Sunday, January 4, 2009

Seed wish list for 2009

I have been planning what to grow over the last few days. As always, my wish list may be a bit over-ambitious, especially this year when I have reduced growing space. I will probably also deviate from this list, if I get given seeds or find something amazing in a garden centre.

First off, I will not grow tomatoes from seed. Last year this worked out well, giving me the choice between interesting varieties and, especially in the English climate which makes for a short growing season, probably the best approach to get them going quickly. However, this also means that I have to look out for tomato plants in the garden centre - and I am not blessed with a good garden centre nearby.

I will also not grow carrots. They annoyed me so much last year. This year I will have deal with stonier soil. No, no, no.

I looked for seed suppliers online. Suttons is the biggest, or most well-known one but I think their selection is a bit rubbish. There are various seed suppliers that cater to the allotment and prize grower communities but they didn't have everything I wanted. I also wanted to stick to just one or two places, rather than splitting any orders between multiple suppliers (saves on delivery charges).

The two that I liked most are Thompson-Morgan and Realseeds. Realseeds is particularly interesting as they only carry open-pollinated vegetables and encourage seed saving.

So here is my list (using (T) for Thompson-Morgan and (R) for Readseeds, to indicate where I intend to order them from):

1. Cucumber
Either Marketmore (T) or Wautoma (R). Tending slightly more towards the Wautoma since I haven't seen or grown it before.

2. Patty pan
Growing patty pan squash was great last year. Unfortunately, over here in the UK they seem to be a bit of a rarity so haven't been able to find the colourful range of different types. The best one seems to be a Mixed assortment (T).

3. Zucchini
No garden is complete without at least one bush of them. I will hopefully restrain myself this year and only plant a couple (ha, famous last words...). I am looking for somewhat compact plants and I liked the sound of Verde di Milano Dark Green Dwarf Bush Courgette (R).

4. Potato
There are so many to choose from that I still haven't made up my mind. I may also try and grow them in growing bags, instead of the soil. There are a variety of crosses with Rose Finn Apple which has a delicious flavour - Anya and Harlequin - and a few small potato types ideal for container growing - Mimi and Lady Cristl. All of these come from Thompson-Morgan which offer 5-tuber bags and so I may try out a few.

5. Beans
Usually I grow runner beans in England, as they cope well with cool summers. However, I quite fancy a change and this time I think I will try Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Beans (R).

6. Chard
Love them as a replacement to spinach. I prefer rainbow chard but I only found it in the Marshalls catalogue (breaking my rule of no more than 2 suppliers). Therefore I think I may be stuck with the ordinary Leaf Beet (R).

7. Mange Tout
I had a request from Toxicfingers to grow some peas. I am a firm believer that peas and carrots can be bought much more easily than actually growing them yourself. Hence, I am going for Golden Sweet Mange Tout instead (R).

I may have to give some thought again as to where I am growing all these vegetables. At the moment it is too cold to do anything much outside (it hit -4C last night, warming up to freezing during the day). Maybe next weekend...