I generally like to order seeds from several different suppliers. This is because I can never get everything I want from just one place. I find that almost every catalogue I browse through has something in it that the others don't, and I am always on the lookout for something new to grow. And in any case I like to give my custom to several different companies.
My first order for the 2012 season went to Plants of Distinction. This company offers lots of old favourites, but it also has many rather more unusual products. For instance they have a much wider range of Tomatoes, Chillis and Peppers than most companies, and many of their seeds are for the less well-known varieties. I have been buying from this company for several years now, and I have no hesitation in recommending them.
My plans for 2012 include a "Three Sisters" bed - that's to say, Squash, Corn and Beans, so I have been looking round for suitable candidates. I haven't finally decided but I think the beans will be Cherokee Trail of Tears, simply because I like the heritage aspect of them. Last year I found seeds for them to be in short supply, but I was eventually able to get some from Pennard Plants.
|Cherokee Trail of Tears|
The Squash will probably be Butterbush, available from Dobies and elsewhere. It's a variety of Butternut bred to be specially compact. My raised beds are too small to accommodate a trailing variety! As for the Corn: well, there are so many varieties available that it's hard to decide. Maybe Sunrise from Marshalls? This one is advertised as 'compact' and 'suitable for smaller gardens' so it meets at least some of the criteria...
Another thing that I am planning to grow next year is Aubergines. I don't normally grow these because we usually find them rather bitter, often with soft spongy flesh and tough skins. However, I remember that years ago when we lived in the Far East we used to enjoy the "Brinjal" type, which is quite different to the big fat glossy Mediterranean type of Aubergine. They are longer and thinner and firmer. I reason that if I am ever going to like Aubergines, it will be if I grow them myself, so when I saw Pingtung Long in the Plants of Distinction catalogue, I added it to my list. Will it be as good-looking as this type I photographed on our holiday in Turkey, I wonder?
How about this for a curiosity? The Climbing Mushy Pea Bean. A climbing bean that allegedly performs like a Marrowfat pea. Couldn't resist that one! (Even though I am determined to have enough Runner Beans next year to be able to freeze some of them - they really are my favourite.)
Several of the big seed suppliers are offering discounts for orders placed before 31st December (e.g. Dobies are offering 15% discount on telephone and internet orders over £35, and Mr.Fothergills are offering 10% off all Web orders.), so I shall certainly be having a look at their websites in the next few days.
|The pathetically-small Physalis fruits|