Saturday, December 29, 2007

Buying seeds

The big seed companies all have marvellous websites and on-line sales these days, and provided you are within the EU they will supply everything except plantlets and potato sets by post. Brill. Why worry. But of course it is never quite that straight forward: why do I want to buy seeds in the 'Vita Sementi Italian Vegetable' range from Thompson & Morgan when I can get the real thing from the local Cooperativo? We have two veg seed producers in Perugia and their products are excellent and the packets contain millions of seeds - not like those miserable little offerings we get in UK. However I feel embarassed at trying to grow the same plants as my neighbours when theirs are so impressive. Also humiliating to to use just a tiny pinch of seed from the packet designed to grow tons of produce.
My best hope is find a rare strain of the veg and grow it as an oddity. Particularly difficult to find here are yellow courgettes - nicer than their green counterparts with less water and the fruits are easy to spot amongst the leaves. Also the local chilli peppers 'peperoncino' are far too hot for cooking raw and only useful for drying. I get 'Jalapeno' from T&M which is not so hot and can be used in stir fry or on pizza.
The problems with seeds though is getting them started off well: I think my mistake has been to sow them too late so their roots are not well developed when the heat arrives. Getting them going in trays on the window sill in late winter is just as approporiate here as in cold gloomy England. Or just go down to the market and buy the plants...

No comments: