I must have been feeling spring in the air at the weekend as I have bought my first seeds of the year (four packets of vegetable seeds to be precise). This is despite the fact that the weather is still cold outside and possibly likely to get worse before it gets any better. It’s not even as if we have a planting plan sorted out yet, for heaven’s sake! So what was I thinking of?
The answer is simply that thinking had very little to do with it, instinct took over the moment that I spotted the rack of seed packets. As it has so often done before, (and will undoubtedly do again). I think I really need some sort of therapy to deal with this madness (or boundless optimism, obsession, call it what you will). I initially bought three packets then compounded my madness by returning to the shop (a branch of Lidl) and buying a packet of seeds that I had been dithering over. Clearly, I gave in to my inner optimist yet again. The optimist in me has also overridden any objections to buying an unfamiliar seeds brand. I usually try to stick to something I know or that I have seen recommended so I hope my impulse pays off.
Now I know that the gardeners among you are full of curiosity about my seed buying so I will tell you what we will be attempting to grow this season. Despite my saying that no gardening plan exists, we did have a discussion in the autumn about planting more varieties of beans next year. This explains my decision on Sunday to buy a packet of an unusual type of French bean. The yellow pods look pretty and I like the sound of growing a non-string variety. I will probably also grow broad beans again as they were successful before now and for the same reason runner beans, since you have the bonus of the scarlet flowers.
We are big fans of courgettes, both growing them and eating them so I am hoping that these two varieties will be fruitful (sorry about the pun, my finger slipped on the keyboard). I have grown round varieties before and they make a nice change from cylindrical courgettes. Ideally, we will have some of the round green ones and the yellow patty pan shapes ready to cook and serve together. Every year I intend to have a go at stuffing and cooking some courgette flowers but I have never managed to do so. It looks such a splendid item in cookery books that I feel I really must try it sometime. Maybe this will be the year that I finally have a go at it. I would be interested in hearing from anyone that has tried a recipe for stuffed courgette flowers.
My final seed packet is a variety of outdoor cucumber, Akito, which has dark green prickly-skinned fruit. I haven’t grown cucumbers for years so I would like to try it again. Last time I grew an indoor sort in an unheated glassed in veranda, which proved very successful. That year I forced every visitor to take home at least one cucumber, such was the size of the crop. I am not sure how we will fare with an outdoor type but I am hoping to emulate my earlier achievement.
Watch this space!