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Author Topic: Seed/plugs  (Read 4751 times)

ellied

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Seed/plugs
« on: March 10, 2011, 10:31:25 am »
Over the years of growing as a hobby I have usually bought from local garden centres either as seeds or strips/plugs but I have also bought both from catalogues and one I bought my blueberries from a few years ago and was very disappointed at the time tho all 3 are finally starting to look healthy enough to produce fruit if I play my cards right ::)

That company was Thomson & Morgan who I think are on the Isle of Wight or Jersey, and they've never stopped junkmailing me with multiple catalogues to the point I was going to contact them and stop, tho their materials make good firelighters this time of year and simply get recycled later on ::)  But I just got one with what look like good new varieties of veg seed and plugs, fruit bushes/trees and I got to looking at the pics tho I don't actually trust the supplied article will resemble the pics at all based on past experience ::)

Anyway, I got to thinking, is there a better way to get veg growing than garden centres seed racks and outdoor trays, given most of those are likely to be aimed at the weekender market?  Am I missing an obvious source or a better catalogue that is reliable and good quality for self sufficient growers?  Or are seeds seeds and that's it?

Do you grow anything from plugs rather than seed that is harder to get to that stage at home?  I usually buy leeks that way for starters..

Sorry, trying to make a transition from weekend hobby to living off my land without income so any pennies saved are a bonus :)
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northfifeduckling

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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2011, 12:46:42 pm »
the only thing I buy as plants is the earliest lettuce - living salalds from Lidl  ;D everything else is from seed. T&M is too dear, I didn't even cash in their 10 off voucher this year. Ellie, there was a greenhouse advertised on freecycle in Cupar today!  :&>

ellied

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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 04:04:11 pm »
:o thanks, have never thought of freecycle, will go have a look for it  :wave:
Barleyfields Smallholding & Kirkcarrion Highland Ponies
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Ellie Douglas Therapist
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cluckingnuts

  • Joined Oct 2010
  • llyn peninsula
Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 04:37:08 pm »
It's better if you don't grow F1's for a start. Go for open pollinated then start selecting your own strain from the ones that you feel have the best qualities.
Have you tried seed swops? these are ideal if you just need a few of each to grow. Then there is always the Heritage Seed Library or the Real Seed Company, both of whom stock varieties that are now no longer available to buy.
Saving your own seed is very easy, as is propagating fruit trees + bushes.
A decent sized poly tunnel/greenhouse will prolong the growing season greatly.
I limit myself to 20 per year. :farmer:

northfifeduckling

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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2011, 05:34:58 pm »
I hate F1s as I love to have at least the opportunity to save seeds. T&M seem to sell mostly F1s.  :&>

doganjo

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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2011, 09:35:01 pm »
Don't know how good they'll be but Aldi's have packets of seeds at 35p just now.  No idea how many in teh pack, but that won't matter as there's bound to be enough for me, whereas usually I have loads left over in the more expensive packs.  I mean who needs 200 lettuce seeds ::)
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2011, 11:59:52 pm »
Thompson & Morgan are based in Suffolk.  They used to hype up their products ridiculously but I think the law has more recently meant they have to have some truth behind what they say.  They are one of the more reputable companies but they are generally more expensive for exactly the same seeds as some other companies.  As well as the endless catalogues they also do a  - 'order from us NOW or we won't send you any more catalogues' - quite a strange threat  ;D  I get catalogues from several seed companies each year then pick and choose between them all - DTBrowns (used to be top value but now not much to chose between them all), Mr Fothergills (I like them but not really much different), The Organic Gardening Catalogue (mostly european seeds which I don't think are suitable for up here)  Marshalls (not much choice and they tend to coat their seeds in antifungals) T&M (good for potatoes but expensive) The Real Seed Company (first order this year and I'm delighted with them, but not much choice.  Upside is their seeds are grown in Britain which most other companies' are not) Kings - large seed count of old faithful varieties. Aldi - one of my brothers bought from them last year and their germination rate was extremely poor - much worse than the ancient left-over seeds of mine I sent him as replacements. There are so many different seed companies, some specialising in a particular product such as chillies or herbs or giant veggies for showing.  It's worth looking at them all and deciding just what you want and what suits your particular needs and area.
In general, buying plug plants is more expensive than growing from seed, once you are set up to do that, and you don't run the risk of being sent a duff batch and having nothing.  In addition you have far less choice of varieties with plugs.
Once you get going and know more what you need, you can make a large but fairly cheap propagator by doing the woodwork yourself and buying a soil-warming cable - seeds are germinated in this.  Then you make a growing frame for young plants again using woodwork and lining with tinfoil, with a growlight above to ensure enough daylight.  This set-up gives me enough plants to more than fill my whole veg garden.  Last year I decided for some reason to buy some onion plugs - they arrived so late that they were still tiny by the time the first hard frost  and then all that snow arrived to kill them  - a total waste of money.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.

cluckingnuts

  • Joined Oct 2010
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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2011, 06:43:37 am »
Don't know how good they'll be but Aldi's have packets of seeds at 35p just now.  No idea how many in teh pack, but that won't matter as there's bound to be enough for me, whereas usually I have loads left over in the more expensive packs.  I mean who needs 200 lettuce seeds ::)

Me! seriously though, I have friends who complain about too many seeds in a pack and when you want a few varieties of the same eg 3 types of pea, you end up with 600 seeds spent a good few quid + you only wanted a dozen plants. Now I send them any that I have harvested, this year they will be getting 6 varieties of pea, but just a dozen of each. Same goes for beans. If people were willing to share, the costs should be negligible.

northfifeduckling

  • Joined Jan 2009
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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2011, 09:54:02 am »
I love different varieties , so was a member of the Heritage Seed library for a few years. Their choice had gone down a lot though and the 5 packets of lottery seeds ended up really expensive. Shame. I can see what I can still use of my spoilt water damamaged packets (I had no idea I had so many  ::) and will try Real Seeds or Kokopelli next year to start afresh. :&>

deepinthewoods

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Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2011, 02:10:24 pm »
i have, in the past, bought way too many seeds seduced by the lies damn lies!  this years resolution is not to 'treat' myself.
 as most seed lasts a few yrs im only sowing wht ive got or saved! but i also buy plugs from http://www.flowerfarm.co.uk/Catalogue/Vegetable-plants as theyre local and if collected mosts plants are 9-12 pence each, well worth the trip. none of there plants have ever failed and they produce millions per year for farmers across the country. id reccomend them, tho it could be worth trying to negotiate the price over the fone, i always haggle and it works.

Blonde

  • Joined Mar 2011
Re: Seed/plugs
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2011, 11:56:19 pm »
I hate F1s as I love to have at least the opportunity to save seeds. T&M seem to sell mostly F1s.  :&>
That is why they sell F1's bacause you cannot collect seed from them and that is where the companies make their money.  You have to buy your seed from them if that is the variety you want..... otherwise just use seed from an older variety and collect and select your own, that way  the variety continues on and is not lost forever.

 

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