Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Starting seeds for Autumn and Winter

I'm a bit of a seed collector and if I were to hazard a guess I would say there would be close to 200 seed packets in my collection. You might say I have a problem - well maybe I do. I just love seeds! 

The variety of vegetables that come from seed are incredible. If I did't have the seeds to prove it I wouldn't believe nature could produce such works of art like Big Rainbow Tomato, Rosa Bianca Eggplant, Yugoslavian Red lettuce - I could go on forever. These are varieties you will never see in the supermarket(or maybe you will but they will be limp and sad) and I like the idea of growing things my  Grandpa or Grandma might have grown when they were younger (Grandpa always had the most amazing Garden). So without further ado here are a few of the varieties I have sown for Autumn and Winter.

I love Franchi seeds (I think the are my favorite), from the lovely packets to the amount of seed you receive and the germination rates are amazing. I get mine from "The Italian Gardener". Above is Di Jesi Cauliflower (it has a similar spiral pattern to Romanesco broccoli but more subtle), Verde Di Macerata Cauliflower, San Michelle Cabage, Nero di Toscana precoce Kale and D'inverno Nero Tondo a round black winter radish. Not pictured is another Franchi variety of cabbage I'm growing - Cour Di Bue Gross which is a conical cabbage.

Here is one of my San Michelle starts protected from Cabbage whites and puppy dogs.

Im growing the above chard variety Verde a Costa Bianca 2 which is noted as being a "2 in 1" crop as the stems of this variety are used in gratins and the leaves are of a softer texture than most other chard. Merlo Nero or blackbird is a spinach I'm growing anlong with another variety D'inverno Gigante and a flatted Beetroot Egitto Migliorata.
I also love "The Lost Seed", they have a huge variety of seed and great customer service. The Varieties are Perpetual Spinach, Long Island Improved Brussel Sprouts, Green Sprouting Broccoli, Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, Gold Ball Turnip, American Wonder pea bush and Waltham 29 Broccoli.
I pretty new to "Southern harvest seeds" but so far I really like them. Above is Purple podded Pea, Alderman Pea and Tasmania Butter Swede. I just put in another order for Celeriac, Superschmelz Kohl Rabi and Domenica Sweet Onion. 

I'm staring some seeds in root trainers, I have also just potted on my celery Dorati Di Asti.
These are the Cour Di Bue Grosso Cabbage I started them in old toilet rolls and some Rossa Lunga Di Frienze onion seedlings in the back ground.

So what seeds are you starting for your garden? I would love to hear what varieties every one has had success with as well.

P.s to any one in the Northern Hemisphere reading -who will be starting summer crops I would love to recommend a Tomato called Big Rainbow. This is a picture of mine at the moment, so productive and very tasty.


  1. I bought some Southern Harvest seeds at Ceres and i too have been pretty impressed with both their range and quality. I will have to seek out the Franchi seeds - I have to admit I like seed packets with pictures on them - easy to remember what they're supposed to look like.

  2. The Franchi seeds are great - they are a bit more expensive but you get about 10 times more seed, I cook very italian influenced meals so the range they have suits me really well. I had to google Ceres, looks like a great place! wish we had something similar down on the island.