Friday, 15 May 2009

Welcome to the new plastic-house

A few days ago I was wandering around eBay (as you do) when I thought I'd visit some of the seller's I have saved that I've not been to for a while. One of these is Premier Seeds Direct. They're fully registered and inspected by DEFRA so you can be assured of the quality of their seeds, and they do some fabulous and unusual varieties. Prices are very reasonable too - everything is 99p a packet plus postage but if you buy several packets, you only pay one lot of postage and everything arrives in a couple of days. I can highly recommend their site and suggest that you head off there for a wander round yourself.

I got five packets of seeds, a couple of which, no doubt, I could have got from my local Homebase but as I was already loading up with other seeds I thought I'd bung those in the basket as well. What I got was:

Crystal Lemon Cucumbers - The website says: "An unusual Heirloom variety producing a profusion of apple-shaped fruits, with lemon-coloured skin and lime green flesh, which is very mild, sweet, and never bitter. Best harvested at lemon size. Although outstanding for salads or pickling, chances are you will end up eating most of these delectable nuggets out-of-hand like an apple. This is a vigorous plant which should yield a tremendous crop." I did extremely well with just two Telegraph cucumber plants last year so we'll see how these interesting ones go.

Dwarf Yellow French Beans 'Rocquencourt' -"One of the finest and earliest yellow heirloom French Filets available with a taste that is truly un-comparable. Heavy crops of long thin oval yellow string-less pods with black seeds are produced on sturdy dwarf plants. Can be sown in succession until mid-July as this is one of the most cold tolerant of all French beans." This sounds good, doesn't it? I'll let you know how it goes. I also don't know if the colour remains when cooked or if they turn green, like those purple ones you can get. But I expect I'll find out.

Summer Squash Early White Bush Scallop - "A prolific variety, scallop-edged and flattened, this patty-pan variety is sweet, nutty and white-fleshed. Compact bush-type plant is ideal when space is a factor. Cultivation character and habit as per Courgettes, fruiting all summer if picked regularly. For optimum eating quality, harvest when fruit are a maximum of eight inches in diameter. Use raw in salads and with dips, or steamed, fried and baked. Freezes well. Matures in 50-55 days." Don't these look fab? This is just an experiment really because I've no idea if I'll even like the taste of them but, hey, if I don't give them a go then I'll never know, right?

Little Gem Lettuce - "One of the quickest and earliest varieties to mature. Little Gem produced small compact plants which are packed with a crisp sweet heart and little outside leaf". It'll be a miracle if I can get this to grow properly but I like shop-bought Little Gem so thought it was worth a try.

Broccoli (strictly, Calabrese) 'Waltham 29' - "Excellent compact, 20 inch plants have dark blue/green, solid, medium sized heads, with plenty of side shoots once the main head is harvested. Developed to withstand the coldest of winters. Don't use this variety for spring planting. Best for late summer sowing for autumn to spring harvests." I grew Purple Sprouting Broccoli last year and wasn't exactly bowled over by it. What I want to try this year is 'proper' Broccoli, like what you get in the shops, which is actually Calabrese. I'm hedging my bets with this, though, because I also bought a polystyrene tray of six Calabrese seedlings today that were on special offer, which can go into the allotment shortly.

But then it dawned on me that I didn't really have enough space left in the plastic- house in the garden so decided there was only one thing for it, and that I'd have to just get another one, so welcome, one and all, to the new companion plastic-house (the one on the right of the picture). May the deity of your choice bless her and all who grow in her!

(God, I don't know what's happened with the fonts and the colours and I can't sort it out. Look, just read the words and ignore the rest of it. Hopefully the next post it will be back to normal!!)

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