Saturday 31 December 2022

Aubergine Three Knight Collection

Aubergine Three Knight Collection - Dobies - 9 Seeds - £4.49 has been added to my seed box for 2023 

This champion trio of Aubergine 'Green Knight', 'Violet Knight' and 'White Knight' not only looks fantastic in the greenhouse, but also looks great on the plate and offers a rewarding variety of flavours and textures for all your recipes.

The ‘Knight’ collection bear slender, smooth-skinned fruits in green, white and deep purple which are suitable for both typical Mediterranean dishes as well as Asian cuisine.  Early to mature and high-yielding, fruits are borne on compact, disease-resistant and well-branching plants which are perfect for container-growing in the greenhouse.

Aubergines are becoming increasingly popular with chefs who recognise their versatility in the kitchen – they can be sauteed, grilled, baked or fried and readily soak up flavours, providing a tasty and satisfying substitute for meat in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  Height: 75cm (30”). Spread: 60cm (24”).

Aubergine 'Three Knight Recipe Collection' F1 comprises 9 seeds, 3 of each of the following varieties:

  • Aubergine 'Green Knight' F1 - slender, jade-green fruits which are especially useful as an ingredient in Asian stir fries and curries, with firm flesh and a mild-sweet flavour.
  • Aubergine 'Violet Knight' F1 - long, banana-like fruits with a smooth, deep purple skin. 
  • Aubergine 'White Knight' F1 - Asian-type variety producing creamy-white fruits about 20cm long with thin skins and firm flesh.

Friday 30 December 2022

Thursday 29 December 2022

Waltons favourite blogging stories from December


So nice to get a mention and a link in the Waltons favourite blogging stories from December. This post was also mentioned in the December Newsletter from Seeds To Suit their site is worth a visit and their newsletter is worth subscribing to. 

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Onion Galacticus Seeds

New to Dobie for 2023 Onion Galacticus Seeds - 100 Seeds - £3.49 and now added to my Onions from Seeds list 

  Easily growing to giant proportions

  Re-selected from a Scottish seed vault

  Great for the show bench or the kitchen

Producing massive bulbs, Onion ‘Galacticus’ is certainly one to draw attention on the show bench. White skinned, perfectly uniform bulbs have mildly flavoured, crisp flesh.  

Height: 45cm (18"). Spread: 15cm (6").

I do have plans for Onion Sets but this year I will be trying growing from seeds once again and hoping I have the success I had in 2016 and 2017. .   

Monday 26 December 2022

Mustard Leaves (Autumn Sowing Mix)


A fantastic mix of mustard leaves to keep you cropping all Autumn/Winter

Spicy like rocket when used raw in salads and sandwiches

Mild like spinach when cooked in soups

Mustard Leaves (Autumn Sowing)  - 500 Seeds - £2.49  - Dobies - Sow By 2025

This mix of fiery mustard leaves will spice up salad bowls, sandwiches and stir fries, adding both flavour and colour. Hardy enough to harvest through autumn and winter, this is an easy, space-saving crop which is indispensable for the kitchen garden. Height and Spread: 150mm (6”).

The web site has the above graphic showing it can be grown and harvested all year, the packet however tells a different story! So which one is correct? 

Saturday 24 December 2022

Facts About Cucumbers

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don't have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don't have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don't have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a 'green' way to clean your taps, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the
shine, but is won't leave streaks and won't harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing, also works great on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls!!

Thursday 22 December 2022

New Tomatoes for 2023

Tomato Buffalosun F1 - Suttons - 6 seeds - £4.99 - Cordon - Item Code 100303

Tomato ‘Buffalosun’ has heirloom looks and aroma combined with the benefits of hybrid vigour. This meaty, beefsteak tomato has the typical ribbed shape but is an unusual amber colour with a red blush and an attractive marbled interior which makes for a colourful salad tomato. 
The 4-inch fruit has sweet, tender flesh. A productive tomato with good resistance to late blight. Height: 1.8m (6’). Spread: 50cm (20").

Bite Size - Suttons - 6 Seeds -  £2.99 - Cordon - Item Code 100304

Awarded an RHS AGM for its excellent garden performance, Tomato ‘Bite Size’ is super-sweet and delicious! In fact, it has a higher sugar to acidity ratio than most other cherry varieties. The small cherry tomatoes, each weighing 8-12g, are borne in long trusses. 

This vigorous variety will produce up to 6kg of fruit with regular side-shooting, giving you more than enough tasty tomatoes for your family’s salads, snacks and lunch boxes.

This cordon variety is perfect for containers or planters in the greenhouse or on the patio, but can also be planted in a sunny spot in the garden. Height: 200cm (79"). Spread: 50cm (20").

Tomato Red Pear
 - Organic Gardening Catalogue - 48 seeds - £3.99 Item Code 780615 - Cordon.

Producing large trusses of sweet, unusual pear-shaped cherry tomatoes, Tomato 'Red Pear' is high-yielding and vigorous variety ideal for either greenhouse or outdoor growing. You won't be able to resist eating the fleshy fruits straight off the plant! Height: 180cm (6ft). Spread: 50cm (20in).
Producing large trusses of sweet, unusual pear-shaped cherry tomatoes, Tomato 'Red Pear' is high-yielding and vigorous variety ideal for either greenhouse or outdoor growing.

Merrygold F1 - Mr Fothergill's - 10 seeds - £2.80 - item Code 32585

The world’s first blight resistant orange fruited variety. Plants are high yielding, producing a mass of brightly, rich orange toms.

Taste is sweet with a slight tangy flavour, making them perfect for summer salads. Indeterminate.

Red Bodyguard F1 - Mr Fothergill's - 10 seeds - £3.35 - Item Code 25462 
Large crops of tasty, fleshy fruit, shows some resistance to blight. Indeterminate (needs support), outdoors or greenhouse. Excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
This tomato gets its name from a book! "The Red Bodyguard: The Amazing Health-promoting Properties of the Tomato" by Ron Levin. Ron's daughter-in-law Sarah Levin contacted us to see if a new tomato might be named in honour of her father-in-law's 90th birthday. It is an indeterminate, early cropping, high yielding, new strain, with some resistance to late blight, which produces medium-sized, juicy fruits.  

(Standard) Paoline F1 - 
Mr Fothergill's - 10 seeds - £ 4.45 - item Code 39185

Always scoring highly in taste tests, the plants are highly productive and show good resistance to blight. Indeterminate, (needs support) grow outdoors or in a greenhouse.

Rubylicious F1 - Dobies - Cordon - 20 seeds - £2.99  item code 411053 Cordon

This incredible new cherry tomato is the perfect blend of modern disease resistance and good, old fashioned flavour! Tomato 'Rubylicious' boasts superb blight resistance, so your plants won’t be struck down in their prime. What makes this variety so special is its incredible sweetness and rich, tangy flavour. Each truss produces up to 12 orangey-red, cherry tomatoes weighing around 15g per fruit. This indeterminate variety is sure to become a favourite for salads, snacks and lunchboxes!

This cordon variety is perfect for containers or planters in the greenhouse or on the patio, but can also be planted in a sunny spot in the garden. Height: 200cm (79"). Spread: 50cm (20").

Rapunzel F1 - Suttons - Cordon - 6 Seeds - £3.99 Item Code 100305

Best grown in the greenhouse, tomato ‘Rapunzel’ is a new indeterminate variety producing incredibly long, cascading trusses, each loaded with up to 40 glossy red cherry tomatoes! The irresistibly sweet fruits are perfect for snacking straight off the plant. An impressive variety producing huge yields of tomatoes over a long period. Height: 180-200cm (71-79in). Spread: 50cm (20in)

Brandywine Red Beefsteak - Seeds To Suit - 5 Seeds - 59p

An American heirloom beefsteak variety. the large vines produce heavy crops of deep red fruit weighing 200-400g. Sow seeds 2mm deep. 

keep the seeds moist and use a propagator or a warm windowsill. 

Minimum temperature 18 - 20C. 

Days to Germination 6 - 14 days. 

Transplant when seedlings are large enough to handle. 

Plant out when 200mm Acclimatise to cooler conditions if planting outside.

Keep moist and feed with a liquid fertilizer fortnightly when the first fruits appear. 

A lovely sweet and mild flavoured pear shaped yellow tomatoes. 

A vigorous plant that gives a great crop. Needs pinching out.

Sow seeds 2mm deep. keep the seed compost moist and use a propagator or a warm windowsill.

Minimum temperature 18 - 20C. 

Days to Germination 6 - 14 days. 

Transplant when seedlings are large enough to handle. 

Plant out when 200mm Acclimatise to cooler conditions if planting outside.

Keep moist and feed with a liquid fertilizer fortnightly when the first fruits appear. 

(Plum) Alfresco - Mr Fothergill's - 10 seeds - £ FREE SEED - Item Code 39211

No Photographs as Free Seed and not on their web site yet! A compact bush type, tolerant of variable temperatures and resistant to verticillium and fusarium, ideal for cooler climates. Determinate, (bushy habit) best grown outdoors. 

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Happy Winter Solstice

he winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun appears at its most southerly position, directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn

There are actually two ways in which the seasons are defined in the United Kingdom:-

  • For Meteorological purposes, winter covers the months of December, January and February. This allows for exact comparison between years and ignores, for example, fluctuations caused by leap years in the Solstice dates.
  • However, the Astronomical winter is defined by the equinoxes and solstices. So it runs from December 21 or 22 to March 20 or 21.
All I know is that the days will gradually get longer and the night shorter and I will not feel so SAD as I'm sure I'm part solar powered. lets get Christmas over and done with and hopefully some mild drier weather so I can actually get down onto my allotment and get the huge list of chores done before we kick of sowing and planting. 

In My Seed Box for 2023 - 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 seven years I have been growing and eating Butternut Squash. If kept in ideal conditions Squash seeds can last 6 - 10 years.

In 2020 I had a bash at the two New Varieties of Winter Squash from Thompson & Morgan, one a Mash and the other an alternative to baked potatoes. 

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 will likely find somewhere to squeeze them in for 2023 especially as Emma has requested that I grow some.  

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.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

In My Seed Box for 2023 - Peppers


In 2023 peppers will be started off in a portable grow station in doors in February, moved out to the external grow house in March and finally into the space saver and allotment greenhouses, as I now have two functioning greenhouses. 

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Sweet Mixed                        - 50 Seeds - Free with Mag - Kings Seeds - Sow By 12/2019
Sweet Lunchbox Mix           -   6 Seeds -  £2.99 - unwins - Sow By 09/2018
Sweet Summer Salad Mix   - 12 Seeds  - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 09/2019
Sweet Boneta                      - 15 Seeds  - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 09/2020
Sweet California Wonder     - 35 Seeds - Free with Mag - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2021
Sweet Lemon Dream           -   6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2020
Sweet Tangerine Dream      -   6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021
Chilli Longhorn F1               -    6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2022
Chilli Longhorn F1               -    6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2022
Chilli Moruga Red                -   6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021
Chilli Pepper Lancer            -   6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021  
Chilli Machu Pichu               -   6 Seeds - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021
Hot Red                               -   6 Seeds - Mr Fothergill's David Domoney - Sow By 2021
Sweet Paragon                    - 10 Seeds - D.T.Brown - Sow By 2025 

Alphabetical Listing

                                                  Sowing          Sowing         Plant                Harvest
                                                  Indoors          Outdoors     Out

Chilli Lancer                              Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Chilli Machu Pichu                    Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Chilli Moruga Red                     Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Hot Red                                    Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Sweet Boneta                                               Late Mar - April                         Jul - Frost
Sweet California Wonder          Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Sweet Lemon Dream                Feb - April                          50mm tall            Jul - Oct
Sweet Lunchbox Mix                 Feb - April                          50mm tall            Jul - Oct
Sweet Mixed                             Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Sweet Paragon                         Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct                  Sweet Summer Salad Mix        Mar - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct
Sweet Tangerine Dream           Feb - April                          May - Jun            Jul - Oct

Germination 7 - 14 days

Monday 19 December 2022

In My Seed Box For 2023 - Sweetcorn


My daughter Kelly declared early on in my ownership of an allotment that all sweetcorn grown was hers. Historically we have had some great harvests and the two types of corn that I have grown have been Swift and Lark F1. 2017 was extremely disappointing but it would appear that most people in the UK had a bad year with their Sweetcorn. 

In 2019 Marshalls sent me two different varieties to trial which were Alliance F1 and Tyson F1 again due to the leg injury I didn't get the infrastructure in to trial both varieties in 2019. 

The results with Marshalls Alliance F1 Hybrid Sweetcorn were nothing more than spectacular (see photos of harvest here) and I have to say they were the best Sweetcorn that I have grown to date, Tyson F1 grown in 2021 were good but not as good as Alliance. 

In 2022 I attempted to grow Marshalls Moonshine F1 - 50 Seeds - £2.99 - packed year ending 03/21 and best before date 09/2022 The germination rate was less that 40% and what did finally grow got hit by the rats with fluffy tails that run along the top of the wall that's built on my plot boundary.

A second planting of Sweetcorn Picasso F1  - 35 Seeds - a New Variety to Mr Fothergill's in 2022 was tried, the germination rate was poor and then the rats with fluffy tails hit regardless of the pop bottles I had placed over the corns and I ended up with only 8 corns that were viable. Worst year for sweetcorn ever. 

I have 3 different planting membranes that can be used for sweet corn they are 18, 21 & 24 holes and look like this 

Regardless of which two varieties I grow in 2023 I'm going to have to build cages to protect the sweet corns from the squirrels on and around the allotment site. 

Sweet Corn Illusion F1 - 25 Seeds - a new variety from Dobies - Cost £2.49 - packed Year ending 2021 Sow By 2024

I could use the 24 hole planting sheet if I get 100% germination.  A 21 hole planting sheet would be ideal and would allow for up to 84% Germination.

Sweet Corn Eden F1 - Suttons - 20 Seeds - Cost £ 4.49 - Item Code 10 03 00 - Packed year ending 2022 - Sow By 2025

A 21 hole planting sheet would be ideal if there is 100% germination, 18 hole works for a 90% germination rate. 

Sweet Corn Pot Of Gold F1 - Suttons - 20 Seeds - Cost £4.99 - Item Code 10 02 99 - Packed year ending 2023 - Sow By 2026 

A 21 hole planting sheet would be ideal if there is 100% germination, 18 hole works for a 90% germination rate.  

I'm Planning to have two beds of Sweetcorn  illusion F1 & Eden F1, one on Plot 1 and the other on Plot 1A because I have two different varieties growing, and don't want any cross pollination problems.