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Monday, 11 March 2013

seedy and snowy days

The holiday at home continues....the snow that was promised over the weekend arrived yesterday...

and there was more last night and this morning.

The weather is in a capricious mood today. One minute snow is falling with a sideways swipe, there's a biting wind. Five minutes later the sun is out...making everywhere look fresh and clean....

and then rewind....the snow is back.

All the gardening both at home and on the allotment I'd planned has had to take a back seat.  With so much to be done, it's frustrating.

I can still sow seeds though. Broad beans and Alderman  peas were already sown a few weeks back and are tucked up in the cold frame and plastic greenhouse outside.

But there's lots more to sow....these I got from Seedy Sunday at the beginning of the month.

An annual event, it's held in a nearby village....we all take a few packets of seed....and you get vouchers for each packet to swap with what else is there. It's very busy, with lots of jostling to get close to the seeds on offer..there's lots of people talking plants, the composting gurus from leicestershire County Council are there along with my favourite stallholders, volunteers from the Heritage Seed Library.

They're so knowledgeable, so enthusiastic ..I could talk to them for ages...but in the end come away with two lots of peas.

Peas are in the top three of my favourite crops to grow. Eyewateringly expensive to buy in the shops when fresh, I just love their sweetness, and crunchiness when eaten raw.

Clarke's Beltony Blue - which is a wrinkled heirloom variety of pea and was donated by Mrs Anderson. It was grown on her great grandfather’s farm in Co. Tyrone since at least 1850 (but possibly as far back as 1815). Apparently it's tall, with beautiful pale pink and rich maroon flowers followed by purple pods .Can't wait to see these grow.

As for the purple flowering russian peas ....they were brought back from Russia by a lady called Valerie Fordham -they're tall with pink and purple flowers.

I'm also growing again this year peas I've been saving each year for a while...they're yellow mange tout peas, ...yes, yellow mange tout! They're described as being incredibly rare...I got them from the Real Seed Company about four years ago...and with the exception of last year, they've done me proud.

There's some interesting varieties of beans I'm going to sow this year too.
I've bought some of Sarah Raven's organic Speedy Dwarf French beans ..which I've not grown before , but only take sixty days to mature.

From Seedy Sunday , I managed to get some of Mr fearn's Purple Flowering climbing beans..
I got these just for the name really, but have since found out that “They grow very well in a cold greenhouse – avoid hot sun or outside growing". That's from the donor Bernard Fearne who's been growing them since the war. ...but unfortunately I haven't got a cold greenhouse . I'll give them a whirl though....

But perhaps I'll do better with the "Sarah's Old fashioned black". I couldn't resist trying these too as although they come from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, it's said that these beans seem to thrive in the British climate.

My seed stash this year seems to be larger than lots more sowing to do..but I'm also planning to visit the Edible Garden Show at Stoneleigh this weekend,  the only national event dedicated to growing your own fruit, vegetables and home produce.  Will I see you there?

So the stash will no doubt get Oscar Wilde wrote "I can avoid everything except temptation." And with so many exhibitors there, I know I won't come home empty handed.

Today's track is from New Zealanders The Black Seeds.....I kept humming this song as I wrote about Sarah's Old fashioned Black seeds...

I love this band, especially after seeing them last year here...

This song is called fire...recorded live in Denver...



  1. How green-fingered you are!

    I used to grow seeds. The annual enthusiasm - sowed them in little trays, thinned them out, potted them on, planted them in the garden - then they died and I bought plants. I cut out all the sowing and potting now; it's obviously not one of my skills!

  2. Plese don't let me give you the wrong impression Jo!
    I'm no ALys Fowler believe me!

    I can grow peas and beans though....apart from last year when they were all eaten by slugs when put into the allotment! I can't grow lettuces from seed either....but hoping for great things with rocket and some sald leaves mix.

  3. Everything I plant dies,I don't think we have good soil here. I've never heard of a cold green house,coulkd that be a shed with a window? lol.
    I would love a greenhouse I'd love to grow chillis and tomatoes,I've done that inside before and had lots of chillis but they take up too much room. Good luck with the beans.

  4. surely you don't kill every plant Anne?! I'd love a greenhouse too....after the blight on tomatoes last year, I'd love to grow them indoors...

  5. Looking forward to tasting some of those beans in a lovely summer dish for one of our 'ladies who' get togethers!

    1. You shall have some Ros!!I ahve jsut the recipe!

  6. I love the sound of some of these seeds and their history is fascinating. My broad beans are coming up in the greenhouse despite the cold weather, my potatoes though are resisting chitting and I'm ready to sow carrots but they're not ready to leave the packet yet! You've definitely persuaded me to grow some peas too!

  7. I love the history behind these seeds....and I'm so glad you'll try some peas! I love raw peas! I've delayed sowing alot of my seeds that I want to grow...especially pleased after all the snow this evening!