Happy midwinter everyone! For the last few weeks I have been deliberately trying to slow down, to spend some time relaxing and recuperating after a busy year. The garden has been doing the same, and so I have been leaving it to its own devices. When I have thought about it, it’s been more in terms of what I might choose to grow next year.

December is the time when the new Heritage Seed Library (HSL) catalogue comes out, and keen gardeners across the country pick some old-fashioned varieties to grow next year. I’ve been a member for quite some time now, but I still look forward to it. Since I don’t have space to grow everything all the time (a lesson that is hard to learn and which I have to keep re-learning!), this year I shared my seed quota with a friend. Alison from the Backyard Larder chose Zapallito de Toscana squash, Green Nutmeg melon, Rainbow Sweet Inca corn (which we enjoyed growing this year), and Nigerian Green callaloo. I chose purple mangetout and a fresh back of achocha seeds. The extra ‘lucky dip’ seeds this year are a pepper called ‘Skinny’. According to the catalogue, it is “a fairly slow-growing variety producing small fruit (1-1.5cm long) with pointed ends. The compact plants are perfect for small pots on a windowsill. The peppers are extremely hot and care should be taken when handling, preparing and eating them.” They’ll be too hot for me to handle, so they’ll need to find a new home!

Real Seeds choices 2017

I’ve tried to be circumspect in my seed buying, too. I ordered some seeds from Real Seeds earlier in the year, mostly leafy greens. But I saw a picture of someone’s harvest of ‘Double Red’ sweetcorn this summer, and after the fun we had with rainbow sweetcorn this year we just had to try it. Real Seeds have a minimum order, so I picked up a packet of their rainbow sweetcorn too, and some purslane. I’ll probably sow the purslane next year; I’m not sure whether I’ll leave the rainbow sweetcorn for 2019 or just sow a mixture of colours….

Secret seeds

And I ordered one more packet of seeds from Victoriana Nursery Gardens very recently. They didn’t forget to label it; I have obscured the name of the seeds because it’s for a project Ryan and I want to try this year that I’m keeping under wraps for the time being. This is actually Ryan’s half of it. For mine I have some seeds I collected. It will be something new for me, I’ve never tried to grow either of these species before, and neither of them are commonly cultivated in British gardens.