The weeks after Christmas are a great time to sort out seeds from previous years and begin to peruse the new season’s catalogues! I’ve enjoyed having the new catalogues drop through the door these last few weeks. Liz has kept threatening to intercept them and wrap them up for Christmas – they would make a good present!

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I haven’t yet decided what I am going to buy yet as I need to so a stock-check of the seeds I have left over from last year. I was interested to read Jono’s post on his blog about seeds and that parsnip seeds cannot be sown after a year, although most other seed can be kept 2 or 3 seasons before they pass their best.

Below are some of the links to the catalogues.

The Real Seed Catalogue
www.realseeds.co.uk
I was very impressed with this catalogue. They sell non-hybrid (F1) seed varieties, so that you can collect your own seed from them. The descriptions are very interesting and give quite a bit of history which makes reading it both informative and helpful. I actually haven’t ordered any from this company before but certainly will give them a try. Some of the bean varieties look interesting.

Marshalls
www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk
Always a very reliable seed company and one which produces a comprehensive catalogue, with some very good varieties. A useful addition to the catalogue this year (I think as I hadn’t noticed it previously) is that they have included number of seeds. In last year’s catalogue I think it just gave the row length. I have found that their seeds have always been reliable and germination rates been good. I was very impressed with the mini cucumber ‘Mini Munch’.

D.T.Brown
www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk
Another staple seed firm which has been around for many years. Lots of both vegetable and flower varieties with helpful descriptions and pictures. A useful section is the exhibition and trial seeds pages where you can find many of the useful exhibition varieties at reasonable prices. One of the best thing about Brown’s is free p&p on all seed orders, which is always a bonus. Price is usually very good with them too.

Sarah Raven
www.sarahraven.com
A new catalogue to me this year and one which is very well produced and laid out. It reflects Sarah’s passion for cut flowers and it is one of the few catalogues where I think I have seen some different varieties/colours of cut flowers sold separately, for instance, three colours of Cleome, a number of Nicotianas and a few different types of tall Verbena. Sarah’s catalogue also has a vegetable section featuring many of the tried and tested varieties

Medwyns of Anglesey
www.medwynsofanglesey.co.uk
A well known firm for quality exhibition varieties. The catalogue has useful descriptions focused on the exhibition qualities of the varieties. The seed I have had previously from Medwyn’s has always geminated well and produced quality plants. Last year, I grew tomato ‘Cedrico’ which proved to be highly productive. The catalogue also features a comprehensive sundries section listing many useful items for growing exhibition vegetables. However, it always comes at a price!

Robinson’s
www.mammothonion.co.uk
A long established seed firm with good reputation based here in the North West and a company that always has a great display at the shows. Famed for there ‘mammoth onion’, Robinson’s catalogue also lists many other vegetable seeds. A useful page explaining the cultivation of onions and leeks is found at the front.

Tuckers
www.tuckers-seeds.com
Another well established seed company which produces a really comprehensive catalogue with an impressive vegetable seed list. There catalogue also included seed potatoes, flower seed and lawn seed. Free p&p on seed orders of above £30; however, it is only £1.25 if your order is below that. For each vegetable, Tucker’s provide a detailed explanation of how to grow and each variety has a useful description. Looking at Tucker’s seeds it seems that they do offer them at reasonable prices. I also like the fact that with Tucker’s you can sign up to be a ‘Tucker Tester’ trialling some of the new seed – if you are willing to send in reports and photographs.

Plants of Distinction
www.plantsofdistinction.co.uk
I have been receiving these catalogues for a couple of years now and am always impressed by the quality of them. Both (they produce separate flower and veg ones) have excellent photographs of the plants and the descriptions are useful giving a concise one. I am always impressed by the number of different cultivars they have, for instance, they list 12 different Antirrhinums and sell them as single colours as they have with 12 different colours of foxglove. I am always interested in flicking through the list of tomato varieties as there are some which I have never come across – I think I counted about 80! These include some interesting heirloom varieties and many different colours.

Chiltern Seeds
www.chilternseeds.co.uk
A distinctive catalogue not just because of the shape! I always enjoy flicking through Chiltern’s catalogues (they produce one for flowers and one for vegetables) as it lists so many interesting varieties. Although it has limited pictures inside, the seed listing is extensive and the descriptions are both informative and interesting so it is great to sit back and read through. At the back it hosts a vast list of wild flower varieties native to the British Isles. I’m looking forward to trying a few of the more unusual flower varieties this year e.g. Leonotis leonurus, which grows 7 foot tall with orange flowers and Tithonia rotundifolia the Mexican sunflower!

Simpson’s Seeds
www.simpsonsseeds.co.uk
A useful vegetable catalogue that boosts it is ‘putting flavour first’. It lists many of the usual veg varieties at very reasonable prices. This catalogue is probably know for its extensive list of chillies, although something not up my street, but it does also have a big list of tomatoes aswell.

Dobies
www.dobies.co.uk
A well know seed company which produces a lovely glossy catalogue with many interesting pictures and useful information like the crop rotation plan and vegetable growing chart in the front. They also have some good collections of veg seeds which are also cheaper!

Suttons
www.suttons.co.uk
Another really lovely catalogue which is great to flick through with lovely pictures and information. Suttons has a good name and produces reliable seed. Definitely one to enjoy looking through on a dark winter night!

The Organic Gardening Catalgue
www.organiccatalogue.com
Not just seeds! I always find this catalogue a useful one when wondering about feeds, composting and biological control as quite a portion is devoted to it. This catalogue has many useful sundries for the garden as well a very good list of vegetables.

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