2013 Updates

By it's very nature, diary based blogs such as this become repetitive after a couple of years and it's increasingly fifficult to find something new to add. So, from March onwards, I'm going to cut down on the number of posts to only those that I think will be of interest to readers. Posts from previous years will still be accessible but I won't repeat stuff unless there is significant change.

If you really need more information on a post or topic, please feel free to message me and I'll do my best to respond within 24 hours.

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

What, even more no rain?

Yup, no rain from dawn to dusk.  In fact, the sun's been out all day, which is typical, as 'er in doors decreed that we were going shopping for new bedroom furniture this morning and family were dropping by this afternoon.  I did manage an hour or so of pottering...........and a  ½ hour in The Queens Head!


For years I was loosing around 20% of my onion crop to White Rot, that is until last year when it was suggested that I soaked my raised beads in the Autumn with diluted Armillatox.  Having also been told that White Rot was virtually impossible to get rid of in the short term, I felt I had nothing to lose apart from the cost of the treatment.  In 2013 I had zero White Rot, and zero botrytis.  Luck?  Possibly, but I reckoned it was worth trying again.  So, 45 litres of the dilution have watered onto the beds today.  Rain prevented me from doing the job in the Winter, but it looks were're in remission from it for a few days.  In for a penny, in for a pound!

The cheapest source of Armillatox I found is Ebay.

Monday, 27 January 2014

What, no rain?

Even as I right there's a little bit more water descending.  Although, I have to say, today has been glorious, albeit chilly.


The leeks received last week from John Trim have settled in well.  New growth is apparent.  They're sitting on a heat mat which should give them a really sound start.  Today I gave then their first supports in the hope that this will encourage them to grow nice and straight.  The picture shows them next to their shallot bedfellows.


The much talked about 'crook stage' has been reached by my 'Red Baron' onions.  I'm going to give them a few more days before re-planting them into 24 cell modules purely to let a few more germinate.  I want to end up with around 50 plants at plant out time in April, so three modules should be fine.


Garlic is coming on just fine.

For everyday use, I'm growing 'Porbella' leeks this year by way of a change from Musselboro and Autumn Giant, for no other reason than I fancy a change.  A 24-cell module has been sown with 3 seeds per station.

Finally, I've dug 8" deep trenches where I intend to plant my runner beans ans also my show leeks.  I've forked in some highly pungent, well matured cow manure into the bottom of the trenches and back-filled.  I would have rather have done this back in October, but never quite got round to it.  Hopefully, the delay won't make too much difference.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Leeks & shallots

She who must be obeyed without question has decreed that I am to grow banana shallots this year.  So, with the consequences of failure too dreadful to think about, I bought 10 bulbs each of 'Longor' and 'Vigarmor' and potted them up in the cold greenhouse today.  I think I'll thin them like I do with my show shallots which should give me 80 bulbs as an offering to goddess of all things domestic.


My 'Pendle Improved' leeks plants from John Trim arrived yesterday and were immediately put in a jug of water overnight.  As ever, the plants are superb in every way and hopefully will prove winners for the third year in a row at the village show in September.


Today, I trimmed both the roots and top growth before planting them in 4" square pots filled with a mix of Humax Multigrade compost and vermiculite.  After watering, they were placed on a heat mat in the greenhouse to settle in.  With no cold weather forecast for a few days, they should be just fine.  However, I'll create a micro climate for them with a polystyrene sheet enclosure at the weekend to help see them through the worst of the winter.

I've decided that, with a very busy year coming up, that I'll only grow what I know works for me, rather than planting small amounts of anything that purely takes my fancy.  This way, with limited time, I should be able to cut down on the time spent on the plot doing non-productive stuff and concentrate on those varieties that are important to me.  I certainly will not be growing parsnips or beetroot this year, but will increase the the crop of carrots, onions, shallots and tomatoes.  Cucumbers, chillies, courgettes and marrowes will feature, but along with runner beans, will be allocated the same amount of space as in previous years.  Brassicas may feature, but not to any great extent.  With luck, I'll be retiring in 2015 and everything will change again.  Happy days!

Monday, 20 January 2014

And sow it came to pass............

Other than a small batch of Kelsae onion seed that I sowed at Christmas, today was bulk sowing day of both onions and the first batch of chillies.

For the kitchen, and hopefully my local show, I've returned to 'Toughball' which I first tried in 2012 with success.  I've also sown the remainder of last years 'Vento' seed which has also been successful for me in past years.  Although I habitually sow my onions direct into modules, with both of these I've sown in small trays with a view to transplanting into modules when they reach the 'crook' stage, probably in about 10-14 days.  They now reside in one of my heated propagators.

By way of a change, I also sowed a tray of a large, white onion, 'Tonda Musona' which I got from T&M.  They're billed as, 'stunning, large, rounded, white-skinned bulbs with crisp white flesh.', and 'well suited to storing'.  Should be interesting.

I've sown just 2 just varieties of chilli so far as we seem to have rather a lot in the freezer just now.  Some years ago, I discovered 'Serrano' which is a really tasty and quite hot variety, and I thought I'd try them again.  I also sowed a batch of 'Ring of Fire' which is a good, reliable early variety which seems to produce prolifically whatever the summer weather.  I may sow another variety yet, but I'm inclined to think that 4 or 5 plants of what's gone in today will likely be ample for this year.



The photo above sows my kit form growing chamber which I resurrect each year.  It's very basic, but it works to a degree and suits my needs.  On the right are the best 22 Kelsae seedlings that have been potted on today.  If I end up with 12-15 good size bulbs I'll be happy.

Ah, yes.  Nearly forgot to report that my Christmas planted Hative de Niort shallots are coming along fine in the cold greenhouse and have today been joined by a measly 7 bulbs of 'Ouddorpse Bruine' from Plants of Distinction.  Unfortunately, I won't be dealing with this company again unless they can persuade me that their customer service department actually exists.  3 emails has failed to produced any response and their phone is always on answerphone and messages ignored.  They appear to use and separate company to deal with their ordering procedure who are equally disinterested.  Bye, bye Plants of Distinction.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Garlic ahoy!



First of the garlic is through.

Too wet to do anything else, other than start to clear out the greenhouse.  Tomatoes are finished, so they're gone.  Last of the chillies are still very slowly ripening, so I'll leave them where they are until the first frost is forecast.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Between showers.


Well, the threatened storm was certainly no worse than we're reasonably used to in October with no damage done.  Country lanes were a bit dodgy with broken off branches lying about, but nothing to get excited about.

We're harvesting tomatoes, lettuce, leeks and spinach, but the real star is these 'Inferno' chillies.  They average about 6" in length and have a kick of heat which is just about right for the purpose I grow them for.  That is grilling on the BBQ or stuffing with rice, cream cheese or whatever takes your fancy.  There are still quite a few remaining on the plants that haven't turned red yet, so I'll give them the chance for another couple of weeks and then harvest them yellow if needs must.

Planted a further 15 cloves of garlic between showers.  Variety is 'Tesco's Finest'!!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Garlic is go, go, go!



I know it's still a long way off, but 2014 somehow seems to be a bit closer now that my first planting has been made.  As ever, that crop is garlic.  As previously reported, for next year I'm planting 'Solent Wight', 'Early Purple Wight' and, for the hell of it,  Tesco Finest!  I was going to leave the planting for another week, but with so much rain forecast, it seemed sensible to get it done between downpours.  So a 7am start saw me separating the largest cloves from the 4 'Wight' bulbs, dibbing 2" holes 6" apart in rows 9" apart.  All in all, I planted 36 cloves.  The Tesco bulbs will have to wait a while longer until the ground dries a bit.


Friday, 11 October 2013

RHS Harvest Festival Show


For the 4th year I've trekked to London to see the Autumn Harvest show, although I must admit, I nearly gave it a miss this year as it appeared, in 2012, as I thought the standard of the show as a whole was on the decline.  However, this year was better and I really enjoyed the visit.  It was also to meet up with Simon Smith (aka Smithyveg) who kindly helped me out with a fresh batch of Hative de Niort shallots as mine have all rotted this year.


The giant pumpkins were something to behold!  Might have a go next year, just for the hell of it.

The Garlic Farm from the Isle of Wight always have a stand at this show from where I buy my stock for the following year.  This time, I bought bulbs of 'Solent Wight' and 'Early Purple Wight'.  I'm not going to bother with elephant garlic for 2015 as the lady of the house prefers ordinary garlic for cooking, as do I.  However, I've also bought some Tesco Spanish bulbs with a view to establishing once and for all whether or not they are as disease ridden as the UK merchants would have us believe.  At 4 bulbs for £1.50, as opposed to £3 per bulb, it has to be worth the 'risk'.

Other than that, the only other thing I've done is to add a packet of a cipollini-style onion 'Rovato' to my seed stock for 2014.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Seed orders for 2014

I like to get my main seed orders in early before the business gets busy with Christmas and I run out of time.  So fay, I've ordered......

Shelley Seeds

Beetroot 'Pablo'
Cabbage 'Minicole'
Carrot 'Flyaway'
Carrot 'Sweet Candle'
Chilli 'Ring of Fire'
Chilli 'Serrano'
Cucumber 'Carmen'
Coriander 'Cilantro'
Leek 'Porbella'
Onion 'Red Baron'
Onion 'Toughball'
Tomato 'Dometica'
Tomato 'Gardener's Delight'
Lettuce 'Little Gem'

Plants of Distinction

Tomato 'Golden Cherry'
Dwarf Bean 'Speedy'
Shallot sets 'Ouddorpse Bruine'

Thompson & Morgan

Onion 'Tonda Musona'
Spring Onion 'Purplette'
Carrot 'Purple Haze'
Chilli 'Inferno'

In addition, tomorrow I'm visiting the RHS Harvest Festival Show where I should be able to pick up my garlic bulbs for autumn planting and a new supply of 'Hative de Niort' shallot sets from a friend.

I have, of course, got various packs of seeds in stock, both opened and unopened, which will also feature in next years plans, such as marrows, courgettes, peas etc




It's been a while!

Well, I said I'd be back, and here I am after a particularly hectic summer.  It's been really difficult finding the time to fit everything in and unfortunately it's this blog that's suffered most.  Still, we're up and running again in the hope that the future will afford me enough time to post updates on a regular basis.

It has, without doubt, been a challenging year as far as the plot has been concerned.  With the cold, wet spring and early summer, I honestly didn't expect to achieve very much this year, but then the weather changed for the better and we've had it really good from mid-summer onwards.  Even now in early October, we're getting bright sunny days with temperatures in the mid teens which has helped to lengthen the growing season by several weeks.

As far as competition was concerned, although my village show entry was not as good in terms of quality as in previous years, I did well enough with 8 cards including several red ones and Best in Show with a pair of  Pendle Improved leeks.  The most obvious area where I just didn't have the quality was with my onions which just didn't make the size I was aiming at.  Having said that, I won the class as everyone else was suffering with similar problems.

Current state of play............


Onions in store.


'Sweet Candle' carrots, in the first box on the left, have done really well this year and got me a red card at the show.  This really is the best variety I've yet to find.  The second box contains 'Flyaway' which we've almost finished with in the kitchen.  We also have a box of 'Purple Haze' which are also doing very well and making superb eating.  In the foreground we have a few 'Pablo' beetroot and 'Autumn Giant' leeks.  In the background are my 3 remaining 'Pendle Improved' leeks.


'Enorma' runner beans still in production.


The last of the lettuce with 'All the Year Round' in the foreground and 'Little Gem' behind.


Tomatoes are struggling to ripen now, but there are a few still to pick.  Made a couple of jars of Green Tomato Chutney yesterday.


Not a good year for chillies, but these 'Inferno' are doing well.  I'll harvest the red ones this weekend and leave the yellow ones a bit longer.

No photo of the few parsnips that I have in a carrot-type box, but they look to be doing OK.

That's going to be about it for the 2013 season, I think.  However, I'll endeavour to keep posting as preparation for 2014 progresses.



Thursday, 9 May 2013

Re-commissioning of the greenhouse!

If there's one job I dread at this time of year it's clearing out the main greenhouse in readiness for the new season.  It always takes me far longer than I anticipate but as a plus means I usually find 'lost' items, such as my new secateurs which I mislaid last autumn.  With tomatoes, chillies and cucumber plants at, or approaching, the time when they need to go into their final containers, it's a job that really couldn't wait any longer.  As far as my indoor crop of tomatoes are concerned, this is Gro-Bags.


My preference is for the larger Giant Tomato Planters from Levingtons, which have the benefit of holding around twice as much growing medium as standard bags.  This year, I'm growing 'Dometica' which, after trialing it last year, seems to have more flavour than 'Cedrico', but still delivering the quality I want for my local show.  My plants are a bit on the small side this year, but they'll soon catch up.


As in previous years, I'm only growing 2 plants per bag in bottomless pots fitted into the Gro-bags.  Between the plants, I fit smaller bottomless pots which act as watering points.  This allows all the water/fertiliser to get straight to the roots and ensures that the compost remains moist at all times.  Using this method has definitely contributed to the better crops I've had over recent years.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bank Holiday Weekend - Sunday & Monday

Sunday

Waking up to a glorious Sunday morning without a cloud in the sky was a rare treat, especially as I had 2 days of planting out, sowing and general maintenance planned.  So, after an hour in the woods with the dog and a breakfast of bacon sandwich, the planting out commenced


My Pendle Improved leeks are not as advanced as last year's due to the dreadful winter/early spring weather.  |However, with warmth at last, they're now showing signs of picking up.  I only grow these leeks with a view to getting an entry in the local show, which I've won for the last 2 years.  This year, I've planted out just 12 plants so far, but another 8 are waiting in the wings for any spare space I may be able to find.  Normally, I'd start the blanching process at this stage, but this year I've decided to wait until the plants have put on a bit more weight before fitting anything more than short collars which are only designed to increase the length of the stem.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start the blanching process blanching before the end of May.


My runner beans are the variety 'Enorma', which were good for me last year.  Just 6 plants feeds the 3 of us for most of the summer.  The dark patches behind the plants are where I've scattered a handful of pot marigold seeds saved from last year.


I've got several modules of brassicas on the go.  These are Cauliflower 'Raleigh' and Purple Sprouting.  Cabbage and broccoli plants are going to be a little later this year.


Other than a few lettuce plants and Dwarf French Beans (var. Speedy) I filled my largest raised bed with what I hope will end up as large onions.  The varieties are 'Mammoth Red', Kelsae and a locally saved selection from Kelsae stock that I was given some time ago last autumn.

Monday

Woke up to much the same cloudless, but noticeably warmer morning.  The poor old dog had to endure an even earlier outing at 6.30am.  She was not amused until she realised I'd got a load of dog treats in my pocket.  The first big event was that the following bacon sandwich benefited from the addition of a fried egg, thus creating the classic weekend breakfast.  I think I'll designate the bacon sandwich as my signature dish.

Today it was the turn of the smaller 'Vento' and 'Centro' onions to get planted out.  Although I had great hopes for 'Vento', now that the seed is no longer pelleted, again I've been disappointed with the germination rate at about 75% as opposed to 100% for 'Centro'.  So, it's the latter that is better represented.  All in all, I now have around 80 plants in the newest of the raised beds.


Last year, we suffered high winds through much of the earl;y part of the summer which severely damaged the top growth of my onions.  I quickly cobbled together a windbreak for one of the beds which worked well, but those not protected were badly damaged.  The upshot is that I've constructed easily removable protection for the whole crop this year.

New sowings were made of Marrow var. 'Table Dainty', Cabbage var. 'Golden Acre', Lettuce var. 'Little Gem' and more Dwarf Bean 'Speedy'.


Finally, knocked this together.  What is it, I hear you ask.  All will be revealed in about a month or so, at a guess.

And then......


So, that was pretty much it for the long weekend on the plot.  A very pleasing couple of days.

I started these couple of posts with a picture of the plot as it was on Saturday morning.  By last night, it looked like this.  Happy days!



Saturday, 4 May 2013

Bank Holiday Weekend - Saturday

Although I'm working today, I found a few minutes around 7 this morning to take a few snaps which hopefully will be the start of a before and after thing.


The plot currently looks like this.  Click the pic to enlarge.


The mini-greenhouse contains various plants I'm hardening off which will be planted out tomorrow or Monday.


The spinach I've kept going over the winter, and trimmed a few weeks back, is ready for the first cut.  I'll sow more seed this weekend.


Parsnips are settling in well.


Sweet Candle carrots are away.



Garlic is doing really well.  Hopefully, I'll get a decent showing this year after a non-event in 2012!


Chillies are well behind last year, but they'll catch up if we get a bit of a summer.


Autumn Giant leeks pricked out into 15 cell modules.


Tomatoes are all coming along OK, but still relatively small.  They'll be OK come August/September.  These are 'Dometica'.

That's it for today.  Weather permitting, by Monday night it'll all look rather different.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

April Update

Well, at last the Winter appears to be over.  Having said that, we had a couple of frosts at the beginning of last week, and the possibility of low night temperatures were mentioned on last night's forecast for later this week.  Hopefully, I've got enough protection set up in my greenhouses to minimise the risk to young plants.

It's been a rather frantic couple of weeks with everything needing attention at the same time.  Other commitments have meant that every spare daylight moment has needed to be spent trying to keep on top of things.  Later today I begin my habitual business trip to Manchester, Stockport and Huddersfield, so nothing more will get done on the plot before the middle of next week.  While in Huddersfield tomorrow, I'm going to visit Pauil Bastow's latest venture for a light lunch, his tapas restaurant, Casa Colina, in Slaithwaite, which apparently is rapidly becoming the must visit destination north of Watford.  The attached ferreting museum is World renowned, so I'm given to believe.  I'll hit Trip Advisor with my review next week, so the food better be good.  LOL!


The main greenhouse is packed to bursting, with so many plants catching up lost momentum due to the cold weather.  The legacy of the dreadful winter we've all endured is that just about everything is about 3-4 weeks behind where it should be for the end of April.  The current rate of growth would seem to indicate that most crops will catch up, but whether they perform as well as usual remains to be seen.


This photo shows a mixed bag of onions and flowering plants.  In the left corner is a locally bought large, white onion which I've set for seed.  This is the third (or fourth!) year I've tried this, but without success.  This year will be different..........


Here we have more onions, Gardener's Delight tomatoes and, in the background, my chilli plants which are well behind previous years.

In the top photo you can see my John Trim Pendle leeks which are also a couple of weeks behind.  Having said that, they're now growing well and should produce reasonable specimens for the village show in September.  Also on the bench are Dwarf French Beans, a tray of Autumn Giant leek seedlings and modules of cauliflower, cabbage and brocolli.


My first batches of carrots have just been sown.  Sow far, I have Sweet Candle, Purple Haze and Early Nantes.  Next month, I'll be sowing more of the same, plus Flyaway.


The first outdoor planting is of Red Baron onions grown from sets.  After a slow start in pots in the greenhouse, they've started to come on well and were planted out on Sunday.  This is the first time I've grown red onions from sets and I'm only taking this route as I forgot to order seed last Autumn!


The second outdoor planting is of 'Show Perfection' peas.


The third is of just a few parsnips - we don't eat that many.

That's really about it for now.  The only things I haven't mentioned are the runner beans (Enorma) which have just germinated, Dometica tomatoes and courgettes which are just sown.  Finally, I've prepared a mini raised bed with well rotted cow shite, horticultural sand and good quality compost which is destined to be the home for the best of my Long Green Trailing marrow plants.  I'm going to try and grow a seriously big marrow this year, and to quote the late Harry Worth, 'I don't know why, but there it is.'



Thursday, 28 March 2013

Is Spring about to happen?

Well, it's now a couple of weeks since we had any rain or snow worth talking about and the soil on the plot is just about workable for the first time since last October.  Surly this must have been the most vicious winter we've endured for many a decade.  So, I dug out my little electric rotavator and gave the plot a good going over.  I'll run over it again over the weekend and a couple more times over the next few weeks so that I have a good and fine tilth for the early sowings and planting out.

After a certain amount of nagging from 'er in doors, I moved 7 bags of compost off the drive and, after mixing with various potions, finished filling my 3 carrot boxes and the parsnip box.  'Various potions' means sharp sand, Vermiculite, Sulphate of Potash, Superphosphate, Vitax Q4 and lime.


Last week I set my parsnip seed to chit.  Now the seeds showing signs of life are sown in bio-degradable tubes filled with MG compost.

Have sown my tomato seeds indoors.  This year, once again, I'm growing 'Dometica' which has a lovely balance between flavour and a shape suitable for showing.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Parsnips are go, go, go!


Exactly a week after they were set out to chit, the first four seeds have come to life.  They've now been planted in biodegradable tubes filled with MG compost.  Hopefully they will be showing through the compost within a fortnight or so.

With the weather still bitterly cold, there's no immediate prospect of getting anything else done this side of Easter as far as the plot is concerned.  However, on my day off on Wednesday, I'm hoping to get my main tomato sowing done,  The Gardener's Delight are now germinated but will remain in the growing chamber until the weather warms up.

As far as the current contents of the greenhouse are concerned, mostly onions and leeks, they will catch up to a degree, but I'm getting close to giving up on producing any show stoppers this year.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

This weather is now getting boring!

Well, it's back to arctic conditions her with bitterly cold wind, rain and a real threat of more snow if the temperature drops by another couple of degrees.  It really is very depressing, to the point that I'm seriously considering just producing good kitchen quality crops this year,. rather than attempting grow top quality stuff which may or may not get entered into local shows.  Just about everything I've sown so far this year is way behind, probably by almost a month in the case of some of my onion seedlings.  At least my Pendle Improved leeks are growing away nicely, but even they are behind by a couple of weeks or more.

The only outside job I've done today, before the rain set in, was to plant out the first of my shallots into the big planter I built a couple of years back.  These are bulbs saved from my last years crop which were planted at Christmas.  They're OK, but growing rather erratically and are certainly not as good as at this time last year.  I've still got quite a few new Hative de Niort and Jermor bulbs in pots in the greenhouse which I'll try and get planted out by Easter.  Sorry there's no photo, but the rain started before I had a chance to do it.


I'm not growing as many parsnips as usual this year as we just don't use enough of them to justify it.  However, I do like to grow some, so I've set the seed out to chit as usual.  The reason for chitting is quite simple.  Firstly, with parsnip seed being somewhat fickle when it comes to germination, starting them off in the kitchen on damp kitchen towel means that one can eventually plant only those seeds that have actually sprung into life.  Secondly, starting them off this way seems to give stronger plants earlier.  Thirdly, it involves little effort other than placing the seed on on the wet paper in a saucer and putting a glass over them .  They'll start shooting in a week or so and be planted into compost immediately they show that first sign of life.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Spring threatens!


By 7am yesterday, the garden was bathed in the first serious sunshine we've experienced in 2013.  By 9am, the aforementioned sun had begun to warm the air resulting in a truly Spring-like day.  Fortunately, I had nothing planned, other than to work in the garden.  Even 'er in doors appeared outdoors, together with the Director of Horticulture.  However, the latter seemed more inclined to playing football rather than helping!

As I am still recovering from a chest infection and a flu-like bug, I thought it best to get the only urgent heavy job out of the way first and then do the easy stuff later.  This involved moving the remaining pile of topsoil that has sat on my drive for the best part of 8 months.  The soil has always been earmarked for the new raised bed I put together in January, but this has been the first opportunity to finish filling it owing to the persistent wet weather of late.  Anyway, it's done now.  All that remains is to slowly but surely incorporate it into the existing compost by going over it a number of times with a 3 prong cultivator, followed by a good raking to produce a fine tilth.


The same wet weather that has stopped me from filling the raised bed has also meant that I haven't yet been able yet to rotovate the open part of the plot or indeed, do anything to it.  The remains of last years crop of spinach is still in the ground having survived temperatures down to -5C and starting to send up new growth.
I've now tidied up the plants in the hope that I'll get a nice early crop well before this years sowings mature.


The only real job of consequence to do in the greenhouse was to fit the first collars to my 'Pendle Improved' leeks in order to encourage them to lengthen.  I'm not too optimistic that I can produce leeks to the same standard as last year's, but I'll certainly have a go


While on the subject of leeks, for general kitchen use, I've sown 60 stations with 'Autumn Giant' seed, a variety that I haven't tried before.  They're now in the warmth of my office until germination.

Other sowings included Chilli - 'Demon Red', Cauliflower - 'Raleigh' and Cabbage - 'Golden Acre' and Lettuce - 'Little Gem'.

Last week, Thompson & Morgan sent me a 'come back, all is forgiven' mailshot which included a £5 voucher.  This was timely seeing as I'd planned to buy some 'Gardener's Delight' tomato seed which I'd forgotten to get, some more chilli seed to replace the failed 'Firecracker' sown just after Christmas and 3 packets of Cosmos seed.  The whole lot for £2.10.  Cant be bad!

Finally, I found 2x 15-cell modules in one of my propagators with onion seedlings poking through but without labels.  I think they're the remains of my 'Vento' seed, but I'm not at all certain.  Age does wonders for the memory.......not!