The seedy side of swapping

We at Weeds like to mix it up when it comes to getting our seeds. We purchase them from our local garden centre, have more than a fondness for a ebay “vegetable seed job lot” (if it says “rare” or “unusual” then all the better) and do we love a seed swap. What’s nicer than passing on something you got a few of and exchanging them for something else.

Organised seed swaps are fun events to attend, you’ll meet like-minded people (great for exchanging gardening tips and information) and you’ll probably bag yourself something that you’ve never thought of growing before or some heirloom/heritage varieties you rarely come across.

One of our favourite seed swaps was in a pub in Hither Green on a Sunday night; a small crowd of gardening enthusiasts gathered to drink, chat horticulture and flick through boxes of interesting looking seed packets (some customised and hand-decorated, much more interesting than your average pack). That’s how a Sunday evening should be spent rather than having to put up with the likes of Highway and Antiques Road Show.

We never like to go to one empty handed and try to bring things as interesting as possible, these have included: chitted seed spuds, Egyptian walking onion sets and a couple of packs of night scented stock as we’re always trying to turn people onto growing those.

Once at a seed swap we saw a girl (dressed in a steam-punk style) pull out of her pocket a list of “what she had” consisting of 2 double-sided typed A4 sheets. Her black gothic style rucksack (with metal bits and all sorts) was filled with tons of numbered “dealer bags” full of seeds which came complete with home made labels and even sowing instructions. That’s a bit over the top for us here but that’s how passionate people are!

Sort of related are the annual potato day/seed fairs arranged by Pennards plants that combine a seed potato sale, heirloom/heritage seeds and sometimes have a seed swap section. Have a look at for your local one.

So save your own seeds this year (there’s lots of sites online that’ll give you pointers on how to do it) or see what you may have left over in your seed tin and next year have a look on google/facebook/twitter for a seed swap near you and go down and participate and see what you can bring home! Why not make a weekend of it and go to the big annual Seedy Sunday in Brighton (Sunday February 3rd 2019). Also have a look online as there’s numerous sites that encourage the art of seed swapping without even leaving your own home. Good luck! #onaseedswaptip

Tomorrow never knows

Thanks to @hincmariana for letting us know about the great free event tomorrow at The Garden Museum. We’ve left it a bit late but it’s an event worth going to if you like a seed swap like we do.

Incredible Edible Seed Swap
Sat 27 January 2017
1.00-3.00pm (no booking required).
The Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road
London SE1 7LB

And accompanying news of the seed swap here’s a couple of lovely tunes heard on this week’s Ross Allen Show on NTS which has been on rotation here at Weeds HQ. The first is by The Officials called Distant Drums on a very limited Soul Jazz/Studio 1 release.

The next is a previous unknown Four Tops track called Don’t bring back memories (we don’t think this was the actual mix Ross played but it is a tune!) Best of luck to all who are going to the seed swap tomorrow!

Eyes down for spudulike

CSSG Potato day 2016

Thanks to Mick from the Cambridgeshire Self Sufficiency Group for getting in touch about their 7th Annual potato day on Saturday 13th February 2016 at Commemoration Hall, 39 High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3AQ.
It’s from 11am-3pm, with refreshments and a craft stand and more, all for FREE. How good is that? They’ll have over 60 (count them!) varieties of spuds alongside onion sets and shallots. What’s great is people can buy how little potatoes (10 grams or less) or large (as many kilos as they want) at £1-00 a kilo.
If you’re organising a potato day or even a seed swap (if it’s in London even better so we can go!) and you want us to mention it send us an email with all the details to onedeckpete (at) gmail (dot) com
There’s a mention about potato days and seed swaps in our Sounds From The South podcast from a couple of years ago below.

Jumper clown

johnny-jump-upWe discovered our plant name of the week a couple of days ago while looking for some seeds on e-bay. It’s a Viola  (Viola tricolour) called Johnny Jump Up aka tickle-me-fancy, come-and-cuddle-me or love-in-idleness. And we were thinking of some bad boy ragga business! 

If you fancy looking for some seed bargains on ebay for next year or for the next seed swap, tap in something like “flower/vegetable seeds job lot” or “assorted flower and vegetable seed bargains” into the ebay search. Do check the “use by dates” on the ads though.

Zucchini and I

Paul's courgetteIt’s all gone a bit courgette-centric around here at the moment. A big shout to our good mate Paul W for sharing with us a pic of his first ever courgette (above). It was grown in a raised bed from a plant bought outside Charlton train station in May this year on his way home from work (four plants for two quid, a bargain or what?) Great stuff Paul! weeds courgettesOur courgettes are doing are doing well too (above) not bad from a packet of seeds from the seed swap earlier this year.

Last weekend another good mate was telling me that the two things on his allotment that never fail are courgettes and beetroot which incidentally are two great crops for someone who fancies starting out gardening. As long as you give them enough water and a feed every now and again you’ll get good results. In the case of courgettes, keep picking them when they are young (and watch they don’t turn into a marrow-like affairs) and you’re onto a winner. Don’t blame me though if you get a glut of the things though!

On the subject of gluts, anyone out there have any good recipes for courgettes? Send them to onedeckpete (a) or leave a comment on this post.

Never mind the sell-by-date, feel the width!

Flaming NoraLast week I got a right old bargain from ebay, 30 odd packs of seeds (plus a couple of seed collections thrown in on top too) for £9.56 including P&P! The oldest sell-by-date was 2013 so it weren’t that brilliant but most of the use-by-dates were at least 2015 and there wasn’t that many duplicates. Not bad for just under a tenner though!

A mate from work has just got an allotment and this weekend was going to the allotments’ annual Cheese and Wine, Seed Swap Barbecue, (how’s that for a good idea?)  I gave her a massive handful to make a good impression and I still had loads for myself. Bargains, I love them! Remember this bargain related tune from many many moons ago?

The best things in life are (nearly) free!

Seed swap_1_Edit
A big thanks to Lewisham Gardens and Golightly Gardens for organising the great seed swap in Deptford yesterday. I got nearly everything from my wants list and there were loads of great seeds available. These events are always good for meeting fellow gardeners, getting growing advice and for picking up those odd varieties of seeds.

I got sunflowers, sweet peas, hollyhocks, poppies, foxgloves and gaillardia in the flower line. I wasn’t looking for too much veg as I’m happily sorted for those after getting a bargain of mixed veg seeds on ebay the other month.

I did get a couple of varieties of basil (bush and sweet genovese), french beans and a beefsteak tomato called Marmande which looked like it could be an extra from that silly 70’s film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.Seedswap deptfordI was on my way out when I met a lovely chap who was looking for the seed swap who worked for Lewisham council. He told me later after a long shift at the council all he wants to do is spend the rest of his day up his allotment. Great stuff! Back in the seedswap he shared a wide variety of seeds (and I don’t even think he wanted anything in return as far as I can remember) and I got a tomato called Black Krim from Russia!

When I finally left I visited the new and improved Dig This Nursery in Clifton Rise, New Cross after being ribbed by Mihaly (who was doing a talk at the seed swap about growing veg in small spaces) for not being up to speed about knowing that their shop has moved. Sometimes I find it hard enough to keep up with what’s going in me own small world let alone outside it! They’ve even opened a new shop in Rye Lane in the parish of Peckham too.

In the New Cross shop is a second hand record section where I flicked through some old reggae singles (£3 each) where they had a copy of the late great Nicky Thomas tune Love of the Common People (to hear the original jamaican version without the strings click here). On the B side of that well-known single is the tune below which I was reminded about by The Rhythm Doctor when he span it at one of our events at Limewharf last year.

And thanks to the excellent Dancecrasher website (from The Tighten Up Crew) here’s the vocal version of the above from Slim Smith. Well I never knew that!

Thanks again to Lewiham Gardens and Golightly Gardens for this event. More seed swaps please!

It shouldn’t happen to an (onion) set!

clean out the seedtinI was off all last week with the dreaded lurgy and some lurgy it was! I had no interest in gardening plus no energy so apart from sorting out my seed tin for the seed swap this saturday, last week was a total write-off!

Onions_sproutingYesterday I took another look at the onions that are supposedly stored in ideal conditions under the stairs which should have been put in in the autumn for overwintering. Oh dear!

And finally a quick reminder about the seed swap next Saturday in Deptford. It’s only a quid and you get three talks thrown in as well, so see you there! More details on twitter here.

Seed Swap 2015

Barefoot gardeners of the world unite!

This week’s podcast of The Dirt is now online, and features seed swapping, an interview with The Grumpy Gardener and our feature Sounds From The South which is at 24.30 minutes in here. Tune of the week is the excellent Victor Rice dub of Dubmatix featuring Jay Douglas  Celebrate my Love.

We look into the future (and see potatoes)

Spud in crystall ball

Thanks to Mick Matthews of The Cambridge Self Sufficiency Group for getting in touch again with news of their next annual potato day and seed swap and it’s sounds good. It might seem a long way off but it’s just the other side of Christmas. It’s at The Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon High Street, Huntingdon PE29 3AQ on Saturday 17th January 2015 from 11am to 3pm and it’s free so if you’re around those parts go and have a gander!

They’ll have 50 plus varieties of potatoes all at £1.00 a kilo and with added onion sets and shallots, craft stand and refreshments and even children’s activities as well to keep the little ones happy while you swap your seeds. Cheers for that Mick. Best of luck!

Love sensation

Talking of seeds swaps, I’ve had a look for the next date of the London potato day as a couple of years ago I went when it was held in Sydenham Girls School not far from here, it was a quid or so to get in and they had a great seed swap area too. It now looks like it’s now part of the RHS Plant and Potato event on the 20th/21st February 2015 at Lindley Hall, Westminster. It’s free if you’re a member of the RHS but I am sure it was a fiver last year if you weren’t, and I am not sure there’s even a seed swop there.

Me, I’ll be on the look out for the smaller seed swaps like the great one I went to in Hither Green earlier this year, organised by Lewisham Gardens and Golighty Gardens. It was free, they had loads of seeds to choose from and it wasn’t the usual stingy “one for one” swap either and it was in a pub with nice people on a Sunday evening, what more do you want? Seed swaps I love them!

***UPDATE***Watch out for a seed swap in the Catford/Forest Hill area in February 2015! We will bring you more details as and when…