2012 seeds

This year’s seed order arrived on Saturday – one packet of Black Forest climbing courgette seeds from Thompson and Morgan. Which cost just short of a fiver including postage. So is that expensive or cheap? It’s certainly a lot of money for six seeds, but, all being well, one plant will supply me with all the courgettes I can eat (and more) in the summer and autumn. In my experience the seeds remain viable for several years, so that’s two or three years worth of all-the-courgettes-I-want. And lastly, I didn’t need anything else from T&M and I resisted the temptation to add things to my basket because I was paying the postage anyway…

Which adds up a to a sensible budgeting decision in my book! I could have waited for a free postage offer, but the Black Forest variety is becoming very popular and last year I couldn’t get any seed at all, so I snapped them up as soon as I saw them in the catalogue.

My seed sowing plans for the year are pretty modest compared to many of my friends, but I’ve already made a start! I have basil growing indoors from seed given to me by a local friend and, inspired by Veg Plotting and Esculent et cetera via Twitter, I’ve also set some alfalfa seeds to sprout. The weather is so mild the sprouts should do OK even in my erratically heated and generally cool house, though I do sometimes wonder whether I should rinse them in tepid water rather than straight from the tap. It must give them a nasty shock being chilled twice a day.

Apart from more batches of alfalfa and maybe some indoor garlic chives and rocket, I probably won’t sow anything else for at least two if not three months. As I grow everything out of doors I tend to sow later rather than earlier – late sown seed soon catches up and is less likely to be set back by changeable weather. In addition to the courgettes I’ll be growing runner beans (the remains of last year’s seeds), salad stuff (old and saved seed), parsley (saved seed) and, if I can find space for them, some King Richard leeks. If I grow tomatoes I’ll just buy a couple of plants if I’m not given any, but I’m a bit tired of tomato failures, so I might give them a miss this year and ensure a fabulous growing season for everyone else.


This year's courgettes

Courgette Black Forest F1 Hybrid from Thompson and Morgan.

Don’t they look like nice healthy seedlings? With a bit of luck those babies will go on to produce upwards of thirty courgettes each during the summer and early autumn. I usually grow my courgettes in one of the raised beds, but this year I’ve run out of room there and haven’t managed to created the planned third bed so they will have to take their chance in a pot. Watering will be a bit of a pain in the bum, but I can’t quite reconcile myself to not having any home-grown courgettes at all.

Although the instructions say that this variety is best grown in a container on the patio, the only other time I tried that they did very badly indeed. But it was rather a small pot. This time I’m going to put one plant in my old recycling box with a couple of grow-bags worth of compost and train it along the fence. The second plant is for back-up – if I don’t need it I shall find it a happy home in someone else’s garden.

I shall be quite happy with a lesser crop than usual – by the end of September I’m usually more than ready for a break from eating courgettes and there’s only so much room in the freezer for pasta sauce and courgette bread. But I will be thoroughly cheesed off it they fail as disastrously as the first year I put one in a pot…