There’s very little gardening to be done in January other than pruning fruit trees, but one very important task is thinking about the seeds that will be needed in the coming season. So I’m getting out my box of left-over and saved seeds, and checking what I have, and what seeds I’ll need to buy or swap to be ready for the growing year ahead.
There’s a great event coming up in Stroud that will help with this. The annual Stroud Potato Day (Saturday 3 Feb, 10 till 2.30, Merrywalks Shopping Centre) is an un-missable opportunity to buy seed potatoes. They have a huge selection, and you can buy large or small quantities, even just one or two of each type if that’s what you want to do – great for testing potato varieties you’ve not grown before.
This year, Stroud Community Seed Bank will also be at the Potato Day, offering members of the public the chance to have a share of the seeds lovingly grown, saved, and packaged by the volunteer members of this pioneering local group. You can get old favourites, heritage varieties, rarities, and local varieties. For example, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, Jane’s Flat White Beans, Oskar peas, Purple Ukrainian, Tangerella, and Hawkwood Cherry Tomatoes, Thrupp Parsnip and no end of flowers. All available for a donation of 50p or £1 per packet. More info about the Seed Bank on their website, and their Facebook page, and you can download the full Stroud Community Seedbank Catalogue here.
There are also Seed Swap events coming up in Stroud: at the Stroud Valleys Project shop in Threadneedle Street on Saturday 24th Feb 10.30 – 1pm, and at a Stroud Community Seed Bank filmnight at Lansdown Hall 7pm, Friday 2nd March. The Seed Bank’s seeds will also be available at both events, and at the Down To Earth stall at Stroud Farmers Market on Saturday 27th January.
And if you’re itching to get sowing, what seeds can you plant at this time of year? It’s still very early, but I’ll be sowing some onions seeds in trays in a cold greenhouse next week, and starting a few early tomatoes on a widowsill in early Feb, when you can also make outdoor sowings of broad beans. Apart from that, almost all seed sowing takes place in March and April onwards, so there’s still plenty of time to think about what seeds to sow this Spring, and get out to a seedy local event.