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Making comfrey & nettle plant feeds, the non-stinky way

Making comfrey & nettle plant feeds, the non-stinky way

Liquid feeds provide extra nutrients for plants in need, usually those growing in confined spaces or especially hungry.  And while not a substitute for taking care of the soil, they can be a useful for a top up for plants. Putting nettles or comfrey in a bucket of water (1kg to 10 litres / ½ a bucket to 2 watering cans) for two weeks makes a great feed that – but it’s pretty unpleasant smell! Another way which doesn’t have the same aroma, is actually to make a version without water:   1. Collect comfrey / nettle leaves and fill an empty pipe. I have two on my compost bin 2. Weight down the contents of the pipe – I used a bottle of coke, filled with...

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Which is the best variety for pea shoots?

Which is the best variety for pea shoots?

Pea shoots have been a chef’s garnish delight for a while, but it’s only in recent years that dedicated “pea shoot” salad type bags have appeared in shops. They can form a mouth melting luxurious pea salad on their own or add a touch of decadence to a salad mix. And although all peas can produce pea tips, with dedicated producers like Pea Shoots testing over 48 varieties over a three year period, you can be sure that some varieties are better suited to it than others. Selling 2.4 tons even back in 2009  to the likes of Marks & Spencer and Sainsburys, this is big business. But what makes a good pea for shoots? A report from across the pond, from Washington...

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Bringing Back Ryders’ Seeds!

Bringing Back Ryders’ Seeds!

Sam Ryder was a local seedsman, based in St Albans, who’s varieties are still around today if not commonly available. Some seed stock is held by the Heritage Seed Library, and occasionally is available via seed swaps who have also got them from this source. There’s more detail in a previous blog post on Hertfordshire Vegetable Varieties It would be great to see more Hertfordshire growers of these local varieties. Much of that has to do with: 1. Awareness of these varieties and the connection to the Ryders’ business in St Albans, Hertfordshire 2. The knowledge that seed stock continues to exist 3. That there is a source of these seeds, even if not...

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Starting a Seed Circle at the allotment

Starting a Seed Circle at the allotment

I’m looking to find more seed savers locally – and I’m keen to see more people have the skills to do so. Ultimately, I’m really keen on breeding improved OP varieties, but I’d like to have a few people along for the ride. 🙂 So I’m  starting a small seed circle down my local allotment (North Road) – advertising it on the main board and also in the allotment newsletter. Here’s the poster which you’re welcome to adapt: http://www.sweetpeasalads.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Seed-Circle-41.docx As well as the original but longer text from Real Seeds: http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedcircle.htm which provided the...

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Hertfordshire Vegetable Varieties

Hertfordshire Vegetable Varieties

After spending a lot of time digging and asking around – including Real Seeds, Thomas Etty, the Heritage Seed Library, Suttons and Hertfordshire local allotment groups and committees – I have found that there are a few local vegetable varieties which can be tracked back to Hertfordshire. In fact three, possibly four, stem from a single St Albans’ seed company – initially “Ryders’ Really Reliable Seeds”, then “Ryder & Sons”, and then just “Ryders’ ” which existed between 1890s and 1970s. The full list, so far is: 1. Ryders’ Mid-day Sun 2. Ryders’ Top o’ the Pole 3. Ryders’...

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