Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seed saving network delivers!

Yesterday the postman delivered two packets - it was better than Christmas! One had a fine selection from Mas Du Diable and the other an embarrasment of garlic from Spade Work.

Both were arranged through this Seed Network. I will or have already reciprocated with seeds that I have saved and made available. See my list.

So here I am, in rural Ireland - getting packages from France and London - I feel very connected to a worldwide gardening community. It's a lovely feeling!

Thanks to both John and Laura - I'm looking forward to planting the seeds in the spring, and the garlic went in immediately - luckily I had a bed all ready for them. The variety of the bulbs was interesting - some had only 3 cloves for a huge bulb, and others had 10 or more cloves for the same bulb size.

Planted the following varieties:
Prim - small cloves, but good keeper according to the notes
Susan Delafield - 7 cloves
Gazebo - 3 huge cloves,
Gypsy red
Inchelium red. - this one had loads of individual cloves.

The (Marco) garlic planted a month ago is shooting up - but I was dismayed by the lack of selection at the garden center. Next year I'll be ale to save my own garlic for replanting, and hopefully can swap garlic in subsequent years. What a great initiative, well done Patrick!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Winter sustenance - not!


I had visions of harvesting enough beans to last the winter - but I only got enough for one dinner!
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Borlotti and runner beans

Sowed loads of borlotti beans this year - and was hoping for a dried bean harvest. We ate some like french beans, and they were fine. Nothing special. Had some more as fresh beans, and similarly - no big deal.

So I was waiting for the pods to fill up, and dry on the vine, but didn't want to leave it so long that the beans rotted. So we harvested them all at the weekend. After all that we got a litte over a cupful of beans - and quite a few are at the green stage, rather than the mottled brown stage. Since we woudl regularly use a 500g bag of beans from the Italian market, the return form the planting seems a bit puny. So if I want to grow beans for the winter, looks like I woudl need to plant a lot more.

A lot of the pods had not filled out at all - and I'm pretty sure that I had them in the ground as early as possible. So maybe this bean needs a lot of heat and sunshine - both of which were missing in Summer 2008. PErhaps a better summer might show a better yield.

A few of the runner beans were left on the vine also - we podded these - the most glorious pinky purple and black beans. We will save these for planting next year, but they might be a better bet for overwintering dried beans than the borlotti. And I can paint them!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Seed saving and seed exchange

Beacuse I garden with the school, it's good to have lots of seeds for free so that we can experiment, and not be devastated by disasters. Also, in this world of recession and cutbacks, havening an abundance of anything feels great.

And I'm happy to share some of the bounty so I have the following seeds on offer, and happy to trade or send for free withing Europe - we can discuss sending further afield:

Tall sunflowers
Dwarf sunflowers
Large pink poppy
Ragged Jack Kale
Stripey french marigold

Leave a comment if you're interested in any of these...

Also, there is a community of people swapping seeds - see Seed Network

This is a great thing for increasing diversity and building community. Well done for organising it!

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