 3 - 6 years. Most companies only allow 2 - 3 years between the saved on and the sow by dates on the back of their packs. 

Yes there will be a reduction in germination rate as the seeds get older but you can always chit 10 on damp kitchen towel to check out the current germination rate %, especially as they are supplied in 100's, and 1,000's per pack.

A Great video by Charles Dowding 




I have made the decision to use anything with a sow by 2020 date in pots as cut and come again at home.


Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2021

Arctic King                        -   500 Seeds - £            - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 09/2021
Little Gem (Delight)          -   500 Seeds - £            - Johnsons - Sow By 
Lobjoits (Cos)                   -    75 Seeds -    60p     - MoreVeg - Packed 09/2021 
Rocket Wild                      -  750 Seeds - on GYO - Mr Fothergill's Sow By 2021
Winter Density (Cos)        -    75 Seeds -    60p     - MoreVeg - Packed 09/2021 

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2022

Little Gem Cos                 - 1,400 Seeds - £1.10     - Kings Seeds - Sow By 2022 - Kitchen Garden
Mixed Spicy Leaves        -     250 Seeds - £1.50    -  Kings Seeds - Sow By 2022 - Kitchen Garden

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2023

Amaze                             -    250 Seeds - £ 2.05    - D.T.Brown - Sow By Dec 2023 

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2024

Chatsworth (Cos)           - 1250 Seeds - £2.40      - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2024
Vailan (Winter Gem)         - 250 Seeds - £2.55      - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2024
Rod Smith Heritage Veg Lettuce Speckled Trout - 150 Seeds - Cost £2.50 - Dobies - packed year ending 2021
Rod Smith Heritage Veg Lettuce Bronze Beauty - 150 Seeds - Cost £2.50  - Dobies - packed year ending 2021 

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2025

Little Gem  (Cos)                - 900 Seeds - £1.75        - Suttons  - Sow By 2025
Gustav's Salad                 - 1000 seeds - £2.15        - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2025 
Pasatiempo (Little Gem)   - 500 Seeds - £2.15         - D.T.Brown - Sow By 12/2025
Crisp Mint                          - 350 Seeds - Trial Free - Mr Fothergills - Sow by Dec 2025
Mustard Leaves (Autumn Sowing)  - 500 Seeds - £2.49  - Dobies - Sow By 2025

Review Of Seed Stocks with Sow By 2026

Little Gem (Pasatiempo)   - 500 Seeds - £2.00^        - Johnsons  - Sow By 2026
^Bought in 50% off wilko seed sale


Alphabetical Listing
                                       Sowing            Harvest

Amaze                         Mar - Jul           May - Oct Sow Under Cloche from January
Cos                              Mar - Jul           May - Oct
Crisp Mint                    Mar - Jul           May - Oct 
Elyburg                        Mar - Jul           Jun - Oct
Gaustav's Salad          Mar - Jul            May - Oct
Little Gem                    Mar - Jul           May - Oct  Mr Fothergill's
Little Gem                    Mar - Jul           May - Sep Thompson & Morgan
Maureen                      Mar - Jul           Jun - Oct
Pasatiempo                 Mar - Aug           May - Oct
Rocket                         Mar - Sep          May - Oct
Sweetheart                  Mar - Jul            May - Oct
Tantan                         Mar - Jul           May - Oct
Tom Thumb                 Mar - Jul           May - Oct
Valmaine                     Mar - Jul           Jun - Sep
Winter Density            Sept- Jan          Jan - May  Greenhouse / Coldframe 
Winter Gem                Aug - April         Mar - Jul              Outdoors



Sunday 25 February 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Cabbages & Spring Greens

    


In the past I have tried to find different varieties that had different sow grow and harvest times so that I could try grow and harvest for as long as possible. Plans for 2020 didn't pan out due to shielding my wife against Covid-19, and 2021 was not a lot better, so I made the magic happen in 2022, and I will be looking to repeat the success in 2023. 


Cabbage Seeds if kept in ideal conditions last 4 - 7 years 

Review of Seed Stocks with Sow by date of 2025

Cordoba F1                            - D.T.Brown   -  30 Seeds - £4.59 Packed YE 2023
Collard Hi-Crop F1                 - Dobies        -  25 Seeds - £2.99 - Packed YE 2023        

Review of Seed Stocks with Sow by date of 2026

Marquis F1                             - D.T.Brown   -  30 Seeds - £2.99 - Packed YE Jul/23
Tourmaline F1                        - D.T.Brown   -  50 Seeds - £2.99 - Packed YE Aug/23      



The first clubroot resistant Savoy cabbage with great tasting leaves forming large, heavy heads. 

Also resistant to ringspot and white rust for consistently high-quality crops of large savoy cabbages weighing between 1.5kg-2kg each. 

The leaves are attractive and are of good colour and flavour.




Packed with nutrition, this large non-heading cabbage is a versatile, long-season crop. 

Collard 'Hi-Crop' can be used for spring or autumn greens and either harvested as a whole, looseleaf cabbage or picked for cut and come again, removing leaves from the centre as required. 

The large, blue-green, textured leaves are well-flavoured and borne on vigorous plants which are slow to bolt. Maturity: 60 days. Height: 40cm (16”). Spread: 50cm (20”).

           
Marquis F1 Versatile pointed heads which can be harvested as greens or mature heads. Hold well in the ground and stores well once cut.

SOW INDOORS February-April, thinly in trays of compost, 1.5cm/half-in deep. Transplant when plants are about 10cm/4in tall, spacing of 30cm/1ft. 

SOW OUTDOORS March-June. Transplant at 2-4 leaf stage to final growing position. Firm in well. Keep moist.

Harvest June - October 


Attractive savoyed leaves with excellent flavour and winter hardiness. Forms large dense heads with resistance to black rot.

SOW INDOORS February-April, thinly in trays of compost, 1.5cm/half-in deep. Transplant when plants are about 10cm/4in tall, spacing of 60cm/2ft. SOW 

OUTDOORS April-June. Transplant at 2-4 leaf stage to final growing position. Firm in well. Keep moist

Harvest December - March  


Looking at the sowing instructions in particular the spacing and rows, I thought about the planting membrane sheets that I already have and decided to create a new one specifically for the Spring Greens in 2024



So the idea is to give a 300mm exclusion zone around the perimeter so that hopefully it keeps the spring greens away from the netted hoops that will go over the bed. working on the basis of 150mm centres and 300mm between rows, I decided to stagger alternate rows so there is a little more space between plants but they are still dense enough to assist in growing as spring greens.   


I've also bought a pack of Cabbage Durham Early Spring Green Seeds for £1.39 incl. P&P from Premier Seeds Direct for an Autumn sowing.

This variety is a well-known and very reliable compact spring cabbage producing dark green pointed firm heads of medium size, good flavour and texture. Suited for high density growing for spring greens harvesting from Feb onwards and Apr for fully mature heads. Autumn sowing variety.


Cultivation Advice Cabbage Durham Early Spring Greens

  • Sow between Mid-July and Sep thinly in trays or directly to seed drills using 2-3 seeds every 12 in.
  • Planting depth 1/8 inch. When seedlings are 1 inch tall thin to one plant every 12-18 inches or plant out tray seedlings to growing location.
  • Best sown / located in full sun where no cabbage was grown the year before.
  • Keep weed free and protect against pests, especially pigeons over-winter.
  • Harvest alternative plants from Feb as spring greens and mature heads from early Apr.

Saturday 24 February 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Beans


Since 2013 I have grown a number of different types & varieties of Beans, but this is what I have in my seed box for 2024

Self Saved & Seed Circle - Bean Seeds last 5-8 years with good storage 

Some of these beans go back a few years, and in 2024, I'm going to sow them all and see which ones are still viable. I now have my greenhouse climbing frame up in the corner of the plot 1 and its ready for action


Blue Beans
Cara La Virgen de la Baneza Leon (Climbing French Bean)

Cherokee Trail of Tears (Climbing French Bean)
Crimson Flowered (Broad Bean)
Kew Blue
Major Cook's (Climbing French Bean)
Nun's Belly Button (Bush Bean)
Ryder's Blue CoCo (Climbing French Bean)
Vermont Cranberry (Bush Bean)

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2020

Scarlet Empire (Runner Bean)     - 50 Seeds - Free with GYO Mag - Mr Fothergill's
Stardust (Runner Bean)               - 45 Seeds - Free Trial - Marshalls 
Best Of All (Runner Bean)            - 45 Seeds - £2.99 - Suttons - Packed YE 2020

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2021

Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco Nano    - 50 Seeds - £3.49     - Marshalls - Packed 07/2019
(Dwarf Bean)

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2022

Dwarf Voltage (Dwarf Bean) - 160 Seeds - £2.99         - Marshalls - Packed YE 2020

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2023

Lazy Housewife (Climbing French Bean) - 50 Seeds - £3.29 - D.T.Brown - Packed Aug 2021

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2025

Black Knight (Runner Bean)      - 20 Seeds - £ 3.99  - Suttons - Packed YE 2022
Organdi (Dwarf French Bean) - 100 Seeds - £ 2.80  - Mr Fothergills - Packed YE Jul 2023  
Organdi (Dwarf French Bean) - 100 Seeds - £ 2.80  - Mr Fothergills - Packed YE Jul 2023    

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2026

Black Knight (Runner Bean)          -  20 Seeds - £ 3.99  - Dobies - Packed YE 2023
French Dior (Dwarf French Bean) - 120 Seeds - £2.99 - Dobies - Packed YE 2023
Sunshine (Climbing French Bean) -  45 Seeds - £3.49 - Dobies - Packed YE2023      
Growing Selection for 2024

My annual runner is normally Scarlet Emperor as they normally provide a good yield and a single panel in the wall at Mill Green Allotment provides me with ample runners for my needs but also for passing on to my sister, eldest daughter and our neighbour.

Now I have additional beds in on Plot 1 and the greenhouse climbing frame in the corner of plot 1 for 20243 I will try some of the French climbing beans as well as Nun's Belly Button, Vermont Cranberry & Pickwick on the French and Bush Beans,

Friday 23 February 2024

Suttons - Beetroot Golden Eye


Suttons have sent me a pack of a new yellow flesh beetroot added to their catalogue for 2024 to trial. It sells for £2.99 for a pack with an average seed content of 100 seeds. 

A colourful alternative to the traditional red beetroot, Beetroot 'Golden Eye' has golden yellow flesh that boasts a sweet flavour which lacks the typical ‘earthy’ taste of other varieties. 

Grow as mature roots or as baby beets, roasted, juiced or grated into salads. 

Height: 30cm (12in). Spread: 15cm (6in).

Sowing Information

Direct sow beetroot seeds outdoors from March to July in a weed free, sunny position in fertile, light, well drained soil. Sow beetroot seeds thinly in shallow drills at a depth of 3cm (1") and 30cm (12") apart. 

Germination will usually take 12 to 24 days. When large enough to handle, thin out the seedlings within each row to 10cm (4") apart. 

Can also be sown into modules and planted out.

Thursday 22 February 2024

In My Seed Box For 2024 - Turnip

    

Turnip is something that I didn't eat as a kid and have not really tasted as an adult ! but I do now know it is related to a swede which I did eat a lot off as a kid. 

Now as I am taking on more of the cooking duties, I feel that space needs to be found to grow this vegetable in 2024 and that I should learn how to cook it !

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets
  

Niwaki Kabu Small Japanese Turnip. 
Sow outside in a moist, shady spot when temp is +5C. Sow in two week intervals for a continuous harvest. Thin to 150mm Mature in 6 – 12 weeks, leaves may be harvested sooner.


Turnip - Miland Purple 
- Seeds to Suit 

Purple Topped white rooted version of the famous Miland turnip. One of the finest flavours available from its buttery smooth flesh. 

Very resistant to cold and even the greens when they are young and tender. 

Harvest when the roots are no larger than 70mm diameter for maximum flavour and texture. 

Approximate Seed Quantity: 40

Sow outside as soon as soil is workable, avoid freshly manured areas. 

Sow a second crop in late summer for an autumn/winter harvest

Cover seeds with 6mm of fine soil

Row spacing 380mm - 450mm

When seedlings are 50 - 100mm tall thin to 100mm - 150mm apart

Days to germination 14-21 (can be longer depending on soil & weather conditions 



This pure white version has a wonderfully sweet flavour. 

Fast to mature it is a great option for successional sowing into early autumn. 

Use the greens when they are young and tender. 

Harvest when roots are no larger than 50mm 

Approximate Seed Quantity: 40

Sow outside as soon as soil is workable, avoid freshly manured areas. 

Sow a second crop in late summer for an autumn/winter harvest

Cover seeds with 6mm of fine soil

Row spacing 380mm - 450mm

When seedlings are 50 - 100mm tall thin to 100mm - 150mm apart

Days to germination 14-21 (can be longer depending on soil & weather conditions


One of the best late cropping varieties around. It has an excellent mild nutty and firm texture and goes well into winter without becoming woody. 

Harvest when the roots reach 70mm diameter for maximum flavour and texture. 

The globes are smooth yellow with golden flesh and the greens can be utilised when young and tender. 

Can be slow to germinate so patience is required but they are worth it. 

Approximate Seed Quantity: 40

Sow outside as soon as soil is workable, avoid freshly manured areas. 

Sow a second crop in late summer for an autumn/winter harvest

Cover seeds with 6mm of fine soil

Row spacing 380mm - 450mm

When seedlings are 50 - 100mm tall thin to 100mm - 150mm apart

Days to germination 14-21 (can be longer depending on soil & weather conditions 
  

Silky Sweet - Dobies - 100 Seeds - Packed year ending 2023 - Sow By Dec 2025

Turnip 'Silky Sweet' produces small, rounded white roots that are crisp, sweet and juicy – perfect for eating raw to enjoy their amazing silky-smooth texture. 

Packed with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and folate, these tender turnips make for a super healthy snack or salad ingredient, and are best picked around tennis ball size. 

This superb F1 hybrid is ready to harvest in just 65 days – make successional sowings for a constant supply. Height: 20cm (8in). Spread: 25cm (10in).

Turnips Generally

Turnips should be grown quickly and kept well watered. Harvest them before they get too large for the best flavour. For greens follow above instructions but don't thin out. The season can be extended by sowing under cloches in early spring and again in late summer.

Turnips and other cruciferous vegetables that are high in fiber help make people feel fuller for longer, and they are low in calories. Eating high fiber meals also helps keep blood sugar levels stable. The fiber content in turnips may also prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

How Do You Cut and Cook Turnips 

Just scrub them under cold water, cut into chunks, toss with a little olive oil, season and roast at 450 F until tender and slightly browned. Turnips can also be mashed like potatoes, sliced to add to a salad, or diced for adding to stews or soups.

Use turnips any way you would use a potato, and then some. Try them baked or boiled in stews, soups and stir-fries, or lightly steamed with some butter, salt or lemon juice for flavor. homemade coleslaw. Julienne Them.

Couch Grass Control 

If wish to clear Couch Grass from your plot completely, plant the troubled area with turnip seed. The two will not mix and the couch will wither back and die. Even if you have cleared the grass it may come back if you have not removed every single root. So to keep it at bay give this a try.