The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

I’ve ordered my seeds


Photo: Open seed box

Photo: Open seed box

Finally I’ve completed ordering my seeds. Mostly from The Real Seed Company and Lunar Organics – who stock biodynamic organic seeds from Stormy Hall Biodynmic Farm. The vegetables varieties that I couldn’t find on these two sites I’ve ordered from my favourite traditional seed supplier Thompson and Morgan. If you do go down the Thompson and Morgan route it’s worth remembering that they give a 10% discount code for your next order with confirmation of your order. So it’s worth buying a small amount and then using the discount code for the rest of your order. Unfortunately I didn’t think to do this.

I questioned Danny closely about anything that he’d like me to grow.
“Brussels Sprouts, cauliflowers, beans, peas and some swede would be good. Well anything except kale.”
I haven’t got round to cooking the frosted kale yet.

So this is what we’ll be growing this year for home consumption and to sell on the gate side stand. I’m going to be selling baby plantlets right through to harvested vegetables, herbs and living lettuces.

From The Real Seed Company

Quick Heading Calabrese this forms heads in 60-80 days
Green Heading Calabrese crops in 120 days
Early Purple Sprouting broccoli which will be ready early march 2011
Cima di Rapa San Marzano – popular on the Continent can be harvested in 40 days
Kailaan stem broccoli – this is new to me and the stem is supposed to be really succulent – can be harvested from 20-70 days
Verde Pueblo tomatillo – for the greenhouse to make into salsas for the gate side stand
Giant Guatemalan Groundcherry – a new fruit for sauces and the gate side stand
Kaibi round sweet pepper – greenhouse
Untranslatable sweet pepper – greenhouse
Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean – this is the one pack of seeds that drew my attention to this site
Cupidon Bean – a green dwarf French bean for salads, cooking, dehydrating and selling plants and beans on the stand
Minidor Bean – a yellow dwarf French bean for salads, cooking, dehydrating and selling plants and beans on the stand
Seven Hills Brussels Sprout – short and compact so less likely to blow
Ottobrino Romanesco Cauliflower – these are just so pretty
Precoce de Louviers Cabbage – harvesting from August into the Autumn
Rouge Tete Noir Cabbage – late summer/early autumn red cabbage
Asturian Tree Cabbage – Spanish heirloom variety – grows like kale, harvested like kale, tastes like cabbage
Summer Crookneck squash – it’s tasty and a fun shape
Tamra Cucumber – I’ll be growing some in the greenhouse and some outside
Fat Baby Achocha – tasty and prolific
Parisian Pickling or Salad Cucumber – to be pickled for the stand
Frise Parsley – apparently this germinates easily and self seeds well. For home consumption and the stand
Finissimo small leaved basil – we love this particular variety also for the stand
Leaf Selection Coriander/cilantro – home consumption and the stand
Red Perilla – a herb with a sweet fruity flavour – home consumption and the stand
Champion Red Top Swede – Danny loves swede
Liscari aka Salsola Soda – new to me but sounds great. Crispy, crunchy slightly salty – eaten raw or cooked
Magenta Magic Orach/German mountain spinach – another new to me veg – leaves can be eaten raw or cooked
Green and Gold Orach – these will look good with the magenta Orach in a salad or stir fry
Land Cress – a really useful leaf in the kitchen garden
Sutherland Kale – thank you Paul for recommending this. It has some great reviews on the site!
Long Lisse de Meaux Carrot – apparently these store very well overwinter
Jaune Obtuse de Doubs Yellow Carrot – not so susceptible to carrot fly
Millefleur Tomato – home consumption and the stand
Alberto’s Locoto/the tree chilli with black seeds – to add a little spice next winter
Autumn Giant Cauliflower – we’ll do two sowings of this. One in early Spring for August harvest and one in late Spring for Winter harvest.

From Lunar Organics. These are all biodynamic seeds
Beetroot Bolthardy – dehydrated these make great crisps/chips
Brussels sprouts Groninger – slightly earlier harvest
Late Purple sprouting broccoli – to increase the harvesting period for another month
Savoy cabbage Westlandse Putjes – harvested Autumn – Mid winter
Butternut squash Waltham – a friend grew this on canes this year with spectacular results
Peas Hurst Green Shaft – an early pea that can be dried or frozen
Mangetout peas Sugar Dwarf Sweet Green – can’t have enough of these!
Sweetcorn True Gold – my sweet corn has been a disaster for the past two years so hopefully these will thrive
Leeks Winter Husky – thrive in Winter
Parsnip White Gem – again thinking of next winter
Swiss Chard Five Colours – attractive and tasty
Cos lettuce Little Gem – my favourite lettuce
Lettuce Red Salad Bowl – a few leave can be picked at a time
Winter Purslane – to be sown in August and September for winter salad leaves
Parsley – flat leafed – for the stand and home consumption
Tomatoes for home and stand (as plants and fruit)
Gardener’s Delight
Red Brandy Wine -an American variety that Tamar recommends
Black Cherry

From Thompson and Morgan:
Broccoli : Early White Sprouting White Eye – this is sensational and not available in the shops
Brussels Sprout : Revenge – these can be harvested through to February 2011
Cauliflower Gipsy – I’m starting these a bit late (should have planted the seeds in October. So I’m setting the seed in the greenhouse this month.
Onion : Bunching/Spring : Ishikuro – apparently these are very easy to grow with a long harvesting season. I have never had success with Spring onions so finger’s crossed
Turnip : Oasis – Danny says UK turnips are tasteless perhaps he’ll be proved wrong
Marigold – French : Boy O’ Boy Mixed to be planted on the perimeter of Danny’s potato border to deter eel worms.
Cabbage : Summer : Hispi – these will be planted now under glass.

I’ve also ordered Zinnia and Cosmos  seeds as I want to sell posies of flowers on the stand too. Along with these we’ll be growing mizuna, patty pan squash and courgettes (I still have seed from last year). I have saved the seed from John’s runner bean plants and the seed from the Sweet Peas.

My 2010 challenge is that sales from the gate side stand will cover the cost of the seed.

It’s going to be a busy year!

  Leave a reply


  1. Very impressive lists, and spare plants can be added to your gate sale!
    I have some of the Amish paste tomato seeds from The Real Seed co. as I love home made pasta sauce. If you want to try a few I am quite happy to send you half a dozen or so (well there aren’t that many in the pack!)

  2. TheHappySpinner

    Fiona – I’m surprised you don’t harvest and dry more of your own seeds? I know this won’t work for F1 varieties but if you stick with more old fashioned stuff then you can save yourself LOTS of money. Granted I work at a seed bank but it’s really not difficult to do. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and never had any disappointments.

    By the way, thanks for the suggestions but I’ve given up on finding off cuts of meat. Guess I’ll just stick with pawing through the ‘reduced’ section at the shop!

  3. That is one impressive list!

  4. Ooooh I’m so jealous! I LOVE the ritual of poring over the catalogues, choosing what to grow, ordering the seeds, and then that happy day when they all arrive and you can sort them into different piles according to where you’ll sow them. Then re-sort according to month of sowing. Then re-re-sort according to type of crop …. or is it just me who does that? Despite being plotless at the moment (in more ways than one!) I’ve still acquired a drawer full of seeds. Joanna – we have Hamburg Parsley here in Croatia too; what a useful plant it is. I find the roots taste of parsnip but with a hint of celery, and they seem to cook quicker than true parsnips. I’ll definitely be growing some when we eventually move into our barn.

  5. Oh you two- one of my favorite things in the world to eat is kale, but I only do it this way:

    Set a pot of water on to boil for pasta (my favorite is Capellini)

    chop and then saute until done 3 strips of bacon. Remove bacon and set aside. Blot most of the bacon fat with a paper towel and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. Your pot of water should be close to boiling now- add the salt to it.

    mince and add a clove or two of garlic to the oil. Watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn and when it’s a little golden, add a ladle full of pasta water to the pan.

    Add your chopped kale (I usually use 8 to 9 leaves) (without the stems!) and put a lid on it to steam.

    Now your pot should be boiling so add your capellini and time it for 3 minutes. When it’s done, fish it out with tongs and add it to the kale. Add the bacon back in and mix it all up.

    Serve with freshly ground parmesan or romano. We’re using romano these days because it’s cheaper.

    I could eat this 3 or 4 times a week, but I think my husband would rebel.

  6. Kate – that was my first thought too.
    I guess we can always dig up the front driveway and park our cars in the street 🙂
    More likely, F will use my car as a propagator, and eventually as a mini greenhouse.
    I will keep you posted!

  7. kate (uk)

    Fiona, you will need more land….

  8. Fiona,
    that’s an impressive seed list. My seeds also arrived today from Nickys Nursery based in Broadstairs and are include veggies, salad crops and oriental mix – swiss chard bright lights, spinach, kale, plum tomatoes with a free packet of wildflower seeds. Just need to decide which potatoes to chit.

    Will be limiting things this year as I start a new exciting work project next month and that will potentially limit time in the garden sadly but only temporarily

    happy sowing

  9. bobquail

    That’s an impressive range of seeds. My main problem at the moment is that our garden is tiny so I’m limited to things like herbs, salad veg, leeks, garlic, mainly in pots. We have a small veg patch where I grew corn, beans and courgettes last year.

    I bought most of my seeds from T&M. They have a good range, and their prices are ok too.

  10. One thing I found since coming to Latvia is Hamburg Parsley. I had seen the adverts in the seed catalogues for it but always ignored it until it was the only thing we could find. It is more reliable than parsnip, tastes about the same and you can use the leaves as a strong parsley flavour. Apparently it doesn’t get carrot root fly but since we haven’t had a huge problem with carrot root fly, can’t really vouch for that.

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