Tuesday, 31 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - Index


So all the Posts relating to What Is In My Seed Box for 2020 can be found by using the Hyperlink. To find the information for a particular variety of vegetable use the index below.

Vegetables


Flowers 

Monday, 30 December 2019

£10 Discount on PowerPlanter


Remember the Discount Code to use is: £10GIFT


Valid until New Years Eve at Midnight. 




Sunday, 29 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - Cauliflower



My History with Cauliflower is somewhat checkered, early on I had some really fantastic results but over the past years not so good. In my seed box for 2020 are 

Zippy Bags

All Year Round - Suttons - Sow By 6/2016
Gypsy - Thomson and Morgan - Sow by 12/2017

Packs 

White Step F1    - Thompson & Morgan - 30 Seeds - £3.49 - Sow By 2020
Winter Aalsmeer - Thompson & Morgan - 50 Seeds - £2.49 - Sow By 2020

All Year Round   - Thompson & Morgan - 150 Seeds - £2.49 - Sow By 2021
Amsterdam F1    - Mr Fothergill's            - 25 Seeds - £ Free - Sow by 2022

Sowing Times vary for each variety

                                Indoors      Outside     Plant Out     Harvest 
All Year Round    - Feb - May   Mar-Jun                        Jun - Sep 
Amsterdam F1    - Mar - May     June          June          Oct - Jan
Gypsy - 
White Step F1     -                                                          Aug - Nov
Winter Aalsmeer -                   Apr - Jun                          April


Winter Aalsmeer
Sow Cauliflower seed from April to June. Direct sow outdoors into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Sow at a depth of 1cm (1/2") and distance of 30cm (12") between rows. Cauliflower plants can be transplanted to their final positions approximately 5 weeks from sowing.
Alternatively sow Cauliflower seed indoors at a depth of 1cm (1/2") in trays of free-draining, seed sowing compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 21C (70F) until after germination which takes 4 -7 days. Transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3") pots and grow Cauliflower plants on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and plants are large enough to be transplanted outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise Cauliflower plants to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting in a sheltered position on firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Apply lime to acid soils to reduce the acidity and lessen the risk of clubroot. Plant cauliflowers at a distance of 25cm (10") between plants each way for 'baby heads', and 60cm (24") apart for larger heads. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
All The Year Round  
Sow Cauliflower seed from March to June. Direct sow outdoors into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Sow at a depth of 1cm (1/2") and distance of 30cm (12") between rows. Cauliflower plants can be transplanted to their final positions approximately 5 weeks from sowing.
Alternatively sow Cauliflower seed indoors at a depth of 1cm (1/2") in trays of free-draining, seed sowing compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 21C (70F) until after germination which takes 4 -7 days. Transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3") pots and grow Cauliflower plants on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and plants are large enough to be transplanted outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise Cauliflower plants to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting in a sheltered position on firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Apply lime to acid soils to reduce the acidity and lessen the risk of clubroot. Plant cauliflowers at a distance of 25cm (10") between plants each way for 'baby heads', and 60cm (24") apart for larger heads. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Wildlife Rebellion




In My Seed Box For 2020 - Courgette


It's very rare that I harvest these when they are the size they should be, and I don't really need more than a couple of plants 

All Green Bush - Thompson & Morgan - 10 Seeds - £2.99 - Sow by 9/2021
Midnight F1      -  Thompson & Morgan - 10 Seeds - £3.29 - Sow by 12/2020

Information - All Green Bush
Sow courgette seed indoors from April to May for transplanting later on, or direct sow outdoors from late May to June. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to improve its structure and fertility.
Indoors, sow seed at a depth of 2cm ( 3/4") in 7.5cm (3") pots of free-draining, seed sowing compost. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 20-25C (68-77F) until germination which takes 5-7 days. Do not exclude light, as this helps germination. Once germinated, grow courgettes on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and courgette plants are large enough to be transplanted. Gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting courgettes outdoors in rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun at a distance of 90cm (36") apart. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. When growing courgettes, a thick mulch of organic matter spread around the plants will help to conserve moisture at the roots.
Alternatively direct sow courgettes outdoors at a depth of 2cm ( 3/4") and a distance of 90cm (36") apart. Sow 2 seeds per hole and thin out the weakest seedling per station after germination.
Information - Midnight F1
Sow courgette seed indoors from April to May for transplanting later on, or direct sow outdoors from late May to June. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to improve its structure and fertility.
Indoors, sow seed at a depth of 2cm ( 3/4") in 7.5cm (3") pots of free-draining, seed sowing compost. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 20-25C (68-77F) until germination which takes 5-7 days. Do not exclude light, as this helps germination. Once germinated, grow courgettes on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and courgette plants are large enough to be transplanted. Gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting courgettes outdoors in rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun at a distance of 90cm (36") apart. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. When growing courgettes, a thick mulch of organic matter spread around the plants will help to conserve moisture at the roots.
Alternatively direct sow courgettes outdoors at a depth of 2cm ( 3/4") and a distance of 90cm (36") apart. Sow 2 seeds per hole and thin out the weakest seedling per station after germination.
More Information 
Water courgettes regularly - do not allow the soil to dry out as this will impair their development. Hoe between plants regularly to prevent weeds from establishing. Courgettes appreciate an application of a high potash fertiliser every two weeks during the growing season. Hand pollinating courgettes is not usually required when they are grown outdoors. However, for indoor cultivation the female flowers can be fertilised by pressing a male flower against them. Begin harvesting courgettes from midsummer onwards when they are 10cm (4") long. Regular harvesting will encourage more courgettes to be produced. Culinary note: Courgette flowers are edible and can be eaten cooked or added raw to salads.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - 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 G

Unopened Packs 

Greyhound                              - Suttons                        - 350 Seeds - £1-55 - Sow By 6/2016
Cabbage Ball                          - Mr Fothergill's              - 500 Seeds - £1-65 - Sow By 2018
Winter Jewel F1                      - Thompson & Morgan  -  40 Seeds - £2-99 - Sow By 12/2018
Golden Acre/ Primo (II)          Mr Fothergill's              - 500 Seeds - £1-65 - Sow By 2018
Spring Greens Greensleeves  Mr Fothergill's            -   50 Seeds - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Dutchman F1 Heart                Mr Fothergill's             -   30 Seeds - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Savoy King F1                        - Mr Fothergill's             -   50 Seeds  - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Greyhound                             - Thompson & Morgan  -  200 Seeds - £1-49 - Sow By 12/2019

Opened Zippy Bags

Tundra F1                              - Marshalls                     - 100 Seeds - Sow By 09/2019
Primo 2                                  - Marshalls                     - 500 Seeds - Sow By 09/2018
Pixie                                       - Marshalls                     - 600 Seeds - Sow By 07/2017
Picador F1                             - Marshalls                     -   50 Seeds - Sow By 09/2017
Golden Acre/ Primo (II)         Mr Fothergill's              - GYO Magazine 2017
Savoy Estoril F1 Hybrid        - Thompson & Morgan   - Sow By 12/2016  
April Spring                           - Thompson & Morgan   - Sow By 12/2016
Greyhound                            - Wilco                            - Sow By 12/2015
Greyhound                            - Suttons 
Golden Acre                          - Goodlands                   - Sow By 12/2015
Hispi F1                                - Thompson & Morgan  
January King                        - Unknown


To be grown in 2020


Going through my extensive cabbage seed collection and looking for something that looks like it may provide the Spring Greens that SWMBO loves, I finally had a search and found a couple of varieties that are sold as Spring Greens. I purchased a pack of Spring Green Seeds - Greensleeves from Marshalls for £1.99 incl. P&P

SOW OUTDOORS: April-May or July-August. Sow thinly ½in (1cm) deep in a seed bed or clean module trays of firm pre watered compost. Keep soil moist at all times.

PLANT OUT: 6in (15cm) apart, in rows 12in (30cm) apart when plant has 3-4 true leaves.

HARVEST: October-November or April-May

Protect from Cabbage White Butterfly with netting.

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 2020

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.




The Greensleeves Spring Green seeds are the right candidates for trying again in my AGRALAN Compact Plug Plant Trainer.



Wednesday, 25 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - Broccoli


Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. ... If you are trying to eat healthier, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli should be at the very top of your grocery ...

That being said I've had a somewhat chequered history growing Broccoli as it you take your eye off it for a moment and it's a dry warm summer it bolts. For that reason and the lack of space I have favoured other vegetables over the last few years so what I have in my Seed Box is little and old 

Zippy Bags (Opened Packs)

Autumn Calabrese - Unwins - Best before 2015 in a Zippy bag 
Stromboli F1 - Suttons - Best before 06/2016 in an unopened packet 

Unopened Packs 

Autumn Calabrese - Thompson & Morgan - Seeds 100 - Sow By 2021 off Grow Your Own Magazine 

So for this year as I may have additional space depending how fast I can get the new half plot ready.  I will see what germination rate I get from the two packs dates 2015 & 2016 first and if not good will use the Thompson & Morgan pack with a sow by of 2021 I have, I will find space for them somewhere in the Brassica patch.

Autumn Calabrese 

Sow Indoors          - March - June 
Sow Outdoors       - April - June 
Harvest                 - July October

  • Outstanding Summer/Autumn variety
  • Smooth, domed, heads with medium beads 
  • Plenty of sideshoot production once central head is cut

Germination: 5 - 10 Days 
Plant Height: 450mm
Prefered Position: Full Sun

Sowing Instructions

Sow thinly in a well-prepared seed bed from April to June at a depth of 13mm in rows 300mm apart. Alternatively sow in pots or a seed tray of good seed compost and cover with 6mm of compost or vermiculite at a minimum of 15C until germination that takes around 7 days. 

Growing Instructions 

Thin seeds ro 100mm apart when large enough to handle. Transplant to their final positions around 5 weeks later when the seedlings have four or five leaves at a distance of 500mm apart, and cover with a protective netting or fleece. For indoor sowings, at first leaf stage , prick out into individual cell trays pr 75mm pots.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Christmas Eve In London


So a sleepover with the wife at a Luxury Hotel ...

OK It's not a hotel it's the Royal Brompton Hospital for a sleep study where the carer can stay as well. After eight years of being on a nocturnal ventilation system to ensure that her blood is oxygenated and C02 purged from her lungs and bloodstream it's time woman and machine were re calibrated. 

This makes for a crazy busy Christmas Eve once you get back on home turf, and you're having the Family over for Christmas Day.  

Have a great Christmas Day everyone...     

Monday, 23 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - Leeks


Leeks are something I have tried and not been particularly successful with, and didn't get around to sowing any in 2017, In 2018 I had better success but grew them as baby type and eat them as large spring onions.

No packets in zippy bags

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 2016

Atal (Baby type)                - 220 Seeds - £2.55 - Suttons - Sow By 6/2016
De Carentan 2                  - 300 Seeds              - Lidl - Sow By 12/2016
Herfstuezen 3 - Porvite     - 200 Seeds - £2.69 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2016

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 2017

Blue Green Winter             - 150 Seeds - £2.19 - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 05/2017

Musselburgh (Seed Tape) - 180 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017
Musselburgh (Seed Tape) - 180 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017
Musselburgh                      - 300 Seeds -    60p - Wilko - Sow By 2017 
Nipper (Baby Leeks)          - 250 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017
Nipper (Baby Leeks)          - 250 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 2018

Bulgaarse Reuzen Lincoln - 100 Seeds - £2.69 - Thompson & Morgan  - Sow By 12/2018

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 2020

Musselburgh                      - 500 Seeds - £1.89 - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020
Musselburgh                      - 500 Seeds - £1.89 - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020

Germination 14 - 21 Days

Alphabetical Listing

                                                  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 -

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice


The December solstice happens at the same instant for everyone, everywhere on Earth – and this year the Winter Solstice occurs on Sunday December 22, at 04:19 GMT in the Northern Hemisphere.


The Winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.4 degrees.


The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.


In the Southern Hemisphere, the opposite is true.


Soooo, were headed back to sunlight, and before you know it, Spring a new growing season and summer!

Saturday, 21 December 2019

In My Seed Box for 2020 - Parsnips


Parsnips were a bit of a failure in 2018 and didn't happen in 2019 due to my leg injury. So I'm looking forward to repeating the success of 2016 & 2017.

10p Poundland Carters Tested Seeds Tender & True Parsnips 200 seeds Sow By 2020
Free  Mr Fothergill's Student Parsnip 200 seeds Sow By 2021 
£2.45 Mr Fothergill's Palace F1  Parsnip 200 Seeds Sow By 2021
£2.09 Johnsons Tender and True Organic Parsnips Sow 350 Seeds By 2022
£1.00 Wilko White Gem 300 Seeds Sow By 2022

I'm going to try chitting and growing in kitchen towel & loo rolls early as well as direct sowing in 2020, I'm looking to fill a 2.4x1.2m Bed with just Parsnips if I can. 

What Varieties do you grow and had the most success with ?

When do you sow your Parsnips?

Do you chit the seeds or Sow Direct ?

Pondering .... Bright Lights Swiss Chard !

Now I have never eaten or tired Chard before, I would not have a clue how to cook it BUT I got a free pack off a magazine so do I try growing it and see if I like it OR do I buy some and try it before making my mind up about sowing it?

How many of you end up growing something you have never tried before because the seeds came free on a magazine ?

The feedback I got from postings re this on different Facebook allotment and gardening groups was quite staggering, and I'm definitely giving chard a go this year and I suspect more varieties next year as I have additional space now I have an additional half plot to play with.  



UPDATE 3rd January 2020


Just seen these Mr Fothergill's Chard Peppermint Seeds advertised on Facebook one to try in 2021 possibly.

£2.40 a pack but no information on the web site about how many seeds in a pack?

Can you update the website please Mr Fothergill's ?
  

Friday, 20 December 2019

In My Seed Box for 2020 - Squash


Historically I was really not a huge squash fan, until converted by the Squash Queen Beryl Randall over at Mud & Gluts, so for the last three years I have been growing and eating Butternut Squash. 

Now that I have additional space I'm having a bash at the Two New Varieties of Winter Squash from Thompson & Morgan the seed packs have just arrived in December as promised. 

  
Both packs have 12 seeds, Says Packed 2020 but received in 2019?  and Sow by Year End 2021. I'm really looking forward to growing and eating these two new varieties.

Other Squash seeds I have in my seed box include:-

Crown Prince - Seed Circle 2013
Black Futsu - Seed Circle 2014
Flat White Boer - Seed Circle 2015
Blue Ubbard - Seed Circle 2016 
Chetunao Organic Butternut Squash - Seed Circle 2017

Mr Fothergill's Butternut Squash 5 Seeds left - Sow By 2021
Johnsons Squash (Winter) 5 seeds left - Seeds Early Butternut - Sow By 2022

Waltham Butternut - 50 Seeds - Premier Seeds - Sow By Oct 2021
Butternut Winter Early Organic - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2022
Butterfly Butternut

I love the soup my Daughter Emma makes from my Butternuts and have a number of meals bagged frozen and ready to heat up and consume during 2020  



Butternut Squash Generally 

Sow Indoors - March to May
Sow Outdoors - May
Sow 3 of each variety into a pot edgeways into the compost, cover with 15mm of compost firm gently and keep moist 
Keep at approx. 15C - 20C 
Germination - Seedlings appear in 7-14 days  
Potting On at 5-6 leaf stage, stand outside for a few days in late May (avoid frost)  Transplant 600mm apart in growing position. 
Harvest July to October, Pick Regularly to encourage cropping

Tip When fruits start to swell give liquid feed every 7-10 days. 

Thursday, 19 December 2019

In My Seed Box For 2020 - Green Manure



My Green manures are kept in a tin in the allotment shed and they are always sown insitu and currently I don't have a clue what I have left. Note to self do Green Manure audit when next on the plot. 

Green manures are usually sown in late summer or autumn and mop up any nutrients, preventing them being washed away by winter rain. When dug in the following spring, they release these nutrients back into the soil. Winter grazing rye and winter tares are hardy green manures that will carry on growing all winter before being incorporated back into the soil in spring.

Green manures can also be used to cover bare patches of soil in the spaces between crops, or during intervals between one crop and the next. Fast-growing mustard sown before mid-September can be incorporated in October, for example, or the frosted remains left as mulch.

Summer-grown green manures such as buckwheat and fenugreek form dense foliage that will effectively suppress weeds.

Green manures belonging to the pea and bean family (legumes) have the additional capacity of storing (fixing) nitrogen from the air to their root nodules, but only in summer. Nitrogen is a valuable plant nutrient.
Other benefits of green manures include protection of the soil surface from compaction by rain and shelter for beneficial insects such as ground beetles.

How to use green manures
  • Sow seeds in rows, or broadcast them across the soil and rake into the surface
  • Once the land is needed for cropping, chop the foliage down and leave it to wilt
  • Dig the plants and foliage into the top 25cm (10in) of soil After digging in, the site should be left for two weeks or more before sowing or planting out as decaying green materials can hamper plant growth


Cultivar selection

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa): This perennial legume can be dug in after two or three months or left for one to two years; sow in April to July; good for alkaline soils. Nitrogen fixing may only occur if the seed is inoculated with nitrogen fixing bacteria prior to sowing.

Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum): This perennial legume can either be dug in after two or three months or left in for one or two years; good for wet, acid soils; sow in April to August.

Bitter blue lupin (Lupinus angustifolius): This perennial flowering legume suits light, sandy, acid soils; sow in March to June and leave for two or three months before digging in.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum): This half hardy annual will only grow in spring and summer best sown in April to August, it can be left for two or three months after sowing; grows well on nutrient-poor soils.

Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum): This perennial legume is good for light soils; sow in March to August and leave in for two or three months up to flowering.

Essex red clover (Trifolium pratense): This hardy perennial legume overwinters well and can be left in for two or three months or for one or two years after sowing; good for loamy soils; sow March to August.

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum): This annual legume will only grow in the spring and summer; it is unlikely to fix nitrogen in the UK.

Grazing rye (Secale cereale): This annual crop is good for soil structure and overwinters well; sow in August to November and dig in the following spring.

Mustard (Sinapis alba): This annual crop from the brassica family should not be followed by other brassicas, as it could encourage build-up of the disease clubroot; sow in March to September and leave for two or three months before digging in.

Phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia): Later sowings of this annual crop may overwinter in mild areas, but it is generally best sown in April to August and dug in after two or three months; its flowers are very pretty.

Trefoil (Medicago lupulina): This legume can be annual or biennial and overwinters well but needs light, dry alkaline soil; it can be dug in after two or three months or left for one or two years after sowing; sow in March to August.

Winter field bean (Vicia faba): This annual legume can be left for two or three months after sowing (up to flowering) and is good for heavy soils; sow in September to November.

Winter tares (Vicia sativa): This annual legume is hardy and overwinters well, even in heavy soils; sow either in March to August and leave for two or three months before digging in, or sow in July to September for overwintering.

Problems

A dense carpet of green makes a perfect environment for slugs and snails so control measures may be needed after green manuring.

Decaying green manures can suppress plant growth, so allow at least two weeks between incorporation and planting or sowing.

Club Root can be a problem with green manures in the cabbage family such as mustard.