Planning What to Grow and What Seeds to Buy.

Planning 2006, What seeds to get?

Unlike yesterday, today is dry but not sunny. Grey and miserable in fact. As I don’t feel well, I”m staying in the warm and working out what I want for next year. I found the seeds I thought were hiding in the shed – I?d brought at least some of them home and they were in the garage!

I?ll tackle the fun by groups, so to start with Alliums.


I?ve got leeks, garlic (still not planted!!) and autumn planted onion sets. So I?m going to need some onions and shallots. The big benefit of shallots is that they keep longer than onions. I also read that you can skin them easily by dipping into boiling water for a minute like tomatoes. Useful tip, that.

My favourite catalogue is the Organic Gardening Catalogue and this will be my first choice list.


So some onion seeds are required. We eat a lot of onions and, until last year, I?ve exclusively grown from sets. However, having been moderately successful with onion from seed, I?m going to go further down this route.

I?m going to try Bedfordshire Champion as it claims long keeping qualities and Red Baron, which I grew last year from seed, as we like red onions. Although they are not supposed to keep well, they do for us.

Spring Onions

I?ve got some White Lisbon and Ishikura but they are out of date. However, I reckon they will be OK as the lifespan is 4 years. Parsnip seeds are notorious for having a very short lifespan, one year, but they keep in packet for up to 3years so I always count the lifespan from the ‘use by ? date on the packet.

I?m tempted to buy a large pack, 10g, of Ramrod which can also be used as a winter onion whereas White Lisbon you need to buy the winter hardy variant. I also want North Holland Blood Red, which did really well for me last year when just left to bulb up, The Organic Catalogue doesn?t list them, unfortunately.


I haven?t seen any sets in the catalogue I really fancy but Thomson & Morgan are offering seeds for Prisma F1 which could be interesting. I can back up with some sets from the garden centre nearer the day.

That?s the alliums covered.


These have a good shelf life, so I?m confident of reasonable germination of my stock of outdated seeds.

Broccoli are OK but I want some calabrese. I?m going for Corvet F1 (T&M)

I?m also going for Romanesco, a sort of green cauliflower and Veronica F1

Cabbage and Cauliflower should be OK from stock but I fancy trying Snow March F1 and Snowcap  cauliflowers and a red cabbage Marner Lagerrot, which is supposed to store well.

Kale, I?ll try Red Winter. Never grown kale before so an interesting challenge. I believe it to be good for chickens as well in the winter as well.

So that?s the Brassicas sorted.

Greenhouse and Salad Crops

I?m fine on tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and aubergines, but I think some hot peppers could be good, so a pack of Habenero, the hottest commonly grown chilli is on the list. I?m also going to need some Radish seeds unless the seeds I?m sure have somewhere turn up. Pretty sure the shed hasn?t been burgled and the seeds pinched. If I do I?ll go for the really exciting French Breakfast. Well, we like them!


The main beans are well covered and last year we had far more than we needed but I would like to try some of the haricot beans for drying. Having realised that you can do this with Canadian Wonder, which are our least favourite French Bean as a pod due to them being rather stringy, they?ll all be going for dried haricots. I?m also going for Barlotta Ligua di Fuoco the Italian drying bean with the striking red and white colouring.

I?m fine for peas so that?s the legumes sorted.

Root Crops

I?m fine for parsnips and have a pack of swede seeds so that leaves carrots, turnips, beetroot and salsify. We had salsify in a restaurant in France. I loved it but Val wasn?t keen. Anyway, if I can learn to like beetroot, which she loves, she can learn to like salsify if I manage to grow it!

 I?ll try Forono beetroot, cylindrical roots should be a little different.


Amsterdam Forcing as an early , Flakkee as a maincrop and White Kuttiger, a white carrot, as a novelty and Kinbi F1 a yellow carrot although I?m tempted by the healthy carrot collection over at T&M. Decisions, decisions…

That?s the root crops finished.

Other Crops

My ?catchall? group for various crops.

Celery and celeriac we can forget. I hate the stuff with a passion.

Courgettes we are fine on, four plants will be more than enough!

Sweetcorn should be OK with 4 packets of Early King.

Turnip, I?ll go for White Globe as it is described as extremely tender.

Squash and Pumpkins

Being a man who likes to play it safe, I?ll get Butternut squash again. This year I?ll chain the crop down to keep the kids away. I?ll also try the microwave pumpkin from T&M and the offer on Ghost F1 and Mars F1 which should generate some reasonable Halloween presents for various kids. I?m not going to go for the Atlantic Giant this year. Huge, I know, but too big really.

Finally, some artichokes so I can try the Nantwich Jerusalem Artichoke Soup from my friend Wali Hawes.

I?ll sleep on my list for a few days before I press the go button. The problem with seed catalogues is that you end up wanting to buy far too much. Children and sweet shops comes to mind.

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