Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Seed Order, and 'Repurposing' Old Seeds!

Yes, it's done at last. I've had a proper clearout of the seed drawer, discarding out-of-date packs and unwanted packs I should have got rid of years ago, had a good look at what was left, and planned this year's growings.

As well as plenty of old favourites and leftovers from last year, this year I'll be adding to my repertoire:
- Gherkins 'Cornichon de Paris'
- Little Gem 'Pearl' (an improved variety I just had to try)
- West Indian Gherkin (not really a gherkin at all, but sounds like fun!)
- Squash 'Uchiki Kuri Kabocha'
- Chilli 'Ancho Grande' (mild, smoky-flavoured variety)
- Celeriac 'Prague Giant'
- Celery 'Full White'
- Kale 'Sutherland' and 'True Siberian' (both very hardy, for picking over winter and through the 'hungry gap')
- Kohlrabi: a mixed bag of green, purple and giant varieties
- Chestnut mushrooms (hopefully - it won't be the first time I've tried...)

I've also decided to transform a neglected corner of the plot into a perennial bed, with globe and Jerusalem artichokes, a perennial kale or two and my everlasting cauliflowers. I bought three different globe artichoke plants from Victoriana Nursery, a Daubenton's perennial kale (pictured) from Pennard Plants, and some popular 'Fuseau' Jerusalem artichoke tubers. I had planned to try sweet potatoes this year, but with the extra expense of these perennials, and space really at a premium, I think I'll have to shelve the idea yet again. Maybe next year...

I finally got hold of some saffron crocus bulbs - I'm umming and ahhing about whether to put them on the sunny side of the asparagus bed or keep them safe in a pot at home, where I'm more likely to notice when it's time to harvest! - and I took advantage of a special offer on everbearing 'Albion' strawberries, to fill in a few gaps in the strawberry bed and a few gaps in production! After our great potato success last year, I thought we should expand a bit and grow some early new potatoes as well as our favourite Kestrel maincrop. We don't have any extra space on the plot but I spotted this kit with two potato planting bags and some seed potatoes, which seemed like a good idea for the home garden.

I wanted to invest a bit more in soil fertility and plant feed this year, and have ordered some seaweed spray - something I've always known I should be using but somehow never quite got round to it - and some rockdust, a soil conditioner which adds loads of trace minerals to the soil and is supposed to increase plant health and yields dramatically. And, as promised, I've ordered some fleece and weedproof fabric at last!

Phew! Next year's allotment resolution: Spend less...

My seed-drawer-clearout left me with quite a lot of seeds to throw away - the various products of overenthusiasm, crop failure, seed giveaways, limited space and huge pack sizes! - but it seems such a waste! I can't offer out-of-date seeds at a seedswap. Chances are quite a lot of them are really still valid, but for one reason or another it's not worth the time, space or effort for me to try to grow them. Yet I just can't bring myself to chuck them in the bin... So I'll be sowing the salad and brassica seeds thickly in a seed tray for micro-greens, I'll try to sprout the beans for stirfries, and I'll scatter the tomato seeds under the asparagus after frosts have passed - asparagus beetles are reputedly repelled by tomato plants. I suppose it doesn't take too much space to sow the old carrot seeds for baby carrots, and the mixed spring onion seeds are worth a gamble too. That just leaves me with peppers and squashes/cucumbers, and various herbs. Okay, so you can eat pumpkin seeds, but I'm not sure I want to eat these pumpkin seeds... If I had rabbits or chickens (sigh), I'm sure I could make them very happy with some lovely fresh greens... If I had more space, I could grow some herb plants to sell... But I don't, so I'm struggling for ideas. Anyone else have any ideas for reusing or recycling old seeds?


Stacy Drury said...

I use old runner bean seeds as "baking blind" beans when I am making pasry, rather than use pasta which most people do. you can use them over and over again just make sure they are dry. its where it originated from.

Nome said...

Aha! Great idea!

Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

I'd keep the saffron crocuses (croci) at home where you can keep an eye on them. I'm also sowing old seed as micro-greens.

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