Time to get some more seed sown

Saturday, 19 January 2008

It’s another wet weekend but between the showers I have been busy today sowing a variety of seed which is now warming up on the propagator in the greenhouse.

Now’s a good time to start sowing tomatoes and capsicums as well as early lettuce, Brussels sprouts and beetroot. so that’s what i have been doing.

As a bit of a seed collector I do like to try varieties of chili and tomato especially ones that I have come across in local markets or just found in gardens or on farms.

A couple of years ago I was in East Africa and went seed hunting first in a little port in Kenya close to the border with Tanzania. The town was dusty and busy. I found a farm shop that had a variety of Tomato called Kentom. A large packet of seed cost me just a few pence! The variety grows well here and produces vigorous indeterminate vines with a good crop of juicy fruit that are good eaten both raw and cooked. In the market I bought some local dry beans which I have been trying to propagate here with some limited success, (but more of this in May when I sow them again). On that same trip I ended up in Zanzibar and went to the market in search of more goodies. I found two tomato varieties being sold out of a tobacconist store. The seed came in little clear plastic slips and one variety was called Green Tomato and the other Red Tomato. I have sown these today for the first time and will see what emerges. Great fun!

When travelling in French Polynesia last year I bought some small chillies in the market on the island of Huahini. The seed from this find have been sown along with some home saved seed of a tiny chilli I found on the island of Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean four years ago. My little sister Leone bought me some giant chilli and odd tomato seed on a holiday to Turkey a while back. The long Turkish chilli is fantastic and grows well. For the first time I allowed a fruit to fully ripen and have sown seed from this today too. it’ll be interesting to see if the variety has bred true and just how productive it is. My eldest boy Jake brings me seed from his various forays around the world and this year he gave me some sweet pepper seed from Croatia. I am also growing a hot, sweet pepper that I have bee growing for many years and which i found in an oasis in the Moroccan desert. Altogether I have sown 7 varieties of tomato and eight varieties of capsicum today.

More prosaically I have also sown a pinch of seed given to me by a fellow collector, Mike Wicken of a Brussels Sprout he grows called Seven Hills. I am going to ave another go at globe artichokes this year. I will plant up a clump in the flower bed at the front of the Almshouses. So I have sown a Dobie variety and also some Little Gem lettuce. I also sowed a load of beetroot called Boltardy in protapacs.

The cabbage seed I sowed a couple of weeks ago is well up and my broad beans are sticking their noses out of the loo rolls they have been sown into! The Italian shallot seed is also up, so lots of new growth in the greenhouse to enjoy.

I hope the weather improves soon for all of us so we can get out and tidy up the rather sorry looking veggie plots around teh country. Happy gardening to y’all

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