Thursday, 22 January 2015

Some seeds to trial

A few days ago I was contacted by Marshalls, the vegetable and fruit company, to ask if I would like to try some of their new seed varieties (for free), and write about them on my blog. This is something I occasionally do, though I am careful not to establish too close a relationship with any business. I want my blog to be MY blog, a personal thing, and not have it devoted to advertising and sponsorship like so many blogs you see. On this occasion I consented to try some of Marshalls' seeds, and they have arrived now.

Some of the seeds are not ones that I expect to grow, simply because I don't have space for them - like pumpkins and squashes, which do trail and spread out a lot. Likewise, the tomato seeds that I received are for indoor growing, and of course I don't have a greenhouse, so those probably won't get to be sown.

However I am particularly pleased to receive seeds for Brokali Endeavour, which is sown in May, June or July, for harvesting from December to March. Regular readers will know that I have been consciously attempting to expand the range of vegetables that deliver their crop during Winter, and this Brokali will therefore be a very welcome addition. You know that PSB is one of my favourite vegetables, and I am always impatient to start harvesting it. Maybe the new Brokali will keep me happy until the PSB comes on-stream!

Although I have said I probably won't grow it, maybe if you have young children or grandchildren you would like to explore Pumpkin Knucklehead, described by Marshalls themselves as "frightfully ugly". It is a pumpkin that appears to be particularly suitable for carving (though apparently also good to eat). It has a good shape for this - taller than it is wide, so it should make a good lantern - and the fruits are covered with knobbly "warts", so you will be able to make something really grotesque for Halloween!

This next packet is probably destined for my younger daughter, Fiona, who is very keen on courgettes:

It is Griller Mix - a mix of three types of courgette, producing fruits that are yellow, green and grey. Marshalls' website says "Each of these courgettes has been selected for their rich taste, firm texture, ease of growing, low spine count and tolerance to diseases". If I have interpreted the product description correctly, you get 5 seeds of each of the 3 varieties. By the way, Marshalls are currently offering this pack free with all vegetable seed orders.

My thanks to Marshalls for this generous sample. I shall of course report how I get on with any of these seeds that I decide to grow...


  1. You should have a go at growing a squash in your compost bin. I've heard that many people have great success growing them this way as they're hungry feeders and appreciate all the nutrients they can get from the compost. I love the look of that warty pumpkin.

  2. The pumpkin does look fun! I like the sound of the griller pack of courgettes, it really is a good idea. I hope they wok out for your daughter.

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  4. The Brokali could be really useful, cropping through the middle of the winter. I'll be interested to see how the seeds get on later in the year.

  5. I've never heard of Brokali before - had to look that one up. A cross between kale and broccoli sounds really interesting. Can't wait to hear your experiences growing it.

    I'm trying another broccoli cross called Aspabroc - broccoli seems to be the king of crosses! It is supposed to be like rapini (broccoli raab) with an asparagus like stem. Once again, I hadn't heard of this variety until I saw it in the seed catalogue just a few weeks ago.

    1. Hi Margaret; Have a look at this post I wrote in June 2011 about Brokali....

    2. Thanks Mark - and here I was thinking it was some newly available veg and you already tried it over 3 years ago! Your description has got me excited about growing (and eating) it this summer.

  6. It's a pity they didn't let you choose the seeds to trial from a given selection

  7. Yes, it seems a shame that they offer seeds to trial and you can't use some of them. But nice to get what you can for free and great that you don't pander to the marketing companies either. I love the mix packs of seeds that are becoming more common these days like that griller pack of zuchhini - who needs 30 of the same plants?


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