As predicted, the weather has been completely grotty round here for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been out down the bottom of the garden to pick some more food (radicchio, rocket, sprout tops etc) and pick up the occasional blown-over pot, but mostly there’s been lots of hibernating going on. But when the going gets tough, the tough, er, go shopping.
I’ve used the downtime to pick up a few more items for the plot. First I nipped into Lidl and snapped up some Konsa F1 cucumbers and some climbing French beans for 98p total. My original plan was to get Picolino F1 cucumbers like last year, but haven’t been able to find any packs for less than £3.25 and all the packs have just four measly seeds in them.
Likewise, I was hoping to try Cobra beans this year as they’re supposed to be heavy and reliable croppers, but the pack prices are also pretty high wherever I’ve looked so the Lidl version (Neckarkonigin) is a cheaper experiment. It’s an established German variety, is suposed to be good for freezing and preserving, and can allegedly cope with bad weather so I’m feeling positive.
Then I decided to do an order with MoreVeg. They sell small packs of seeds, perfect for small gardens and getting lots of variety onto your plot. Postage and packing is £1.25 for small orders or free over £10, and as my entire seed budget for the year is £10 I was going to have to factor in the P&P too. Most of their packets are just 50 or 75p, and I managed to get some Tendergreen dwarf beans (very early and tasty croppers), some winter salad and stir-fry seeds, and some kailaan-broccoli-cross seeds.
Last year I grew a kailaan-broccoli cross called Brokali Apollo. It cropped for months, kept sprouting, and was as delicious as Tenderstem. Unfortunately the seeds were expensive, and the price has gone up a little more. Okay, we did get a huge amount of beautiful food from each plant, but the budget simply wasn’t going to stretch this time. Fortunately MoreVeg had some ‘KaiBroc’ and the same number of seeds has set me back 75p this time around. I suspect they will perform very similarly, but let’s wait and see. The whole order came in at £5.75, including delivery, and that’s all I’m hoping to spend on seeds and plants now until Christmas.
That brings this year’s running total to £19.00. The total spent on seeds is exactly £10.00, so no more of that! Fortunately I have covered all the main items on the wish list, and saved a fair amount by shopping around and being flexible about exact varieties. There are one or two things on the ‘not essential but would really like’ list that I haven’t managed to source, but I’m going to a community seed swap event this Sunday so here’s hoping. A little pak choi or some hardy mustards would be nice…who knows?
How’s your budget for the year? Are you setting one? And is £3.80 too much for a packet with four cucumber seeds in it?