Wednesday 30 November 2022

Beast from the East 2022 On It's Way


One thing is sure, that the temperatures have dropped over the last few days, and it feels like the warnings could be right even though it is the Daily Express.

More and more warnings dropping into my news feed, and it's feeling a lot colder out there this afternoon. let's take a look at the weather forecast ...

Looking like cold possibly frosty weather (3C and below) from the 6th December onwards. I don't mind cold days on the allotment, but I can't be doing wet, and I still have so much to get done on the plot before the next growing season kicks off in 2023.   

Gomphrena Atomic Purple

Gomphrena Atomic Purple - Mr Fothergills - 50 Seeds - £2.95 - Item Code 39207 

Plant Class  Half-hardy annual
Height 600mm (2 feet)
Spread 300mm (1 foot)

Charming rounded flower heads provide a contrast to other flowers in the garden. Drought resistant and great for fresh or dried cut flowers.

Half-hardy plants cannot withstand winter wet and cold and will be killed by the frosts. However, you don't need to wait until the warmer weather to get going – sow your seeds or grow your seedlings in a light, frost-free place, protecting them under cover until the frosts are over.

Growing Instructions

Sow Indoors February -April, 5mm (1/4") deep in trays of compost. Keep moist and warm at approx. 15-20C (60-68F). Transplant seedling 50mm (2") apart to other trays when large enough to handle. Grow on in cooler, but not cold conditions. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts) before planting out 250mm (10") apart, when frosts are over. 

Flowering /Harvesting June- September.  

For some reason I ended up with three packs of theses seeds in my bulk order from Mr Fothergills. I had not requested them, but hay you never look a gifted pack of seeds or three in the mouth even if they are flowers and not vegetables.  

Tuesday 29 November 2022

More Basil in 2023

If you are a regular visitor to then you will know that I've not really been into herbs until earlier this year when I grew Basil Ganovese supplied by Joe as part of the Joe Mills - Grow With Me for 2022. Now I'm hooked and in 2023 I'm trying two additional varieties of basil that are New for 2023 to Suttons and Organic Gardening Catalogue.

for 2023 Code 70 00 15 Basil Loki - Organic Gardening Catalogue - 140 Seeds - £1.99

Basil Loki is a new generation of Genovese basil armed with improved resistance to mildew and is the ultimate selection for organic growers. 

Downy mildew is a common problem with basil, and it can rapidly spread through neighbouring plants. Basil ‘Loki’ resists infection and has also been bred to adapt to our cooler UK climate, producing crops of bright green, healthy leaves throughout the summer. 

Sow under glass - Feb-June
Plant out              - May - June
Sow Outside        - June
Spacing                - 250mm x 250mm
Harvest                - June - October 

Sow in a propagator on a windowsill, cover with 5mm compost. Germination 14-21 days. Grow on, plant out after frosts 200 - 250mm apart. Can be sown direct outside in June. 
Height and spread: 300mm (12").

for 2023 Code 10 02 82 Basil Purple Ball - Suttons 15 Seeds - £3.99 

Basil ‘Purple Ball’ is so ornamental, it can even be used as a foliage filler alongside brightly coloured bedding in a container or window box. 

A Greek-style variety, it bears small, highly flavoured, purple leaves which naturally grow into a dense ball. Wonderful for edging veg beds or as a decorative addition to the kitchen window sill, this clove-flavoured culinary herb is indispensable for tomato-based dishes. Height and spread: 300mm (12”).

Monday 28 November 2022

Rote Kugel Beetroots

Rote Kugel - Organic Gardening Catalogue - 145 Seeds - £3.49 - Code 70 00 12 - Packed 2023

 Early maturing variety with good bolt resistance

 Easily growing to giant proportions

 Re-selected from Scottish seed vault

 Great for the show bench or the kitchen

Beetroot ‘Rote Kugel 2’ is a high yielding, early maturing variety with good bolt resistance. Produces large, globe-shaped, well coloured beets which are potential show bench winners. The purple flushed leaves are delicious in salads. Height: 30cm (12"). Spread: 15cm (6").
Selected by me to add to my seed box primarily because of its early maturing and bolt resistance, and that it's a variety I have not grown before. 

Sunday 27 November 2022

Seedoholics Anonymous

I could not get to the allotment today, just too much rain, so I did the next best thing and visited the Seeds To Suit web site

14 packs of seeds with the MANVSLUG10 10% Discount code £5:10 with P&P £6.50

Now to update the In My Seed Box For 2023 - Index 

In My Seed Box For 2023 - Spring Onions


In previous years I have done really well with Spring onions, I have two or three with my sandwich most lunchtimes. A note has been added to my Sowing & Planting Plan for 2023 so I can get Spring Onions going a month earlier than previous years.

The life expectancy of Onion seeds is 2 - 4 years, and most suppliers have a two year gap between packed and sow by date.

All but the sow by 2021 seeds were removed from the Seed Box in 2022.   

In 2022 my sister treated me to a couple of packs of Lidl - De Barletta Spring onions and I bought 3 more packs in April when I went shopping.

These have sow dates between February - April and August - November and are Frost-Resistant for harvest in spring and summer. 

Germination is 15 - 20 days and soil temperature needs to be between 8 - 10C  No seed count but pack say enough for 10m of sowing.   

Lilia - 550 Seeds -  £2.49  - 43 79 38 - were a new variety from Dobies in 2022 and I have to say they are a great bulb spring onion that have really grown well and have lasted from being picked, and I will be growing these again in 2023 and buying more seeds for 2024 

Lilia is a dual-purpose Italian variety with a robust flavour. Dark pinky/purple base, tapering to dark green leaves Spring Onion Lilia is best grown as a salad onion. Its eye-catching dark green leaves and a shiny, intense red inner core make a great addition to a summer salad. Plants can also be grown as a maincrop, storing bulb onion. When fully mature it shows off its defined red and white inner rings. 

Sow March-July 

For salads, best sown in broad drills sparingly April - July, into finely raked, firm soil at a depth of 10mm in rows 300mm apart. (Germination 14 - 21 days). No thinning necessary. Bulbs will be quite large if left to mature. Sow a pinch of seeds regularly for continuous production. 

For bulb onions best sown 3-4 seeds per small pot in a propagator or greenhouse during march April at approx. 15C eventually planting outside. 

Best grown in ground that has been manured the previous autumn. Water freely in dry weather. 

Harvest June-October.

Sow By 2023 
Ramrod                                   - 250 Seeds - £1.00       - wilko - Sow By 2023

Sow By 2024 

De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
De Barletta (Bulb)                   - 10 metres  -      49p       - Lidl - Sow By 2024
Lilia (Bulb)                               - 550^ Seeds - £2.49         - Dobies - Sow By 2024
White Star                               - 550^ Seeds - £2.49         - Dobies - Sow By 2024    
Snow Queen F1 (Bunching)    - 300 Seeds - £                 - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024
Tokyo Long White                    -1200 Seeds - £                 - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024
North Holland Bloodred Redmate - 1200 Seeds £                 - Premier Seeds- Sow By 2024

^ Opened Pack               

Sow By 2025 

White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
White Lisbon                           - 450 Seeds -      75p*     - Wilko - Sow By 2025
Guardsman                             - 350 Seeds -  £2.55       - Wilko - Sow By 2026          

Sow By 2026 

Ishikura (bunching)                 - 375 Seeds - £1.00*       - Wilko - Sow By 2026
Ishikura (bunching)                 - 375 Seeds - £1.00*       - Wilko - Sow By 2026
Ramrod                                   - 250 Seeds - £1.00*       - wilko - Sow By 2026
Ramrod                                   - 250 Seeds - £1.00*       - wilko - Sow By 2026

* Purchased in the Wilko 50% 0ff sale 

Alphabetical Listing of Varieties historically grown 

                                                Sowing            Harvest

Arrow                                     Mar - Apr          Aug - Nov
Feast F                                  Mar - Jul          Jun - Onwards ( Winter hardy) 
Gerda                                    Mar - Jun          May-Dec - Marshalls
Ishikura                                  Mar - May        Jun - Sep - Thompson & Morgan
Ishikura                                  Mar - Jul          May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's
Ishikura                                  Feb* - Jun         12 Weeks after Sowing - Kings Seeds
Lilia                                        Apr - Jul            Jun - Oct
Long White Ishikura               Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Johnsons
North Holland Blood Red       Feb - Jul           Apr - Oct
Pompeii                                  Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
                        Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
Ramrod                                  Mar - Jun          May - Oct - wilco
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)  Mar - Sep         Mar - Nov - wilco 
White Lisbon                          Mar - Sep         May - Oct - Thompson & Morgan
White Lisbon                          Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's
White Star                              Mar - Aug                  - Dobies
White Star                              Sept to overwinter 

* Under Glass 

Sowing Plan for 2023

In 2017 spring onions were grown in vending machine cups in tray modules and transplanted into the onion beds plant membrane, but white rot got a few and the rest had to be harvested early or disposed off.

In 2018 I tried to grow them in cut down square flower buckets but the results weren't very good, saying that the Spring was unnaturally warm and dry.

From 2020 a return to growing in vending machine cups in tray modules and transplanted into the onion beds plant membrane, 

Looking at the back of the seed packets, yes I do read them! What I find interesting is the different guidance provided by different seed companies for the same variety of plant. for example, looking at Ishikura Spring Onions from Wilko, Thompson & Morgan & Mr Fothergill

Sowing Outdoors

Mar - May ~ Thompson & Morgan
Mar - Jun ~ Wilko
Mar - July ~ Mr Fothergills

Frequency of Sowing

Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both suggest every 2 - 3 weeks for a continuous supply throughout the summer, interestingly Thompson & Morgan advice is that "The long harvest period means one sowing lasts the whole season!" which is kind of mad as there harvest period is shorter than both Wilko & Mr Fothergills ! Thompson & Morgan also states "Can be harvested pencil-thin or thinner, or left to mature to carrot size" although they don't state what kind of carrot.  


Wilko & Mr Fothergills both suggest no thinning is required whereas Thompson & Morgan state it is!


May - Oct ~ Wilko
Jun -  Sep ~ Thompson & Morgan
May - Oct ~ Mr Fothergills


Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both state 14 - 21 days and Thompson & Morgan provides no information on germination, I have seen this missing on quite a lot of their packs and it's something I'm and I guess most other gardeners are actually quite interested in.

I know that like Structural Engineers, if you get four or five gardeners together and ask them a question you are likely to get three different answers but until I see what other suppliers of Ishikura Spring Onions have to say, I think I will ignore T&M and go with the guidance from Wilko & Mr Fothergill.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Courgette - Summer Holiday

Mr Fothergill's Courgette - Summer Holiday - 10 Seeds - Item Code 29382 - £3.35

Their web site says, "This customer favourite variety is back!" so not completely new to Mr Fothergills for 2023, but to me up until now courgettes are and have been mini green long mini marrow like plants, that if you don't pick them at the right time turn into marrows! 

Summer Holliday produce large crops of rounded, colourful and eye-catching beach ball looking courgettes. Again, Mr Fothergills web page says they are "Very popular in Italy, their shape makes them ideal for stuffing, or steamed whole." 

Packed with great flavour and texture, they are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Sow indoor: for surest results, 13mm(½in) deep, on edge, in small pots of compost. Water well and place in a warm position. A temperature of 15-20°C(60-68°F) is ideal. Keep moist. Seedlings usually appear in 7-14 days. Gradually accustom plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts), before planting out 600mm(2ft) apart, when frosts are over.

Sow outdoors: for ease, where they are to crop, 13cm(½in) deep directly into finely prepared soil which has already been watered. Allow 600mm (2ft) between sowing positions. Sow two seeds on edge per position. Early sowings benefit from cloche protection. Thin to leave the stronger plant. Water well until plants are established.

Friday 25 November 2022

Mr Fothergill's - Radish Whitella F1

NEW to Mr Fothergill's - Whitella F1 Radish - Item Code 38215 - 300 Seeds - £2.40

The Mr Fothergills web site says "Premium quality, crisp tasty roots. This fast-growing variety is ideal for seasonal growing. Slow to turn woody, it’s highly trusted and performed strongly on our trials."

Now I got this radish because I have grown white radishes before and quite liked them. Doing a little digging on the internet, I have found out that Whitella F1 is the first white radish hybrid on the market. 

Average to long strong leaves, good leaf attachment. Clear white bulb colour. Round uniform bulbs. Cross section diameter up to 35 mm. Rapidly growing and very productive variety. High tolerance to splitting and drying out (except in cold conditions). 

Good internal quality. Good and long storage life and storing quality. High resistance against false mildew on foliage and bulb. 

High Fusarium ox resistance. Suitable for bunching. Growing in greenhouse: year-round sowing is possible, but not during hot summers (long leaf) and cold winters (risk of splitting).

Beautiful white radish with good uniformity and internal quality. With stress it may develop a faint pink cap near the stem attachment but remains attractive. With medium to tall tops.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Dwarf, Climbing & Runner Beans

Dobies have a selection of New Dwarf, Climbing and Runner Beans that they have added to their catalogue for 2023 and here are the three that I have added to my seed box for hopefully growing on the new climbing greenhouse frame that I hope to get erected before the growing season next year.

Dwarf bean
French Dior - Code 41 10 21 - 120 Seeds - £2.99

 Extremely high yielding

 The beans keep their colour when cooked

 Very disease resistant including mosaic virus

Well flavoured, crunchy beans which are easy to spot due to their yellow colour. Dwarf Bean ‘Dior’ is an RHS Award of Garden Merit winner, which forms compact, sturdy plants, reliably setting high yields of uniform pods about 13cm long. Height: 450mm (18"). Spread: 300mm (12").

Companion planting: Try growing French beans with Nasturtiums to draw aphids away from your crop.

Climbing French bean
Sunshine - Code 41 10 22 - 45 Seed - £3.49

Sunshine-yellow round-podded climbing beans perfect to grow in a small space
Generous crops of sweet tender pods over a long period
Easy to see on the plants
These sunshine yellow beans stand out beautifully against the foliage to make picking easy. Climbing Bean ‘French Sunshine’ is a reliable, disease-resistant variety from the same breeder as the excellent Climbing Bean ‘Cobra’. It produces generous crops of tender pods which reach up to 17-18cm long. The waxy, yellow pods are stringless and sweet flavoured and continue cropping over a long period. Height: 1800mm (70"). Spread: 300mm (12").

Runner Bean
Black Knight - Code 41 10 23 - 20 Seeds - £3.99

 Pods mature to an unusual purple black

 Easy to spot and harvest

 A decorative addition to the veg plot

Your runner beans don’t have to be green! Runner Bean ‘Black Knight’ produces pods which start off green but mature to a purple black making them easy to spot and harvest. 

Attractive bright red flowers and juicy pods. 

Height: 3m (10'). Spread: 300mm (12").

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Seeds To Suit Newsletter

I've received and been mentioned in the Seeds to Suit November newsletter, which was very nice of Sandra.

In addition, Seed To Suit have set up a Discount code

Enter MANVSLUG10 at checkout to receive 10% OFF!  

This Discount Code has been set up for readers and for Allotment holders from the 36 Allotment sites within the London Borough of Sutton. 

Terms and Conditions 

This Discount Code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. 

There is no minimum spend value  

This Discount Code is Valid until November 2023, and if well supported it could be an ongoing discount code. 

Small Print (OK it's the same as the rest) - I'm not on any form of commission when you are using the code, I like where I can, to support small UK Based companies that offer a great products, and services at sensible prices. 

Now I really recommend that you subscribe to the Seeds To Suit newsletter, they will not bombard you with time limited "fear close" offers like Marshalls, Suttons, Dobies, D.T.Browns, Mr Fothergills and other larger seed companies. 

What you will receive is a monthly newsletter, that will let you know of Offers and Discounts, Whats gone Organic and Whats New. What to sow that month etc. 

From the newsletters I've seen going back to the beginning of 2022 there is normally a Sal's Kitchen item and there has been a different Herb from the Herb Garden featured each month.  

Seed To Suit Gift Cards 

With Christmas on the way why not give the 'Grower' in your life a Seed To Suit Gift Card to allow them to purchase the seeds of their choice. With denominations of £5, £10, £15 and £20 they are a perfect fit for everyone's pocket.







Kale Borecole Vates Blue Curled Organic - just 39p

Buy Me!





American Land Cress - packed full of vitamins and requires less water than standard Watercress!

Buy Me!



Aquilegia Columbine Crimson Star - this beautiful self seeding perennial is a must for the borders!

Buy Me!



Cauliflower All Year Round - for the longest harvest!

Buy Me!



Goji Berry - this perennial provide a bountiful harvest of fruits full of antioxidants!

Buy Me!