Herbs here

It took me a long time to decide what to order from the Kings seed catalogue. Like at least a month. 

I had to be very disciplined and say no to stuff that I know will struggle in my garden or be economically pointless. In view of the limited space available for germination, seeds where possible needed to be of the kind that could go straight in the ground. Also, as far as possible I would like plants that are perennial and/or beneficial for bees etc.

Now, have I achieved that? 

Tomatoes, well, not perennial or renowned for the support they afford beneficial insects. However, much, much cheaper than those from the organic farm and so much more delicious.

Melons, equally not perennial and might fall down on the support issue, especially as they will need to be grown under glass, aka behind the dining room windows. I couldn’t resist something I know my daughter will love, if they grow and produce!

Seakale is perennial but has the disadvantage of being a root crop. Still, I am keen to see if it grows, as it would be nice to have an asparagus type of crop. 

As for the rest, they are either tried and tested, such as runner beans, or it would be great to have my own supply. Caraway seeds, for example, I have newly got into when making rye bread. I have no idea how long, if ever, it will be before I am self-sufficient in them, but it might reduce the number of last minute trips to a distant shop, since this herb is less well-known in these parts.

What are you trying for the first time this year? And what are your criteria for seed selection?


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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16 Responses to Herbs here

  1. mortaltree says:

    I like your mission of proving the economic viability of gardening. Have you ever thought of letting some of these self seed to increase the sustainability and economics?

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I do let stuff self-seed. The chard was brilliant last year and I have no doubt that it will be the same again this year, if I let it.

      The seeds I’ve bought are either stuff I’ve never grown before (i.e. not had the opportunity to access the seeds) or the seeds were non-viable (e.g. tomatoes got blight last year).

      • mortaltree says:

        Thanks for catching me up on your practice. Obviously I need to peruse your archive to get up to speed on all you do. I’m quite interested in self-seeding vegetables lately to improve the PASSIVE gardening system. Unfortunately, chard and beets can’t overwinter here unless well covered or in a greenhouse, but I’m experimenting to see what can be done. Let me know if you come across anything hardier in that area.

        • Helen says:

          The harder your winters the more challenging a passive gardening system might be, I can imagine! Our winters here are generally quite mild in spite of the latitude because of the Gulf Stream coming up from the Caribbean.

          I tried growing chard as a perennial but that doesn’t work too well, more because it bolts once it gets dry in the spring/summer. On the other hand, the cold (not normally below freezing, except for a few nights) doesn’t seem to stop the seeds from germinating. So a new batch can grow each year. I’ve only just discovered this, though, so I wouldn’t like to suggest I’m seasoned in these matter.

          So far the main plants in my passive gardening system are, apart from chard: borage, phacelia t. (green manure type), buckwheat, fennel (herb), Jerusalem artichokes and poppies.

          Last year, I collected carrot seeds but have yet to see whether they are viable. I’ve also got garlic which is growing from bulbils but again have yet to see what that produces, so am waiting with bated breath, particularly as I’ve been self-sufficient on garlic for a few years and wouldn’t like to have to resort to the shops now.

          How far I go with perennials vs. seed-saving annuals remains to be seen. I’m still very much experimenting with what works in my own garden and learning generally in spades.

          Anyway, it sounds like we are of a similar mind – so glad we have found each other’s blogs to share ideas!

          • mortaltree says:

            Alan over at Of Plums and Pignuts has an especially leafy Beta species he just refers to as “leaf beet” he grows in a similar way. Not quite sure exactly what it is, but if you haven’t seen the post, you might find it of interest. I think the title of that post is Verb: to spinach. I’ll keep an eye out for how the garlic and carrots you mentioned shape up. It sounds like it could be quite useful for you.

          • Helen says:

            Thanks for the tip about Of Plums and Pignuts – I will look the post up.

            It will certainly be great is I get garlic and carrots which are naturalised to my garden’s conditions 😃.

  2. Kalamain says:

    I’m just doing basics again this year. Tomatoes, chilies, potatoes, onions and the sweet potatoes if they produce slips. I may try some lettuce and peas if I am feeling brave though.

    • Helen says:

      Nothing wrong with that! I hope the sweet potatoes work…. You could probably start the lettuce soon, so it has a chance to grow before it gets too warm and bolts.

      I’ve not had much success with peas. The mangetout did brilliantly in 2015 but last year were a flop, so I’m hoping new seeds of shelling peas (though the pods are supposed to be stringless) will be worth the effort.

  3. jeffpermie says:

    Have you tried Real Seed? their seed is all grown in Wales so should pretty much work across most of the UK, I would love to write what Im trying this year but the list is too long! Three new ones are Quinoa, Purple Beans and Amaranths

    • Helen says:

      You must have plenty of space – good luck.

      I discovered a company like Real Seeds in Spalding (cf post of Seed Co-operative – 21 April 2017). Good that these companies are coming into existence.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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