At Pig Row we are always happy to swap seed and have been involved in the inaugural Seedy Penpals. This is a simple scheme, almost like a chain letter but without the paranoia, hysteria and downright stupidity that comes with letters that start: 'If you don't pass this on to ten people you know...'. Seedy Penpals puts you in contact with gardeners you don't know, to pass your spare seed onto a stranger. In turn, you receive seed from another gardener, this becomes chain like but without the aforementioned problems or police knocking on your door asking to help you with their enquiries. So, a couple of weeks ago I heard a knock on the door and there was our post woman with a jiffy bag that she couldn't get through the letterbox. Excited I opened it there and then, whooped and bid our confused postie good day.
Inside was a collection of seeds, some I have heard of, others that I am unfamiliar with. Here was what was in that jiffy bag:
Cucumber F1 Hybrid
English Winter/Late Queen Cauliflower
Leek Lyon 2 Prizetaker
Aubergine Black Beauty
Beetroot Cheltenham Green Top
Celery Green Soup
Cabbage Christmas Drumhead
We're really looking forward to trying our hands with the English Winter/Late Queen Cauliflower and Cabbage Christmas Drumhead. They somehow suggest immediate sowing. The few Leek Lyon 2 Prizetaker seeds seem to indicate that this indeed a monster leek. Possibly one for a village show next year? We'll have more on that in 2013. We think we'll need advice on the cauliflower and christmas cabbage, just to make sure we are sowing at the right time and whether, as heirloom varieties, there is anything we need to take into account. Also, we will need to look at ways of preparing all our cabbages, kales and cauliflowers we'll have in the ground. There is only so much steamed, boiled, sauted and cheese cauliflower the bowels can take.
The great thing about the seedy parcel I got was a lasting correspondence with two gardeners, and 40+ more who have become involved in this voluntary and free scheme. I have always been a fan of seed swap clubs but there aren't any in this area. The great thing about a national seed swap club is the ability to spread around heirloom varieties from the regions, to protect them further. This has got us interested in schemes that protect heirloom varieties, such as, the HSL Seed Guardians. Just shows how a jiffy bag can change your day.
I want to thank Claire at Promenade Plantings (@promenadeplant) and Sue (@TheSeaweeder) for being my #SeedyPenpals.
All products received were free of charge.