from the foundation for ecological security

By Fergus Walker

Spring will soon be here, and the Seed Truck is busy building a mini mobile Seed Store. We are getting ready to order a great big stock of seeds – but before we do that, we need your help to choose which varieties we get!

a photo from Kews Millennium Seedbank

a photo from Kews Millennium Seedbank

We’re going to kit out a whole wall of the Seed Truck with a big rack of drawers, labelled A-Z, fill them up with varieties of heritage and non-hybrid seeds (so that you can save your seed for next year), and then we will be ready to set out on the road. We will be putting on a number of free seed events in the next couple of months to distribute our treasure to all the keen gardeners out there – and swap seeds too. If you have some seeds that you saved from last year – or some left over from an over enthusiastic seed order, we would love to add them to our collection.

But we want to make sure that the varieties that we put in our collection are ones that grow well in Scotland – that will withstand the wind and rain, or pesky pests, or floods (as with most of Scotland last year) or droughts (as with the Hebrides) – as well as those varieties that are difficult to grow but worth it just for the taste, or ones that give a huge crop, or store really well, or keep you going in the darkest depths of winter. So here’s an example list of veg that we want your help with (not an exclusive list – just what I could think of right now!):

beetroot, broad beans, french nbroccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, garlic, french beans, lettuce, onions, pak choi, peas, potatoes, radish, salad, raspberries, rhubarb, runner beans, french beans shallots, spinach, turnips, carrots, courgettes, cucumber, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, parsnips, celeriac, celery, chard, fennel, peppers, chillies, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, slads, swede, asparagus, chicory, mushrooms, basil, chives, coriander, dill, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, sorrel, thyme, bay, lovage, marjoram.

And while we’re at it, you might as well suggest your favourite varieties of fruits too – for example:

raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, brambles, redcurrants, worcesterberries, tayberries, gooseberries, apple, pear, plum, damson, cherry

Please send answers to the following questions on a postcard to the Fife Diet office, or as a comment on this post, or a tweet @theseedtruck

  • What’s your favourite vegetable variety/varieties?
  • Why do you love it/them
  • Any top tips on growing/storing/seed saving/cooking etc?

I’ll go first: my favourite variety of potato is King Edward, because it tastes great, has quite a good yield, and seems to be quite disease resistant, storing well.

5 Comments
  • Kirsty Sutherland January 26, 2013 at 14:49

    We have been trialling many veg and salad types over the last three years. Also apple and plum varieties. Soon to add pears and a new rootstock for Scottish apples. This has been undertaken at a variety of local community gardens and an organic food growing project at Craigie Farm a couple of years ago.

    Blight resistant maincrop potatos – Sarpo axona proved very good this year with a large crop even when late blight hit varieties growing beside them and all around north edinburgh.

    Too many varieties to list here and also soft fruits which would take me hours to put in one very long post.

    Kx

  • Admin
    The Fife Diet January 25, 2013 at 14:08

    Great news about the Champion of England peas – we have some of those to try this year. On the subject of peas Real Seeds do a fantastic gigantic mangtout pea called Bijou which we grew at the Kids’ Club last year and it was fantastic. Elly

  • Lynsey January 25, 2013 at 13:59

    Potatoes: Duke of York and Red Duke of York have grown very successfully in my garden the last few years. Very tasty, floury varieties.

    Peas: I bought a small supply of Champion of England peas last year from the Real Seed Company, and collected seed from the very successful plants. This variety was thought to be extinct, there’s a story about it on their website. It’s a very high plant, growing up to 10ft tall, and a heavy cropper with large full pods. Ideal for small gardens. They do need a lot of support, since they grow so high. I can probably pass along a small supply of pea seeds, if anyone wants to try them out, save seed and keep sharing.

    Courgettes: I grew a white variety last year (Trieste White Half-Long) which was even more prolific than the usual green varieties, again bought from the Real Seed Co. It wasn’t in the least bit bothered by excessive rain and cool weather last summer. Sweeter tasting than the green varieties I’ve tried.

  • Lynsey January 25, 2013 at 13:57

    Potatoes: Duke of York and Red Duke of York have grown very successfully in my garden the last few years. Very tasty, floury varieties.

    Peas: I bought a small supply of Champion of England peas last year from the Real Seed Company, and collected seed from the very successful plants. This variety was thought to be extinct, there’s a story about it on their website. It’s a very high plant, growing up to 10ft tall, and a heavy cropper with large full pods. Ideal for small gardens. They do need a lot of support, since they grow so high. I can probably pass along a small supply of pea seeds, if anyone wants to try them out, save seed and keep sharing.

    Courgettes: I grew a white variety last year (Trieste White Half-Long) which was even more prolific than the usual green varieties, again bought from the Real Seed Co. It wasn’t in the least bit bothered by excessive rain and cool weather last summer.

  • Evie Murray January 25, 2013 at 12:54

    You might like to add Cherry trees?