While seed catalogues continue to pour through the door, or crash out of magazines just as we reach the till in Smiths, one is already running up against its “sell-by” date; the deadline for ordering seeds from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) is 5th March and fast approaching.
My ankles were black and blue last year after I’d soundly kicked myself for missing the deadline and depriving myself of the regulation six packets which are allowed as part of the membership of the HSL.
Theirs is my favourite catalogue, particularly strong on tomatoes, and the only source I know of a good variety of climbing peas (why anyone wants to grow anything else in a domestic garden is a mystery to me).
If you don’t belong to the Heritage Seed Library, it’s not too late to join to take advantage of this year’s seed quota.
All seeds preserved by the library are from varieties which have been removed from the National List and therefore cannot be sold commercially. Many are heritage varieties dating back to the nineteenth century (or earlier) but some have only been recently abandoned by the commercial companies: Tellas, the celeriac that disappeared from the list in 1997, for example, and the Sigmadew cucumber deleted in 1998.
Each year, the catalogue presents a slightly different list of seeds to choose from; the difficulty is restricting oneself to just six.
Membership costs £20, or £15 if you are a member of Garden Organic or join at the same time. Their website isn’t the easiest to navigate. Find the membership costs and how to join online here.