Sunday 29 January 2017

Stocking up with seeds

The other day I wrote that I had been looking at good-value seeds, and intending to avoid buying the highly-priced seeds that many of the Big Names offer. Well, I was delighted to receive an email from Gerry at Grow Seed, who had seen my post and offered to let me have some of his seeds for free, in return for a little publicity. How could I refuse?! This is the generous selection I received - 11 packets of seeds and 250g of "Sturon" Onion sets:

I'll confess that I have not previously bought seeds from Grow Seed, because there are just so many suppliers out there and you can't give your business to all of them. However, having seen what Grow Seed offer, I may well become a regular customer. They have a very respectable range of seeds for vegetables, herbs and fruit, as well as a few plants. Most of the seeds are sold at £0.99 per packet, which is pretty good by today's standards - especially since the number of seeds you get is generous. Beetroot "Cylindra", for example, comes in a pack of 500 seeds, which is surely plenty for any amateur grower.

There are some other aspects of this business that sound very attractive to me too - for instance, they strive to minimize the use of packaging materials (though I'm a bit wary of their use of plastic bags for the seed packs), and the postage rates are very reasonable - starting at £1.00, with UK orders over £25 being completely postage-free. I shall definitely be growing some of the seeds that Gerry sent me, and I'll report back on how they perform.

On a related theme, this weekend I have been stocking-up on seed potatoes too. Yesterday I went with my daughter Emma to the Hampshire Potato Day at Whitchurch (about 20 miles from here). I have been several times before, and described the event here on my blog, so I won't go over it again. If you want to see the details, have a look HERE and HERE. For today though, let me just show you what I got:

That is 22 potato tubers of 10 different varieties, some Broad Beans ("Witkiem Manita"), some Runner Beans ("Scarlet Emperor"), and some "Red Baron" Onion sets.

For the record, my potato varieties are:-
Lady Christl
Belle de Fontenay
International Kidney

It's a mix of First Early, Second Early and Maincrop types. Interestingly, when researching these varieties I found that some of them can be grown as different types. For instance, at the Potato Day "Orla" was being sold as a maincrop, but it is also often described as suitable for cultivation as a First Early.

I bought 2 of each variety, except "Charlotte" (my favourite), of which I bought 4. This is the joy of going to a Potato Day - you can buy as few or as many tubers as you like. This year the price was still 17p per tuber, or 10 for £1.50. Excellent value, I think.


  1. We went to our local garden centre potato day to buy a few oddments to try.

  2. Many many suppliers now send seeds in plastic bags. Over the last few years I must have had 50+ plastic bags of seeds and so far have had no problems. Germination rates seem as good as foil packed. I'd far prefer less packaging if the germination rates are close to those in foil.

    1. Andy, it was not germination rates I was worried about, but rather the damage caused to the environment by the proliferation of plastic - but then I suppose foil sachets are not too clever either!

    2. I see. Environment wise I'm not sure it's a clear picture what packaging would be environmentally better. I've always thought paper was better in this regard but having a log burner, where I burn (recycle), all paper has shown me that paper is often not paper. I'm not sure what it is but it appears that many bits of paper are either coated in something (probably not good for the environment) or is made largely of plastic. It's amazing how many bits of paper simply do not burn like paper (difficult to light a fire with) and give off odd colours of flames. It's like baby wet wipes, they look like organic material, but they are plastic and burn like plastic. So many things now are not what they seem and I'm not sure you can tell what packaging is better than another. I've become cynical in my old age and although I'd prefer paper packaging I wonder just what chemicals are in the ink and coatings and what they do. At least with little plastic bags I know not to burn them and hope that when they are in a bin they are dealt with by someone who knows better than me.

  3. Your blog always serves as a timely reminder of what I need on my next visit to the Garden Centre. Horticultural events obviously happen a little later in the North West. My list of essentials gets longer and I have the thrill of my new greenhouse arriving next week. Recently bought some flower seeds by mail-order from "Higgledy Garden", great website, excellent customer care and seeds came in delightfully stencilled little paper bags .

  4. I agreee to Cath - you remind me to plan my next Garden Centre visit. Next week we will start with tomatoes. My favourite is the so called "Harzfeuer"; a typical German tomatoe.


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