Thursday 29 February 2024

Dobies - New Brussels Sprouts for 2024

Dobies have kindly sent me two new varieties of Brussels Sprouts that they have added to their catalogue this year called Marte & Churchill and both are F1

Brussels Sprout 'Marte' - Dobies, Average of 20 seeds per pack cost £3.49

A mild, sweet-tasting variety with no bitterness Well-spaced, mid-green buttons Vigorous plants producing good yields

Brussels Sprout 'Marte' is a superb F1 Hybrid, boasting a coveted RHS AGM. From October to Christmas these vigorous plants produce heavy yields of large, rounded sprouts that are well spaced on the stem for easy picking. 

The tasty buttons have a strong flavour with a delicate sweetness that leaves no bitterness or aftertaste in the mouth. With a lovely mid-green colour, these delicious Brussels Sprouts are the perfect accompaniment to your Christmas dinner.

Height: 75cm (30"). Spread: 50cm (20").

Brussels Sprout ‘Churchill’ -  Dobies, Average of 20 seeds per pack cost £2.99 on Sale for 89p at the time of this post.

A first early variety maturing late August to October. British bred vigorous and easy to grow. Churchill produces good yields of tight evenly spaced buttons

Brussels Sprout ‘Churchill’ is an easy-to-grow, first early variety, maturing remarkably early from late August to October. It produces good yields of large to medium, tight, evenly spaced buttons with an excellent flavour. It is well adapted to a variety of climates. 

Height: 75cm (30"). Spread: 50cm (20").

Watching The Weather

Despite the cold temperatures and the record breaking amount of rain for February this year, It's been good to have a couple of bright sunny days recently. 

With it getting brighter earlier and staying lighter later and knowing that sowing frenzy time is approaching for my area, I'm now taking a little more interest in the weather and the temperatures, I do after all have potatoes chitting in the space saver greenhouse without their insulated mushroom trays. 

Looks like a cold dip again over this weekend, but some sunny weather popping up and hopefully some windows of opportunity for me to try and get down to the allotment.

One has to remember that although it look like spring is on its way, we are only really in Fools Spring at the moment  and history has taught me that anything can and will happen weather wise in the next two months before our usual last frost date of the end of April. 

Today there will be some more sowing of cabbages to go on the back bedroom window cill and once they are germinated they will go out into the space saver greenhouse.  

Wednesday 28 February 2024

I'm Just A Weak Seed-a-holic II


Resistance was futile today, so I sowed some Brussels Sprout seeds.

They have slightly different harvest ranges, and I'm hoping for a good mixture in the bed.

I will be sowing a second batch in a couple of weeks time.

In My Seed Box For 2024 - 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 list.

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 was in my Seed Box was a little and old. 

The average life of Broccoli seed is 5-8 years if kept in favourable conditions, however I have discarded the old seed in favour of New Varieties released for 2021 and 2022 four from Dobies and one pack from Mr Fothergill's. 

Normally I grow the more traditional varieties of Broccoli and we love to have it with a Sunday or any other day roast dinner. In 2023 I managed to get the Broccoli in before the cancer bomb dropped and we had a good harvest of the purple broccoli which I had not grown before. We liked it so much I will be sowing purple broccoli again this year. 

I don't normally have problems growing broccoli, I do however sometimes have trouble catching it at the right time to harvest, especially being a carer and not being able to get down the allotment as frequently as I would like.

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2024

Claret F1                          -  40 Seeds - £2.55 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Feb/2021
Purple Rain F1                 -  40 Seeds - £3.99 - D.T.Brown - Packed YE Sept/2021
Purple Rain F1                 -  40 Seeds - £3.99 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Sept/2022
Santee F1 (Sprouting)      -  40 Seeds - £3.99 - Dobies - Packed YE Sept/2021

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2025

Blue Finn                          -  20 Seeds - £3.99 - Sutton - Packed YE 2022 Sow By 7/2025
Broccoltto                         -  30 Seeds - 39p - Seeds To Suit - Packed YE 2023

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2026

(Autumn) Babilon F1         -  30 Seeds - £3.99 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Jul/2023
White Sprouting Burbank - 150 Seeds - £3.01 - Mr Fothergill's - Packed YE Nov/ 2022

Details of the varieties listed above 

New in 2021 Dobies - 43 25 19 - Broccoli (Sprouting) Purple Rain F1 - 20 Seeds £2.99

Months of great flavoured, nutritious purple spears!

Purple Rain is a British bred, purple-headed stem broccoli, producing a delicious crop from the summer well into the autumn. The main head can be harvested as single broccoli or left to split and form long spears like purple sprouting broccoli. Producing compact broccoli plants compared to purple sprouting broccoli, it is, therefore, better for exposed sites. Easy to grow, it is an exceptionally rewarding brassica and the perfect addition to any home vegetable patch or allotment.

Sow March - June directly into a finely raked seedbed at a dpth of 13mm (1/2") 

Germination 7 - 14 Days 

Transplant when large enough to handle leaving 380mm (15") between plants both ways. Alternatively, the seeds can be started in Modules/ trays in a cold frame or cold greenhouse and planted out after the last frost.

Protect with netting to avoid butterfly attack. 

Sowing to cropping: 16 - 18 weeks.

Cropping months before purple sprouting broccoli, you will harvest Purple Rain from July through to November. Giving you plenty of time to add this gorgeous vegetable to your favourite summer and autumnal recipes. Add a splash of colour to bed and borders or raised beds. 

Height 51-60 (20-24"); spread 41-50cm (16-20").

New in 2021 & BEST VALUE in terms of quantity of seeds per £ – Mr Fothergills - 33273 - Broccoli (Sprouting)Purple Rain F1 - 40 Seeds £2.99   

According to the web site this variety is "extremely productive, it will continue to produce fresh young, deeply coloured spears for weeks on end which taste tender. Plants have good heat tolerance and are slow to bolt", which if 2021 is anything like the last couple of years will be useful. 

Sowing/Planting and Flowering/Harvesting Guide













Sow indoors: January-March, 1.5cm(1/2") deep in pots or trays of seed compost. Keep moist and warm. Transplant to final position when approx. 10cm(4") tall. Gradually accustom young plants to outside conditions (avoid frosts) before planting out 600mm(24") apart.

Harvest: July-November. Pick the young shoots regularly to be sure of getting the best flavour and to encourage further cropping.

New in 2021 Dobies - 43 25 17 - Broccoli Gemini F1 - 25 Seeds - £2.99

One of the fastest varieties to crop. Sowing to harvest in just 80 days!

Broccoli Seeds - Gemini F1 is one of the fastest broccoli varieties to crop. You can be enjoying Broccoli Gemini F1 just 80 days after sowing! With florets weighing 300–500g each, there will be plenty of broccoli to go around once harvest comes, and once the main head has been harvested, side shoots can also be picked and eaten too. 

The Broccoli Seeds - Gemini F1 has a good resistance to disease and produces an attractive rich green dome shape. Perfect to fill your vegetable patch with this season. 

Cook Broccoli Gemini F1 into your meals or eat it raw for a flavoursome and crunchy snack.

Sow March - May thinly direct into finely raked seedbed at a depth of 13mm  1/2 "  

Germination 7 - 14 Days 

Transplant when large enough to handle leaving 380mm (15") between plants both ways. 

Alternatively the seed can be started in modules/trays in a cold frame or cold greenhouse and planted out after the last frost. 

Protect with netting to avoid butterfly attack. 

Once established, Broccoli Seeds - Gemini F1 grows to a height of 41–50cm (16–20"); spread 41–50cm (16–20"). Sowing to cropping 18 weeks. 

With a harvest period between July–mid-November you can enjoy Broccoli Seeds - Gemini F1 for a while. After harvesting the main head, side shoots will be produced within several weeks. 

New in 2022 Mr Fothergills - White Sprouting Burbank F1. - 150 Seeds - £3.10

An exciting, unusual sprouting broccoli. Burbank F1 is the first British bred F1 white sprouting broccoli. 

The plants are strong and vigorous, producing high yields of attractive snowy white spears. 

Crops are extremely tasty and succulent throughout the spring, when other vegetable harvests are scarce

The graphic is a little misleading as the harvest is in year 2 and it should make that more clear, the web site graphic is even worse and does not include any planting out. I have sent feedback too Mr Fothergill's re this.

New in 2022 Suttons  15 21 46 -  Blue Finn F1 - 20 seeds - £3.49 non members  

This classic-looking variety of broccoli is compact in shape and boasts productive plants reaching around 30-45cm tall. If you grow this crop from seed, it will supply a great number of dense florets, weighing up to 500g while remaining tight and full of flavour. 'Blue Finn F1' will not be growing hollow stems but are early maturing and can be harvested from 4 months (June-Sept) from successional sowing.

This variety will create multiple small spears once the main head is harvested, hopeful for another abundance of florets to grow again. When harvested, this kind of broccoli is great for eating raw in salads, or equally, tastes fantastic when boiled or roasted. 

Sow thinly direct into a finely raked seedbed at a depth of 13mm (½"). 

Germination 7-14 days. 

Transplant when large enough to handle leaving 38cm (15") between plants both ways. Alternatively, the seed can be started in modules/trays in a cold frame or cold greenhouse and planted out after the last frosts. Protect with netting to avoid butterfly attack. After harvesting the main head, side shoots will be produced within several weeks.

If I'm going to subject the family to Purple Broccoli in 2022, I better grow some traditional classic looking Green Broccoli as well. 

New in 2022 Dobies 43 26 64 - Broccoli (Sprouting) Santee F1 - 25 seeds - £2.99 non members  

Santee is the summer/autumn cropping Purple Sprouting Broccoli! 

Massive crops for almost 6 months, left to overwinter you'll be rewarded with more spears in spring. One of the quickest to grow and crop, with superb flavour, very productive and quick. Makes an amazing addition to a stir-fry or steamed. 

Sow into a prepared seedbed March - June in rows at a depth of 10mm and 300mm (12") between rows. 

Germination 7 - 14 days.

Transfer into final positions approximately 6 weeks from sowing. 

Alternatively, sow in a propagator and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite, At a temperature of 21 degrees C (70F) Transfer into 75mm (3") pots and grow on. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions before planting out 

Apply lime to acidic soils to reduce the risk of clubroot.   

Harvest Jun-Mid Nov/Feb-Mid March.

New in 2022 Dobies 43 26 16 - Broccoli (Stem) Hirzia F1 - 20 seeds - £2.99 non members  

Why wait until spring for sprouting broccoli? Hirzia will crop from July and produce the main head like regular broccoli, which then splits into spears! Hirzia F1 will provide smaller, compact plants 40-50cm. Dark green after cooking, excellent taste, perfect for using raw with dips and salads. 

Sow thinly (March-June) direct into a finely raked, warm, moist seedbed at a depth of 13mm (1/2") Transplanting subsequent plants with a trowel or dibber when large enough to handle, allowing 300mm (12") between plants. Water well during spells of dry weather.   

Alternatively, sow under cover in trays of cell packs and transplant to where they are to crop after the last frost. 
Harvest Late July-Oct.

To retain maximum vitamin content cook by steaming. 

Broccoli Broccoletto - Seeds To Suit - 
Approximate seed quantity 30 

A speciality from Italy. A quick growing, sweet, flavoured broccoli produces a single head about 200mm tall. makes an ideal catch crop. Annual
  • Sow seeds outside in shallow drills or broadcast over a small area once all danger of frost has passed April to June  Harvest June to October 
  • Succession sow to avoid glut
  • Days to germination 7 - 10 
  • Do Not Transplant
  • Will not require thinning if sown sparingly 
  • Harvest just before heads start to flower  

Tuesday 27 February 2024

I'm Just A Weak Seed-a-holic


I know I should wait until March but it's sowing indoors and on the window cill and once they have germinated they will be quite happy to be moved out into the unheated Space Saver Greenhouse, plus I'm going to sow another lot in two weeks time as a back up.

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