Love this #80: Mini seed tins

I shared a snippet of these on Monday, and told you how they played to my organisation obsession and my love of tins, which rivals that of notebooks.  And they're full of seeds too and while they're available from Suttons individually, it's better value if you're buying a few tins to opt for one of the two sets.  

A set of mini seed tins from Suttons Seeds

Individual tins are £4.95 each, but the salad or root vegetable collection of six tins cost £24.  That sounds a lot, and you're right it is a lot for seeds, but each tin has three packets of seeds in, so that doesn't make it quite so bad.

And of course there's six tins which look like seed packets, that could be used for things other than seeds.



I chose the salad collection and now have plenty of seeds for pak choi, spring onion, chard, lettuce, leaf salad and rocket.  Lucky that they're all things we eat plenty of, and the type of crop that I expect to grow more of once my new pots arrive (that's another story!)

The root vegetable collection contains two varieties of beetroot, two of carrot and two of radish, which might work better for you.  I suspect my tins will be around for a long time, and not necessarily always for seeds.

What would you use them for?

This isn't a collaborative post, I saw them, bought them and love them.  And that's without eating the evidence - yet!


On the plot: Potatoes, borlotti beans and apples

We'd been meaning to get over to the allotment to dig up the rest of our potatoes for a while, but with four weekends away from home it was much later than we'd hoped by the time we got there last weekend. Our potatoes were late in anyway, as most of them didn't make it into the ground until after our party in June. I've no idea how I managed to be so late with them, but I was hoping that they would recognise the earth and do their growing thing, even if they were a bit behind everyone elses.

And they did.  Phew.

It's our second year of growing potatoes and once again we weren't disappointed. We ended up growing them in the same part of the plot as last year, as, well as you're coming to know my plans to dig over the allotment, complete the circle work in our garden and everything else, were a tad ambitious!

But they grew, and last Sunday we dug up our second batch of potatoes. Almost 10kgs.



Which is a lot of potatoes for someone that rarely buys potatoes! 

Digging them up was quite addictive, and it wasn't long before our paper carrier bag was heavy. The challenge then was to get them home without them dropping through the bottom of the bag. That would have been disastrous, but no doubt funny afterwards.

They have done their magic though and improved the soil - the picture below is where they grew, and while there are a few weeds (ignore the edges, where there are a lot of weeds!) there are significantly less than on other parts of the plot. Plus the soil is soft and crumbly and full of large worms, which must be good. I think some of those large worms got a bit peckish as some of the potatoes had large worm shaped holes in them, but I guess I can spare a few when they've put in so much work on our soil!

Freshly dug because this is where the potatoes were

Elsewhere on the plot my tardiness is benefitting other wildlife, the birds have started nibbling the sunflower heads, and I'm more than happy for them to do that. I only saved a few of the sunflower heads last year and still have lots more sunflower seeds than I know what to do with. I will save some of the smaller sunflower heads, because, well... free seeds!

Sunflower heads providing food for the birds

This year the sunflowers on the allotment have grown super thick stems, some have had a single flower at the top like the one above, but others have had smaller flowers all the way up the stem like the one below.  I like both types equally and it'll be interesting to see what kind I end up with next year!

And still tiny sunflowers on a very thick stem

I was pleased to see the rosemary cuttings thriving, in fact no longer cuttings and more like a bush. They've grown so well that I plan to take cuttings from this and plan to grow a rosemary edging to our plot.

The tiny rosemary cutting has flourished

Before leaving I stripped the small apple of its apples and while some of them are small the colour - and taste - is fantastic. And while they look good on our table, we will be eating them!

The potatoes also got another look over once we were home - there's three different types in here, two whites and a red - and I'm loving the colours in the box. They're now in double paper carriers in the shed, and I'm hoping that they store well. Last year we stored them in the house and even though we'd chosen a cool place, they still sprouted. 

Back home I checked the potatoes again

It could be that we'll be eating our home grown spuds at Christmas if I'm lucky. I'll also be looking out for some potato recipes!

Then there were the borlottis to tackle

There were also more borlotti beans left than I'd thought, no longer fresh though as they'd semi-dried on the plants. They're all podded and drying fully so they can be stored. They also made for a great picture!

shelled borlottis, rosemary and a few runner bean seeds

Being back on the plot was great, but there was also a reminder of how much we still need to do. We're aiming for our next few visits to be much sooner. We've a few more potatoes to dig, and I want to weed the edge of of this section and put down some membrane so we can avoid repeated weeding here. We've already weeded it more times than we need to, so this time we're taking further precautions.

I want to take some cuttings from the rosemary, I'll take more than I need as I expect I'll lose some over the winter.  And while our potato growing area is clear, unless we get some garlic and onions to plant there we plan to cover it with tarpaulin, which of course we need to buy.

The central bed which has been covered since we inherited the plot is on our list to dig over.  The optimist in me thinks it will be an easier dig, but the realist isn't quite so sure.  We'll see, and you never know by the start of the growing season we could end up with another section semi-tamed.

I mean, stranger things have happened!

Red and green bounty from the plot

Leaving the plot laden with produce is always good for the soul, and often good for the kitchen too. As I said yesterday I wasn't sure what I'd find on the plot, but going there before heading to the local shops was the best plan. It wasn't until I got home and unpacked our produce that I realised nature had colour coordinated my home grown fruit and veg.

There was another good handful of runner beans. They really do taste best fresh and home grown, and while we do freeze them fresh is definitely best. The frozen ones though have the most amazing smell, bringing back summer in an instant when it is long since forgotten.

Another handful of runner beans from the plot

And then there were the borlotti beans.  As you can see there were quite a few and equally as many left on the plants for another helping soon.  As I piled the borlotti beans on top of the runner beans I was amazed how many there were and how quickly they covered the runner beans.

Add some borlotti beans from the plot to the pile

But I wasn't done yet. There were apples too, the small apple tree was straining at the weight of the fruit so I picked a few to help it out. A pear from the fruit bowl added a touch of gree again.

apples from the small apple tree and a pear

And on top of the fruit, there was more rhubarb.  

And rhubarb from the plot too

There wasn't much space left on my chopping board, and I'd never thought of rhubarb as being the same colour as borlotti beans before, or apples and pears, but they are. 

That's quite a pile of produce isn't it - rewardlingly so

And we've already made good progress on eating these. A rhubarb crumble is half-eaten in the fridge, there's plans for apple and pear compote. We've eaten the borlotti beans with some pork loin from the butchers, and the runner beans will no doubt feature on our plates during the week too.

I cooked the borlotti beans covered in water with a sprig of sage, three squashed garlic cloves and three squashed cherry tomatoes. When they were soft I added some salt to the water and left them to stand for ten minutes or so before draining them, forgetting to save some of the cooking water as I planned! Then added some olive oil and lemon juice and mashed some of the beans. They tasted great and I'd cook them again this way. They lose their pink and white speckled colour when they're cooked, which is a shame, but for this harvest alone they're alwasy going to be on my growing list.



It's clearly a red and green time of year, and long may it continue!

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