Wednesday 30 January 2008



It was a beautiful day today and with my spirits lifted by the sunshine I decided that the time had come to start up the heated propagator and get some seeds cooking. It's always a trade off between getting an early start to the season and avoiding having to heat a greenhouse for too long that causes tension or I would start all my seeds as early as possible and hope for crops two months sooner.

Today I planted some chilli seeds, Lemon Drop and Dedo de Mocha. I know, I said no chillies this year but the seed is old and won't keep much longer, it's a case of use or lose it. My plan is is to skip greenhouse tomatoes in the UK and use the space gained for chilli plants. We'll see, the seed may not even germinate.

Also, I found some old Artichoke Green Globe, again the sooner started the better if I hope to get a crop this year, some miniature leaved Basil which I fear is already gone from this world as I think it failed to germinate last time I tried it and planted another pot of Eucalyptus Viminalis which I hope will produce a few saplings to replace the deer ravaged ones in the firewood coppice area at the farm.

Old seed is a huge problem. It gets bought, sometimes overlooked and never tried, often half used in a season and then replaced with new even though it's still good for the next. Some has a long viability, some, like onions and carrots, are barely good for a year. In my seed drawers I have seeds reaching back to 1984, purchased, home saved, heritage varieties and free samples. I can't bear to throw it away but most of it is really just dust in envelopes.

Each year I try to grow out something that is considerably past its best usually without success, a pointless exercise that wastes time and resources but has to be done, just in case. This year I'm going to make a real effort to dispose of some of the least hopeful packets and restrain myself from buying anything new but I wonder how well that resolution will last when I'm faced with the cheap vegetable seeds in Lidl?

Oh, and a slightly worrying thing. I ordered some seeds from Seeds of Italy a couple of weeks ago and have still seen no sign of them. Not good.

No comments: