I have been making labels out of drinks cans. The labels are written backwards and come out embossed. So many plastic labels I have written on with supposed permanent marker have faded and become unreadable, even pencilled labels fade. These labels should last a few years (though we might not be growing the same varieties by then!). I used to emboss with a biro, but have since bought a tool from a craft shop for this purpose (I think the writing is better). Writing backwards has got a bit easier over time, but I still have to concentrate when writing S & Z.



Just a quick note – Glaskin’s Perpetual rhubarb which was sown last year in pots, one plant has started to come up again – there is a cute little pink stem and small curled wrinkled leaf.

Sterilising seed compost

Last year, the plants indoors had swarms of small black flying insects that probably came in on the compost (this kept the Pinguicula thing happy, but there were too  many for it to eat). So, this year, for the first time, we are sterilising the compost. I have just taken out the second batch of two roasting tins’ worth of compost and leaving it to cool. I hope to start sowing some seeds this week, not sure what.

On the subject of sowing, I have started doing a seed plan – listing for each month what seeds can be sown (using the information taken from the seed packets). Hopefully, this will help us sow more things (there were times when we just forgot or didn’t realise that a particular seed was sowable). So, watch out for it in the near future.

Potato Day update

Yesterday was members’ Day at Ryton Gardens, the GardenOrganic headquarters.  It was a beautiful day, not too chilly. 

This year, we got there before 11am, unlike last year when we were early and had to queue to get in. The entrance to the gardens was through the Vegetable Kingdom (my son’s favourite area, and he wasn’t as happy as usual as he couldn’t access all the exhibits there – he did answer yes when I asked him if he enjoyed himself). The potato tent was arranged differently from normal – the first earlies were at the entrance, but there rest were ordered alphabetically apart from the salads and Sarpo spuds which where at the back of the tent. There was a huge huge queue for the tills. The queue blocked easy access to Alan Romans’ stand of mint disease free tubers and his seeds. 

As for the varieties, there were plenty but some sold out very quickly (I overheard someone saying that Pink Fir Apple had sold out, this was one of the ones we really wanted), and some varieties didn’t come down on the lorry and were not available (Charlotte was one of these). One of the messageboards had comments that Picasso was rare – I managed to get Picasso and there were some still there at lunch time. Some of the labels said the wrong type of potato (one was down as a First Early, yet Alan Romans’ guide says Early Maincrop). So, I will be putting up a separate page soon of the seed spuds I have acquired for this season. 

There were other tents, one for the seed swap event run by HSL along side paper pot making. I remembered for the second time in a row to bring along seeds to swap. OH wondered what happened to his seakale – I swapped them last year and I was able to swap back this year! One pea that someone had swapped simply said, Pea Unusual!

OH was in charge of acquiring peas (Progress No 9, Greenshaft, Kelvedon Wonder), beans (Bunyards Exhibition), onions (Hercules) and garlic, which I supplemented with more onions (Centurion) & shallots (Picasso). I had already bought some shallots Yellow Moon & Topper, and garlic Marco at a garden centre last week.

We will have to visit Ryton during summer to see the gardens in all their glory.

Happy 2009

Haven’t really looked at the seeds this year. Haven’t done any planning either. Soon, it will be Potato Day at Ryton, so we’ll go there to buy seed potatoes (and perhaps top-up on more seeds!), though I already have bought Sarpo Mira seed potatoes at the end of last year from a garden centre (other varieties were on the shelves before Christmas, but Sarpo and some others arrived afterwards), as well as a couple more packets of seeds. Last year, we missed out on the Sarpo at Potato Day. 

Have ordered and received the HSL seeds –  got all first choices: tomato Bijskij Zeltyi; tomato Snow White Cherry; Swede Gul Svensk; pea Robinson; dwarf french bean Jersey Bean; dwarf french bean Yugoslavian Black Bean; and a lucky dip – climbing french bean Bridgwater Bean. My mother will look after some tomatoes for me and she wanted one that isn’t easy to say!