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Kings Seeds catalogueI look forward to the Kings Seeds catalogue arriving in the mail. On-line catalogues are great but there is nothing like curling up with a printed catalogue and reading about all the new and exciting things you could grow in the coming season. I have been buying seeds from Kings for ages – since they were Kings Herb Seeds – and have found that they have the best range of unusual herbs and vegetables available in NZ.

Once I have looked through and marked everything that looks interesting, I look through my store of seed from previous years to see what I have that is still likely to be viable. My seed packets are stored (alphabetically of course – I am a librarian!) in a old cake tin with a divider down the middle. Whenever I get little packs of moisture-absorbing granules (often found in new shoes) I put these in the tin with the seeds. The tin lives in the larder which is cool and dark.

I then go through the catalogue again adding standard items that I am out of and deleting anything I have already.  When it comes to ordering I usually do this on-line.

The new things I am trying this year include:

Caper bush – I usually pickle nasturtium pods as a caper substitute but thought I would try growing the real thing. I think I will plant this in a large pot so I can put it under the verandah so as to keep it reasonably dry.

Cucumber Mini White – my son (10 yr) doesn’t eat fruit so I like to give him a chunk of cucumber in his lunch. He is a bit fussy and won’t eat it if the surface dries out so these mini cucumbers look like a good option. I can turn some into gherkins too.

Pea Petit Provencal – I have tried various types of peas in the past but I like the sound of these ones which can be eaten as snow peas as well as shelled peas and have tasty tendrils as well.

Pumpkin Baby Bear – Now there are only 2 of us that like pumpkin these mini pumpkins sound ideal. I have grown Pumpkin Austrian Oil Seed for a couple of years for the hull-less seeds but the flesh looks unappetising – pale and stringy – so these pumpkins with their semi hull-less seeds may be a good alternative. I wonder what semi hull-less means – do some of the seeds have no hulls or all the seeds have partial hulls?

Purslane Red and Gold – I have been growing green purslane for a number of years and find it an excellent addition to green salads. It also self-sows quite well – a definite bonus in my books! This variety sounds just as good with the added bonus of different colours to liven up our salads.

Samphire– I read about samphire some time ago in A Country Harvest but at that stage it wasn’t available in NZ. Something else to add variety to summer salads.

Tomato Peron – I like to try a different variety of tomato each year to add to the best varieties I have grown in previous years. This year Peron caught my eye for its resistance to fungal diseases. I have a continual battle with blight so I hope this one will do well.

Water Spinach Bamboo Leaf – Whilst travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia we saw lots of water spinach growing and no doubt ate quite a bit of it too. I really enjoy South East Asian cooking so thought I would give this a go.

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