Thursday, January 13, 2011


After a couple of weeks of car trouble and post holiday malaise, blog posts about seed catalogues are popping up all over, so I guess I´ll join in. Even though my opportunities for gardening are somewhat limited at the present.

Last year I bought several packs of seed from Leroy Merlin (a large DIY chain) and Lidl (a discount supermarket chain), so I´ll blame any lack of germination on the quality of the seed rather than my own ineptitude.

I have:

Amaranth (future chicken feed?)
January King Cabbage
Golden Bantam Corn Sweet
Iroquois Melon
Turga Parsnip
Anaheim Pepper
Ancho, Poblano Pepper
Jalapeño, Early
Rouge Vif D´Etampes Pumpkin
Spaghetti Squash
Amish Paste Tomato
Brandywine Tomato
Mortgage Lifter Tomato
Pineapple Tomato
Principe Borghese Tomato
Breadseed Poppy
Black Cohosh

I focused on Mexican peppers, tomatoes, corn, and pumpkins/squash thinking they might not be so easy to find over here, (I mean, surely you can get French beans on this side of the pond, right?)and then I got distracted by other cool stuff like herbs. For further description of these you might look at Territorial Seed.

Since we probably won´t get much in the ground until next year, and pots on the terrace are limited, I am not buying lettuce or spinach seeds because I understand they don´t store for long periods. Dry, cool and dark are the conditions for seed saving, so I´m thinking about trying to get a pack of that silica drying stuff and putting them directly into the freezer for the interim. Either that, or a plastic air-tight container at the back of an interior closet.

I also figure that potatoes, garlic and onions can be got in Galicia. I´ve run across an article in the Faro de Vigo about a seed exchange organized last October for Galician organic farmers. They´ve set up a:

Rede Galega de Sementes con la que se pretende facilitar y promover el uso, producción, mantenimiento y conservación de las semillas de variedades locales y recuperar la biodiversidad agrícola, ambas fundamentales en los sistemas agroecológicos de producción.

Galician Seed Network which is intended to facilitate and promote the use, production, maintenance and conservation of seeds from local varieties and recover agricultural biodiversity, both fundemental to organic agricultural systems.

I´ll have to keep an eye out to see if they have another gathering.

Helpfully,The Cottage Smallholder has listed quite detailed seed orders in the past. I´m assuming a general, but not exact correlation between veggies that do well in an English climate with Galicia - obviously specific microclimates will differ with elevation, proximity to the coast, etc. She seems to highly recommend Real Seed, but I understand that Chase Organics is excellent as well. And in my googling, I ran across Adopt a Veg, which seems like it could be a worthy endeavor for those interested in heritage vareties and preserving biodiversity.

Some of the things I found interesting in Smallholder´s list from last year:

Verde Pueblo tomatillo
Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean
Seven Hills Brussels Sprout
Ottobrino Romanesco Cauliflower
Rouge Tete Noir Cabbage
Asturian Tree Cabbage – Spanish heirloom variety – grows like kale, harvested like kale, tastes like cabbage (This is so interesting - Grelos? CH)
Summer Crookneck squash
Tamra Cucumber
Parisian Pickling or Salad Cucumber
Leaf Selection Coriander/cilantro
Long Lisse de Meaux Carrot

From Lunar Organics. These are all biodynamic seeds

Butternut squash Waltham – a friend grew this on canes this year with spectacular results
Peas Hurst Green Shaft – an early pea that can be dried or frozen
Leeks Winter Husky – thrive in Winter
Parsnip White Gem – again thinking of next winter
Swiss Chard Five Colours – attractive and tasty

She´s had a lot of success with Biodynamics in the last season. I confess I have my doubts, but I suppose planting by moon phase can´t hurt anything.

And I haven´t even begun with the flowers. . .

What are you thinking of planting? Have you grown any on either list? Other sources in the EU?

1 comment:

  1. Now that's what I call enthusiasm! Quite a few of the herbs grow wild here, Meadowsweet you will see along the verges and anywhere where it is damp, it normally starts blooming around May and goes on a long time,both black and white Horehound grows wild here, common Mallow is also here so Marshmallow should do OK,around the conyones de Sil we found masses of wild French lavender growing. We have amaranth growing in the garden,we didn't plant it, it try's to do a take over bid, the hens don't like it but the rabbits eat it.
    We have always planted according to the moon, we find going by the moon can lower germination time up to four days.
    We store all our seed in a ziplock bag in the door of the fridge, that seems to work fine, also, parsnips are not the easiest things to get going, we pop the seed in the freezer for a few days, we get 99% germination this way.