No.27 is nearly ready to go after last weekends fun, just a couple more good days of hard graft and it will be there! The beds at least anyway, there is still plenty I want to do from a style perspective but those tasks can wait until the sun and my freckles starts shining.
For now though until I can get up the plot again, it’s all about planning for me. I’m definitely further ahead with my plans but not quite finished yet. You will be the first to hear when they are, that’s for sure. There will be no scaled drawing or Excel spreadsheet from me though, it’s my little haven, not a show garden, so the design will be born and live in my head.
The only Excel spreadsheet I will admit to having is my online seed catalogue, yes, that’s right, I have a list of all the seeds I own. Is that ‘normal’ or a little bit geeky? It’s not just a list either, more of a tracker covering brand name, variety, ‘sow by’ date, months to be sown, growing instructions and a results column for after harvesting and the most important taste test.
A key player on the spreadsheet for this year, is of course, Suttons. We all know and love Suttons, the ever-growing brand that was started in 1806 just down the road from me in Reading, where I was born.
Hopefully you will have seen a certain familiar face in their 2018 Garden Catalogue, page 113 to be precise. If not, here is the link.
I was honoured to be asked late last year if I would like the opportunity to trial the new seed varieties being launched in 2018. Whilst I am very particular about the brands I work with, the people and core values in particular, when the team contacted me I of course, said ‘Hell, yes’.
So today I want to share with you the selection I chose to trial at No.27 this year.
Firstly, one I am super excited about, actually I’m beyond excited about all of them, but first on the list is Blauwschokker peas.
The wall of bright purple pods will look stunning on the bamboo frame come Summer, and I doubt many of the peas themselves will make it back home. They are divine, straight from the pod, don’t you agree? If you haven’t tried it, definitely do this year!
Sow in March to June and you will be cropping delicious peas 12 – 16 weeks later. Even better still, you can sow them direct if you wish and reduce the plastic. You may just want to protect them at first to stop those oh so delightful creatures, aka birds, rats and other bugs chomping on the first sight of growth.
Staying with peas and beans, my next choice was the highly popular super food Edamame Soya Beans.
I couldn’t resist giving these a go, high in protein and super delicious boiled, steamed or stir fried, they have to be a winner and an energy booster for the boxing ring.
Sow indoors from April to June and you can be enjoying them at home fresh from the plot in your favourite dishes by August.
Now on to the next group of yummy veg, Brassicas, the key ingredients that will help me conquer all year round growing! I hope…
Cabbage is first on the list, the sweet and oh so tasty F1 Sunta variety to be particular.
Sown indoors from February to May, they can be transferred out when strong and harvested as baby or normal size heads from July all the way through to October.
F1 Sweetie Collard Cabbage is next and was a giant hit in Suttons own school tasting trials last year, the kids loved it. Let’s see what the school children I will be showing mine to think later in the year. This variety is not only for eating either, it’s perfect for juicing and getting a real health kick in the system quick.
Sow indoors from March to September and you can be harvesting leaves all the way through the year from June, right through to February 2019!
Kale is always a winner for me, whether steamed, fried or juiced! Which is why I picked two varieties; the nutritionally super charged Black Magic from James Wong’s new How To Eat Better range and purely because it looks incredible, F1 Peacock White.
I will hopefully be enjoying both varieties from August, all the way to the beginning of 2019 too.
The last of the brassicas is Broccoli, F1 Monclano variety. High yielding and clubroot resistant, they have to be worth a try!
I have grown purple sprouting broccoli but not standard broccoli, so both these and the cabbages will be a real test. But I’m up for the challenge!
After brassicas, comes the people’s favourite and a continuous reason for why many have started growing their own; tomatoes.
I have chosen two varieties; the smoky flavoured cherry, Rosella and blight tolerant Tumbling Bella. Bella was my nickname as a small child and that was the only reason these got chosen.
Tomatoes don’t need any justification, they are super easy to grow straight in the ground or in upturned grow bags and are damn tasty! I will explain my upturned grow bag trick at a later date, I assure you it gives success year on year.
Last on the list but as equally important as the rest is root crops, in particular carrots and beetroot.
Pulled from the plot, straight under the tap and roasted in the oven or simply boiled, they are both delicious.
F1 Octavo is my first carrot seed of choice for this year, another of James Wong’s new range. Sow direct, harvest from August, give them a wash then add a dash of olive oil to these beauties in the pan for an increase in carotene of up to 50%. That’s the rumour anyway, or just the latest excuse/tactic to get eating carrots, since being able to see in the dark.
‘The best beet for juicing’ is up next and will be going in to the plot, their words not mine. Hopefully I will be saying the same in a matter on months too though. Its F1 Boldor, super sweet and bright yellow, which means no red staining! Sounds like a winner for my kitchen surfaces and nails at least!
There is a few more vegetable varieties and also many flowers I will be trialling too but I can save those for a later date as I think that’s enough for now.
I will be sharing all their progress from sowing, right through nurturing and to harvesting with you. Not only on here but also with monthly blogs on the Suttons website.
Have a wonderful week and I will back soon to share not only my plans but also more exciting seeds choices for 2018. Oh yes, there are lots more!
Don’t forget either to tune in to my monthly radio segment, this Wednesday, 7th Feb at 6:40pm for all the latest from me and the gardening world.