Tag Archives: seedy penpals

Seedy Penpals – First Letters

…sons of bankers, sons of lawyers,
turn around and say, “good morning” to the night.
For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why,
they know not if it’s dark outside or light

Elton John

Seedy Penpals

Seedy Penpals is up and running thanks to the hard work of Mel at Edible Things and Carl Legge.  Some of the people doing it I know a little, like Carla in Rome, and Maria Paola in the New Forest, but we are not necessarily paired up with people we know and in fact that is part of the excitement and the mild terror of writing to someone you don’t know at all, have no clues about at all, except a willingness to reach out to another human being and begin tentatively to make contact.

So now I have two new friends, I don’t know what else to call them, Joyce and Michelle and the potential for many more in the future. Joyce and I exchanged email addresses and a clutch of emails describing our gardens to each other and what we like to grow and then Joyce sent me these in the post. She wrote to me as well describing the seeds and why she had chosen them

The Christopher Lloyd french marigolds are much taller than other french marigolds. I keep the seeds from year to year and they are very precious. Christoper Lloyd was my gardening idol and influenced my gardening style greatly….the white borage is quite an untidy plant – the bumble bees love them

and very excitingly because I have sown them already – a selection  saying

Sow Now

Seedy Penpals(like something out of Alice in Wonderland) a selection of Japanese Greens, Chervil and Corn Salad for autumn eating – in salads and stir frys I am hoping.

I have sent in my  turn some seeds to Michelle who also runs the 52 week salad project (we don’t send and receive to the same person) which somehow got put to one side as I went up and down the country earlier this year. I will post something about that again soon.

I have been reading loads of gardening blogs and thinking about how very hard people work at their gardening. I think too about all the thinking that goes behind it, the exploring and the reading, the fine tuning and most of all the complex set of emotions that growing food and flowers, raising trees, looking at soil and weather engenders in our hearts and minds. At the risk of romanticising the work, it is a wonderful thing to be able to do and embeds you in your life in a way that sitting in front of a computer screen can never do.

Special Tin for Seedy Penpals Seeds. This is an old perfectly airtight Japanese Seaweed Cracker tin given to me by a lodger many years ago

I don’t get involved with that many people I don’t know – let me amend that – I don’t think of myself as someone who is good at making new friends – but – of course I have made new friends with people who read this blog, people I have met on baking days, people I talk to when I walk the dogs and people I tweet with on Twitter. Some of them I will never meet in person, but all the same, there is connection, a reaching out to the Other and as you get older this is increasingly precious.

Seedy PenpalsSeedy Penpals

Here are your seeds coming up Joyce!  Fingers crossed and I will let you know how they do and what happens next. Thank you so much for being my Seedy Penpal. It was thrilling to receive your seeds and I hope I can nurture them well.

This is just the start and Seedy Penpals will be carrying on into the future, so if you want to join in, even in the smallest, most tentative way I know you will be welcome!

Do you have friends you will most likely never meet? In my teens I wrote to a prisoner in a German prison, something my language exchange family suggested. We wrote for a few months and then I think he left prison. He just came back to my mind, but I am not sure I can remember his name now and that is the other thing that all this reminds me of: friends do indeed come and go; there are people with whom you have great long exchanges of emails who then just vanish again, but that’s all fine, life is like that.

Seedy Penpals – What a Brilliant Idea!

I am joining in with this simple and  life affirming Seedy Penpals Scheme – I have always sent a few seeds here and there and love the simplicity of this. I just wandered into the ‘cool room’ and surveyed the wreckage of the seeds that haven’t been sown this year and always regret and would love to share them, a mix of seeds I have saved, ones I have bought with great enthusiasm and so on.  I don’t know if I can match up to all the ideals of the scheme but I think it’s a good starting point for anyone.

Sadly we can’t do this with people outside the UK and EU but there’s nothing to stop you setting up your own Seedy Penpal scheme in other countries.  I tried once sending seeds ‘out of bounds’ and they didn’t germinate for the person I sent them to, so I suspect it’s probably not worth doing, quite apart from the legal aspects of it. I also often end up with too many small seedlings for my tiny garden, and frantically give them away as I suspect most suburban gardeners do, but I don’t see as how I can send those through the post.  I am sure many gardeners are in the same position. We should have local seedling swaps, a project for another growing season perhaps?

Edit : You can read all about the scheme on Carl Legge’s site and on Mel’s Edible Things site and sign up. Carl is a fount of knowledge and kind support about all sorts of things, and his enthusiasm is a joy. Mel is new to me but I am editing this post as I realise this is a joint project from them both. Hi Mel, I am going to spend some time on your site very soon, it looks great!

Here is an excerpt from his site to give you an idea of how it works…

Seedy Penpals is a great way to share seeds with like-minded people. We all like to send and receive surprise treats: with Seedy Penpals you get to grow them too (and eat some).

Seedy Penpals is also a great way to

  • Meet and make new friends who share your interest in gardening
  • Find new blogs you may like
  • Share your experience of different plants and how to grow & care for them
  • Increase your knowledge about how to grow & care for plants
  • Save & share your favourite varieties
  • Protect plant biodiversity
  • Conserve and promote heritage varieties of plants
  • Make sure your surplus seeds are not wasted

Who can join?

Anyone who would like to join is welcome. You can be:

  • a complete beginner, or
  • someone who knows they have green fingers
  • young, or
  • more ‘mature’

We’d like to see:

  • bloggers or non-bloggers
  • Tweeters or non-Tweeters
  • UK & other EU residents only (due to seed export restrictions)

To read more Click Here and join up and who knows what you will be growing next year!

Here are three things I have grown from seed this year. Some beautiful scented sweet peas and my attempt, yet again, at growing sweet peppers, this is the Lipstick variety and one of the tomato varieties I am trying.

You don’t have to blog, or tweet or anything like that to join in, so what are you waiting for?

It’s been a crazy year for growing stuff in the UK, we had a very cold dry spring and then loads of rain but something will always grow and well, isn’t that a good enough reason? I dunno.

One final pic of the Lateh tomato, a variety bred in Moscow, Idaho and distributed here by the Real Seed Company. It has a reputation of being one of the earliest around and able to cope with cold short growing seasons. This is the first ripe tomato, grown outdoors this year, amazing!