May – What we’re sowing

May is another incredibly busy month for sowing seeds and I’ve been busy; my potting room is full to bursting!

This is what I’ve been sowing this month




Amposta – Sweet Red Onion

I use a LOT of red onions, whilst they’re not especially expensive to buy, I saw this variety for sale on the Real Seed Catalogue website, and I thought we should try some. It’s also a crop that can overwinter, so something to look forward to in the spring when there is little else to harvest.

Bulgarian Giant Leeks

I’ve been pondering as to whether I should try the Bulgarian Giant leek or not for quite a while. They grow very large, about a metre tall, one leek would be enough to feed a family of 4! They’re quite tender so won’t overwinter well but I like to try new and unusual varieties. You definitely can’t buy these leeks in the shops, and I’m not sure how they will fit into the fridge!


Last month we sowed Borlotti beans and Moonlight runner beans, both of which I managed to successfully kill whilst trying to harden the young plants off. The strong coastal winds wreaked havoc! So I re-sowed and now have new seedings.

Additionally I sowed some French Beans. Aquilon, Dwarf French Bean, took my fancy as they have long green pods growing up to 20 cm long (which seems odd as this is a dwarf green French bean), they are stringless and prolific. I usually grow Blue Lake, Cobra or Cosse de Violette but as space is a premium this year, we’re also growing lots of peas, sweetpeas, borlotti beans, runner beans I thought the dwarf variety would be the most suitable.
























We sowed various varieties of of beetroot directly into the ground at the allotment around a month ago. It seems hungry snails and slugs have harvested the young tender leaves as they emerged from the ground, we are left with EIGHT beetroots!

Sowing beetroot in situ is always best as they really don’t transfer well. However, saying that, I have decided to sow some seeds in deep root trainer modules. I have chosen two varieties, Boltardy and Touchstone Gold. I love golden beetroot and it’s not always available to buy in the shops. This variety is excellent.



I always like to grow something a little different each year. Last year I grew Asparagus Peas, which don’t taste anything like peas or asparagus, but are rather tannic and fibrous. Revolting! I also grew New Zealand spinach, which isn’t spinach at all. It was awful, it had dark green hairy leaves and tasted bitter. Both crops however provided excellent ground cover,they grew like jungle weed! This year I’ve done a little more research and have chosen ‘Magenta Magic’ Orach, otherwise know as mountain spinach or German spinach.

The seeds are unusual


AND as they say seed germination is erratic it’s best to sow the seeds generously…. I did!


And we have loads of seedlings…. the good news is it’s supposed to be a fabulously tasty leaf to use in salads when picked young. Now to find room at the allotment to fit it all in!

In addition to my absolute favourite kale, Sutherland Kale and Cavolo Nero I decided to try two other varieties. Red Russian Curled Kale and Jagallo Nero, both supplied by MoreVeg

Red Russian Curled Kale

I really don’t enjoy a curly kale, I find the leaves too tough and fibrous even when cooked for hours. This variety is more frilly leafed with a blue-green tint. It’s NOT red!! It can be picked young or left for winter use. It’s supposed to taste delicious…. can’t wait.

Jagallo Nero

This kale produces beautiful blue-grey jagged leaves with a mild cabbage flavour. I think it will look rather lovely on the plot.



Last year I grew all my lettuces at home, and I didn’t sow sparingly… whilst most people grow beautiful flowers in pots,  I was over run with iceberg, butterheads, oakleaf, and little gems to name but a few, in my pots. This year I’m concentrating on the lettuces I eat the most, which are the lovely crunchy Cos and Romaine lettuces. They also store much better.

Oh and of course it wouldn’t be the same unless I grew some of The Real Seed Catalogues ‘Mortons Secret Mix’.  A selection of lettuces, some of which are unavailable anywhere else. It’s a real surprise to see what pops up.

Dandelion Red Rib


One of the most delicious salads I have ever eaten was during a lazy lunch at St John Bar and Restaurant, Smithfield, many years ago. It was a salad of dandelion leaves and crispy pork with the most heavenly dressing. I often think about that salad and I have always wanted to recreate my own version. So when I saw Dandelion Red Rib seeds available I had to get some. I have no idea how to grow them but presume sowing seeds in modules will work.?!?!?! I plan to grow some at the allotment too. The irony will be, this will be the one weed the snails and slugs will want to eat!! I’m very excited to be trying this.




Having failed to grow many poppies naturally at the allotment I sowed some seeds in modules. We chose this variety, mainly because we love the colour. Keeping everything crossed. If only they germinated as well as the German spinach!




The allotment wouldn’t be the same without sunflowers. We have chosen Black Magic F1 and Italian White.  They don’t grow too tall and look amazing. Black Magic is the deepest dark chocolate colour and then there is the pretty delicate white flowers of the Italian White.

Last year I grew some Vanilla Ice, they were more like custard creams, YELLOW! They are a definite NO this year. I’m slightly yellowist!

I also LOVE Velvet Queen but sadly there just isn’t enough room this year.



There is really nothing like the taste fresh parsley and I enjoy both flat leaved and curly leaved parsley, so naturally I’m growing both! I grew some last year with great success and hoping the same will be true this year. Germination can be difficult, so only time will tell.



I haven’t grown cumin before but I love using the seed so I thought it may be fun to see how it turns out.

Posted in Sowing and Growing

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May 2014
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