Happy Monday, or whichever day you are reading this! Hope you had a fab weekend, what did you get up to?
Guess what I did….drumroll please….I filmed a video….finally! Yay, shock horror, it actually happened. It is basically me waffling at you in slightly dodgy lighting which I’m sure you will find highly riveting or as dull as dish water but it’s the first one back after hiding my terrified face, so I’m super pleased. Plus I’m sure with some creative editing it will be amazing, hopefully….maybe….please!
But more on that in next week’s blog and the video itself will be going live for your enjoyment on my YouTube channel, this Wednesday, 14th at 7am.
Today though I wanted to continue on from my last blog post where I shared my Suttons seed choices for 2018, and share the other half of my collection with you.
Seeds, lots of oh so tiny seeds full of hope and pure magic from the wonderful company you all must know by now and hopefully love, Groseeds!
If you entered my recent giveaway in collaboration with Groseeds, you should have a 10% off discount code in your private messages. For those of you who haven’t used it already, this may hopefully give you some ideas too. Also, if you haven’t received the code and entered correctly, let me know and I will fix that straight away.
So first up today is Brassicas, the beasts that will determine my all year round growing success!
Starting with the Christmas favourite that we all love or hate, Brussels Sprouts, in particular the Rubine variety. I missed growing them last year so they had to make a return, and in a new even more exciting dark red variety. Aren’t they just stunning and will definitely add lots of colour to the allotment which I can’t wait to see. Guess what….they don’t lose their colour during cooking either, giant yay to that! I always get a little sad when other purple crops, like French beans lose their colour.
I will be sowing these indoors in late March, before planting out and harvesting on Christmas Eve. With this many seeds, 200 in a packet, I will have enough to keep picking handfuls right through to March 2019!
Cauliflower is finishing off the Brassica plot plans, in the form of the variety very aptly named All Year Round.
As the name suggests it is ideal for succession sowing and is one of the easiest varieties to grow. Hence I picked it for my first attempt at cauliflower, I’m all for giving myself as much chance of success. This variety produces large tight pure white heads, well I’m hoping it does anyway, if I can remember all the tips and tricks I have been taught, such as wrapping the dark leaves over the heads to keep them white and beautiful.
Once sown indoors in early March, I will plant them out a month or two later under netting to keep the pigeons and cabbage white butterfly away. Those not so little caterpillars will be not feasting on my delights, I tell you! They will be my cauliflowers to enjoy right through from June to Christmas, yum!
Root crops are next on today’s list, including carrots, beetroot, radishes and parsnips. My Christmas dinner is slowly coming together! Just need potatoes now, which will soon be chitting on the windowsill.
Autumn King 2 variety carrots are the second choice of carrot for this year. Which is going to win and take the taste test crown come September? I will be sure to tell you as long as I can avoid carrot fly in the meantime. Companion planting with onions usually does the trick!
Golden variety beetroot will be standing bold against it’s equally bright competitor I mentioned last week. It’s only now I have just realised I picked two very similar looking varieties, never mind!
With a plan to do successional sowings direct from April through to July, I’m hoping for plenty of vibrant globes right up until November time. I’m thinking of roasting these ones whole though or turning them in to crisps for a healthy snack, unlike the others more apt for juicing.
Now for the crop we all rely on for success and is usually one of the first things we choose to grow, purely because they are the quickest and easiest. Perfect for kids and impatient people like me.
It is the one and only Radish, and this year the show stopping bright variety named Red Meat. Look at it, I saw it on the website and immediately had to click ‘Add To Basket’! If they don’t make you go “Oooo…”, I don’t know what will.
The last of the roots going in will be Countess F1 Parsnips, described as having excellent disease resistance and perfect for the show bench. They sound like just the parsnips for me and the first ones I will have ever tried growing. Not sure they will be making my local show first year round but who knows, I can hope!
I do love the fact that all root crops can be direct sown, it makes things so much easier and gives my windowsills a break!
Now on to the very opposite, the windowsill and heat loving plant that is the Courgette. Last year I grew the incredibly prolific Floridor variety which I 100% recommend, super tasty and got everyone asking questions. Sunstripe F1 is the contender this year though, still bright yellow but longer and with stripes! It’s the zebra of courgettes!
These definitely have to be sown indoors, on their sides in individual pots, ideally housed in a heated propagator. If not, on a windowsill above a radiator if you have one. I picked my heated one up from Aldi a couple of years ago and was only around £20, definitely worth the small investment.
Two key things to remember about courgettes are WATER and FOOD! Keep watering them regularly, even daily in the Summer months and give them a good liquid feed every week too once they start flowering. Oooo…another thing, did you know you can eat the flowers?
You would think at the size of these two lists that I had a field, which I don’t! I haven’t finished yet either or mentioned the second Giant Pumpkin attempt which will be happening! Does anyone have a field I can borrow though….please?!
Back to the list whilst any field owners ponder that question and I’m continuing with the delicious and pod popping, Pea.
Going up against the vibrant Blauwschokker peas of last week is the more traditional Hurst Greenshaft variety. Bright green as you would expect and producing an average of 10 peas per pod, that won’t even last 10 seconds once they are ready for harvesting. An RHS Award of Garden Merit winner too, so a ‘must try’ I reckon.
Before I finish off with a few flowers, the last of the veg for 2018 is Swiss Chard, the bright and beautiful Rainbow Mix variety. I grew chard in my first year and it’s another crop that had to make a return, so tasty as well as bright and beautiful!
I gradually sow the seeds direct from March onwards and harvest the leaves when young, before gently wilting them down in a pan like spinach or adding simply washed to a salad.
That’s it….all the seeds that will be nurtured and vegetables hopefully harvested from No.27 later this year! I’m sure I will end up adding a few more too, usually thanks to very kind plot neighbours. We always end up doing swaps on my site, do you do the same too? If not, don’t be afraid to try asking ensuring you can offer another seed packet or plant in return. Most people will say yes!
Before I go for this week, I want to briefly touch on flowers. They will always take second priority to veg but are equally loved! Bringing colour in to the home and making me smile.
This year I have chosen a few new varieties including Papaver Royal Wedding (poppy), which is very apt for this year. Also, Zinnia Giant Cactus Mix, the stunning Zinnia Queen Red Lime, Cosmos Double Click Rose Bonbon and Hellianthus aka Sunflower Vanilla Ice, Ice baby, sorry couldn’t resist.
That really nearly is everything…I think!
One very special flower I will be growing that I haven’t mentioned yet is a particular Dahlia, but I feel it deserves a blog of its own so will leave you guessing for now. It’s flowers are huge, creamy and just stunning!
Where does your heart lay, flowers or vegetables? Are you growing any of the same varieties to me?
Comment below and let me know! In the meantime, have a wonderful week and keep an eye out for my new chatty video on Wednesday 14th.