First seeds..

Not for sowing, as yet, but I was as excited as can be at the arrival of my Heritage Seed Library allocation this morning. I was a bit late submitting my order and so one of my first choices was missing (Ryder’s Midday Sun yellow tomato – I was interested as the description said it would be good for a wet season which we expect to be a regular feature in our new home). But all the rest including the two most important to me were there, plus my lucky dip sounds useful.

Kale Daubenton – a perennial kale – there seems to be some debate over whether the truly perennial type flowers or produces viable seed but I saw on a forum an answer from the Seed Library staff saying that there are different strains and this is definitely a perennial type. We were very pleased with the vigour and texture of Spis Bladene last year so we’re looking forward to this one too.

Climbing French Bean Major Cook’s Bean – I’ve grown and saved seed from this before but can I find it? No. It looks likely that we ate the seed by mistake! I was very happy to see it available again and will be more careful this time. Read Daughter of the Soil‘s eulogy for reasons why I want to grow this again.

Climbing French Bean Blue Coco – my lucky dip (a surprise choice by the HSL) – I’m very pleased with this although the seeds and description suspiciously resemble Kew Blue (which I also like – it will be interesting if I can possible wangle growing the two side by side, not literally, of course)

Dwarf French Bean Magpie – yes, I mainly requested this one so that I can stroke the beans. Camera is not handy a the moment but there is a lovely image on HSL’s own site at

Pea Holland Capujiners – since reading this post I have wanted to explore cooking peas, esp after we accidentally wound up with dried peas from the garden (I forget which variety) and found them delicious in soups and stews – I love the grainy texture you get when they’re soft and you push them against the roof of your mouth with your tongue. Just me then? This variety sounds promising, with scented purple flowers and an interesting history.

Pepper Sweet Banana – I didn’t really want to pick this one, but it was suggested by my better half as we like eating sweet peppers and apart from Dedo de Mocha from Real Seeds, our success with them has been indifferent. “Heavy yields” are promised.

Tomato Jubilee – I have more tomato seeds than could possibly be grown even if tomorrow the county suddenly emptied of people and I was delivered a greenhouse the size of a football pitch. However, they store well, and what I haven’t tried yet is a large size yellow tom. An auspicious year for this variety, good thing my childhood Republican tendencies have mellowed!

I tend to be a bit snobbish about some of the varieties in the HSL catalogue that don’t seem to have a very definite background; I am sure there is more to them than the descriptions let on but I am put off the ones that seem to be “the Wibblington-Smyth Purple Pepper” just because Wibblington-Smyth Esq. saved it from a salad he ate when he was in the Algarve for a couple of weeks in the spring of 1985. I’m quite capable of doing this for myself, but if someone else is going to do it for me I want a bit more detail about why it’s such a marvellous thing to gamble some of my precious allocation – and more important, space and time – on. This is the case with several of them (such as Major Cook’s Bean, partly thanks to Rebsie’s great research) and I understand that space and time limit what info the HSL is able to put in the catalogue (and I have found them great at answering questions if I have wanted to know more). However, I prefer to go for ex-commercial, well-known heirlooms, traditional varities with specific uses from other countries, and er, pretty things that I can stroke and ogle, Gollum-like, until it’s possible to plant something at last…

Is it really still only January?

(My first post by email, I wonder if it will be a mess).


One thought on “First seeds..

  1. Mark says:

    I tried Major Cook’s bean last year and loved it. Couldn’t believe how tender and tasty the pods were. I saved seeds but grew blue and white beans in the same area and rather fear they may have crossed – as both the blue and white and major cook seeds look identical!

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