This year -- in contrast to my usual habit -- I decided to Buy In seedling mix. Usually I just use my own compost, and it works reasonably well, up to a point. My compost is made from stable-muck where they use wood-shavings for the bedding instead of straw. It's great for compost, and means that I get lots of odd fungi in the garden, but its a little heavy for seed-mix. The bottom parts of the seed-trays tends to stay waterlogged, and the roots of all the tiny plants don't get enough Oxygen. So the seeds germinate well, grow fantastically to a point... and then come to a complete halt! Hence my (reluctant) decision to buy in a "professional" seed mix.
Turned out to be a disaster. The stuff is like cement. Maybe harder. The seedlings get even less Oxygen to their roots, if that's possible. As a result I'm having a terrible Chilli year. My third Disastrous Chilli Year in a row! I've lost a number of Chilli varieties that I've been saving seed from for years, including Serrano, Jalapeno (can you fucking believe it?) Bolivian Rainbow, and New Mex #6-4. Only two plants of Cherry Pepper -- I'm guarding them like a Hawk.
So: I'm going to have to buy in a whole lot of Chilli seed for next year to rebuild my seed-stocks. Here's a list of what I'm looking for -- if you have any of these and are open to swaps (or whatever -- I'm happy to pay a reasonably price...) please drop me a line:
- Rocotto (sp?)
- Jalapeno (none of that Jalapeno-M stuff, thanks -- if it's not hot, what's the point?)
- Nu-Mex #6-4
- Mira del Sol
- Cherry Peppers
In exchange I can (probably -- depending on how the season progresses) offer Bishop's Hat (we tend to call it Red Hat around here, being a bunch of open-source software geeks) plus whatever's on my seed list (not currently up-to-date; I promise I'll fix it in a day or three!)
The thing with Chillis is that I can mostly overwinter them quite successfully. We don't get any frost. So my idea is to plant NOW with the idea that I'll only harvest seed somewhere around Jan 2010. (How's that for Long Range Planning?)
And. Whilst I'm Thinking Ahead, I began to contemplate the Winter To Come. See, with such a mild climate, we have (at least) two growing seasons. And, having learned that Chickpeas ("Garbanzo Beans" to some...) are essentially a cool-season crop, I can tell that they'll never do well through a Summer here! So, I'm looking for 2 or 3 varieties of Chickpeas to plant this comning Winter. While I'm at it, I am keenly interested in increasing the number of Bean varieties we grow. At the ver minimum, I want a good Pinto bean, and a variety of large-white bean. (Locally we know them as "Butter Beans". But do you think you can find anyin the seed racks? Or even in the supermarkets as dried beans?? No!They're all in cans!!)
More Beans Welcomed! Currently we are very successful and happy with Dragon's Lingerie and Hopi Black for dried beans, but I'd very much like to expand the range a bit!
If you have seed to swap/sell/give away along these lines, please contact me!