Many of us at the Empty Common Garden love the Real Seed Catalogue company. Their seeds are special because they preserve varieties of fruit and veg that are disappearing from the stores. Commercial seed providers are narrowing the varieties we can grow and we are missing out on many interesting plants, especially British ones. Whenever I see a packet of seeds to grow Italian tomatoes I am a bit annoyed. I am Italian but having lived in Britain for two decades, I know they are not going to do well, unless you have a heated greenhouse or a blistering hot, south-facing wall. I keep trying and changing varieties, but my tomatoes get the blight every single year and the crop is disappointing.
This year, we had glorious tomatoes at the Empty Common Garden but guess what... they got the blight. I am told there are resistant varieties and perhaps we should all shop more often at
because they have seeds that can do well in this country. By the way, this is a genuine endorsement from myself and Charlotte, we are not receiving sponsorship from the company. We also buy seeds from local garden centres, but when Seedy Sunday comes, I hope to get some seeds from them.
Meet the exploding cucumber
One of the fun buys from The Real Seed Catalogue is 'Fat Baby', a climbing vine that produces spiky cucumbers. They taste like sweet peppers when cooked but have an intriguing way of propagating... they explode, with the seeds spreading all over the garden. I like picking them when small as they taste more like a cucumber, this way you don't need to cook them and you can use them raw in salads. When bigger you get less 'flesh' and have to remove the seeds. When big, you also need to cook them as they won't taste good raw. If you want to keep the seeds to plant the vine again next year, you can artificially pop them, just before the cucumber is ready to do it by itself. The website has also this H&S warning:
"HEALTH WARNING. DANGER OF EYE INJURY! HARD SEED IS EJECTED AT GREAT
SPEED. DO NOT HOLD RIPE FRUIT NEAR FACE. HARVEST FRUIT AFTER IT HAS OPENED. DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH FRUIT. We know this sounds silly, but we recommend that YOU WEAR EYE PROTECTION WHILE HARVESTING AND PROCESSING FRUIT."