Thursday 31 January 2008
Daughter of the Soil Seed Exchange 2008
Here's a list of all the seeds I've got available to swap or give away this year.
I mostly grow and save seed for my own use, but as I tend to go for rare and hard-to-find varieties I err on the side of caution and try to produce more than I need. Once I'm confident I have enough seed to keep the variety going in my own garden, it makes sense for me to give away the rest. I don't have the facilities for long-term seed storage, so there's no point just leaving them languishing in a box. Besides, the best way to help the survival of rare varieties is to get them out there and into people's gardens.
So here's the deal. All the varieties listed below are things I'm happy to give away to anyone who wants to grow them. I may only be able to offer a small quantity (about 20 seeds for peas and beans), which you'll have to bulk up by saving your own seed next year. You don't have to offer me anything in return ... I have limited growing space and to be honest I've already got as many seeds as I can realistically grow this year. If you have any unusual heirlooms, varieties you've had from the Heritage Seed Library, or spare seed from your own breeding projects, I may be interested in those. But otherwise just send me some stamps to cover the cost of postage and packing. A book of 4 or 6 first class (British) stamps will cover the costs of most orders (I'm not looking to make a profit, just to share a bit of garden biodiversity).
All I ask is that you try to care for the seeds. Some are very rare and in growing them in your garden or plot you're taking on a small share of responsibility for their future survival. If possible please save seed from the crops you grow, taking care to keep the variety pure and with a suitably diverse genetic base (see my post on seed saving for guidance on different vegetables, or this even better guide from the International Seed Saving Institute). You may also want to pass on your surplus seed next year, along with the variety names, to other likeminded gardeners.
If you want to send me feedback on how well the crops do in your garden, that's something I always appreciate.
If you're outside the UK, please let me know what you want and I'll calculate the postage. Some countries don't allow international seed swapping. Regrettably that includes the US, which has introduced pointlessly draconian import rules for seeds.
Please email me at: seeds (followed by the little squiggly "at" symbol) rebsiefairholm.co.uk
Beetroot: Cheltenham Green Top - long stubby root, lovely flavour
Beetroot: Egyptian Turnip Rooted - round and flat, early maturing, lovely flavour
Beetroot: White beetroot - large white roots, very sweet, very hardy
Beetroot: Golden - small orange/yellow roots
Climbing bean: Pea bean - pretty pea-sized beans, half white half maroon with speckles
Climbing bean: Mrs Fortune's - vigorous, high-yielding, multipurpose
Dwarf bean: Canadian Wonder - dark red kidney bean, pretty pink flowers
Dwarf bean: Purple Queen - beautiful plants with delicious shiny flat purple pods
Pea: Magnum Bonum - very tall, delicious flavour, one of my favourites
Pea: Ne Plus Ultra - old variety, tall, good flavour ... sorry, all gone
Pea: Oregon Trail - dwarf variety with mildew resistance
Tomato: Clementine - golden yellow French cocktail tomato, makes huge trusses
Tomato: Persimmon - very large orange fruits ... sorry, all gone
Available in small/limited amounts (first come first served!):
Beetroot: Rouge Crapaudine - old French variety, long thin roots, delish!
Climbing bean: Kew Blue - beautiful purple pods, excellent flavour
Pea: Champion of England - nice old-fashioned tall pea
Pea: Corne de Belier - very old mangetout type, excellent flavour ... sorry, all gone