Sowing time is always an exciting time! This year I’m adding a few new varieties of vegetables and flowers, and now I’ve got all the seeds I want (for the moment!) I can start sowing indoors. Here’s what’s on the list; those asterisked are those I’ll be growing for the first time:Vegetable seed list
Oregon Sugar Pod Peas*
Vicia faba ‘Hangdown’ *
I’ve not had huge success growing climbing beans here and what with the wet summer last year and the windy school site, I’ve decided not to grow them this year. Instead I’m focussing on growing more cooler-weather legumes. The Ambrosia peas that have, by contrast, been easy growers and have produced tasty crops will be joined this year with two varieties of mange tout- type (flat pod) peas and broad beans.
Red Cabbage ‘Holdbar Vinter’*
Savoy Cabbage ‘Smaragd’*
Green Kale ‘Westlander Winter’
Red Kale ‘Redbor’
Kale is another stalwart so I will be growing both red and green Kale varieties again alongside two cabbages for the first time: a red cabbage, which I thought would be nice for raw salads or even pickling, and a Savoy cabbage which is very commonly found in Sweden but very hard to come by here in Norway.
Rucola (Salad Rocket)
Winter Purslane (Claytonia)
Lambs Lettuce (Corn Salad)
Red Giant Mustard leaf
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)*
Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce
I use the Iceberg and Merveille lettuces to delineate the kitchen plots within the raised beds at the school garden. These are happy as cut and come again crops and their contrasting foliage is pretty. I was intending to grow the other varieties solely at home and sow them in succession to produce continuous harvests of salad leaves, but I may also drop in one or two into the school site, in gaps between crops as time goes on.
I was thrilled to discover that Solhatt seed producers have introduced watercress seeds for the first time this year. I love its peppery leaves so I jumped at the chance of trying to grow some. Watercress thrives in slow-moving water but I’ll grow it at home where I can monitor it more closely and make sure it is kept constantly moist.
Roots (& Beets)
Beta vulgaris ‘Tondo di Chioggia’ *; ‘Robushka’; ‘Burpees Golden’*
Daucus carota ‘Atomic Red’; ‘Milan’; ‘Purple Haze’; ‘Cosmic Purple’
So I ordered the fennel before I realised it’s completely unsuitable to grow with the other vegetables as it’s allelopathic, i.e. inhibits the growth of other plants around it! Dill is the only other plant that it can be grown with without any adverse effects. I’ll try growing it in a pot at home and set it apart from the other vegetables as I love fennel bulbs and am curious to see how it does.
Carrots have an interminably long growing season but are easy to grow, versatile to eat and magical for kids to harvest. I’ll grow four varieties again.
This year I’m growing two new Beetroot varieties which I hope will be as tasty as much as they are attractive; the Choggia with its distinctive candy stripe pattern when you cut it open, and Burpees Golden with its brilliant orange colour.
I’ve been spurred on by the family to grow more tomatoes this year, so I’ll give it a go again and see how we get on. Two years ago three Matina tomato plants grew well outside in our south-facing sun trap, and even the tomatoes that hadn’t ripened by the time the frosts came were perfect to make into lovely green tomato chutney! This year I’ll also try the cherry tomato variety-Zuckertraube.
Chard ‘Rainbow’, ‘Rhubarb’
‘Sunbeam’; ‘Pattypan’; ‘Gold Rush’; ‘Zuboda’
Cucurbita maxima ‘Uchiki Kuri*
Even though last year’s squashes were a bit of a washout I am going to try growing the same varieties again alongside a new winter squash variety: Uchiki Kuri. I’ve chosen it in particular because its pear-shaped pumpkins are small but store well and are reportedly very tasty. It also grows as a vine, so I’m hoping it’ll not only look impressive on a trellis but also free up some space to plant out more things in the plot. Squashes tend to be space hungry so having a bit of extra room to squeeze in other things would be very useful.