Winter Heirloom Seedling Share 2011
Over the last few weeks, the Food Collective has been dreaming up a brand new Harvest Share, for the winter season. And, finally, we’re very pleased to be able introduce our next endeavour:
Heirloom Seedling Share
Sourcing seeds from local companies specialising in open-pollinated heirloom seed varieties, and working in association with the green-thumbed folks at Soil for Life, we bring to you a winter Heirloom Seedling Share. With the colder weather setting in, we’ve chosen a selection of colourful and unusual heirloom winter vegetable seedlings that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in South Africa.
Planting from seed can be time-consuming and isn’t always easy – growing from healthy seedlings instead gives you a head start and a much better chance at a good crop. And, because we’ve been careful to select as many cut-and-come-again kinds of plants as possible, you will be able to harvest your them yourself, throughout the season!
How does it work?
With each share you buy, you will receive FOUR 6-pack seedling trays containing the following heirloom vegetables:
- Heirloom Lettuce 6-pack (EITHER Forellenschluss Lettuce, Cinnamon Cos OR Butter Blush)
- Heirloom Pea 6-pack (EITHER Weggis Peas, Capuchin Peas OR Purple Podded Blauschokkers)
- Heirloom Broccoli OR Cauliflower 6-pack (EITHER Romanesco Broccoli, Calabrese Broccoli OR Sicilian Violet Cauliflower)
- Heirloom Cabbage OR Kale 6-pack (EITHER Perfection Drumhead Savoy Cabbage OR Nero di Toscana Kale)
Each 6-pack tray contains 6 seedlings of one variety (these are not mixed seedling trays). 24 seedlings in total. Seedling varieties will be randomly assigned, and may vary according to germination success rate of the seeds used. All four 6-packs to be collected at once from Soil For Life in Constantia in late May (provisional collection date: Monday 30 May 2011)
What does it cost?
Each share (4 seedling trays) costs R110. That works out to R27.50 per tray. You may order as many shares as you like (total shares available limited to 70).
We hope you’re as excited about this new project as we are!
Named for the Swiss town of weggis, this pea is an old variety which is perfect harvested and eaten as a whole pod (like mangetout peas). Provides beautiful purple flowers, and grows to 1 metre tall.
Also known as Capujiner peas, these legumes hail from the Netherlands. They date back to the early 16th century, when breeding new varieties of peas was a popular Dutch hobby. Capuchin monks on Holland and northern Germany developed many varieties, and it is for these monks that this pea is named. Originally bred as a field pea, for drying, they also are delicious when eaten young and fresh from the pod. The pod in question is a dusky purple-blue colour, which is easy to spot when picking. Worth growing for the flowers alone, as each blossom boasts a variety of shades, through mauve and violet to pale white. Grows up to 2 metres tall and harvest in 80 days.
PURPLE PODDED BLAUSCHOKKERS
This pea is one riotous celebration of colour: violet-red flowers giving way to purple-blue pods, which contain grey-brown seeds. They can be eaten as fresh peas, cooked as dried peas, or eaten whole, like a sugarsnap pea, when young. Although seed provider Shannon cautions that they can dye your tongue purple!
To top it off, the name ‘Blauschokker’ gives us inordinate pleasure, too. Very similar to Capuchin peas, including their prodigious height and days ‘til harvest.
Forellenschluss lettuce: An old Austrian heirloom variety of romaine (cos) lettuce, with green leaves strikingly dappled with red. The name means “speckled like a trout” in German. One of the prettiest heirloom lettuces, with loose leaves, and the classic romaine silky texture and mild flavour. Flourishes in cool weather. Days to Harvest: 28 days baby, 55 days full size from transplanting.
A wonderful, old fashioned romaine lettuce. Slightly elongated, with leaves that shade from green to dark red. Stronger tasting, and easy to grow. Days to harvest: 30 days from transplanting.
Green romaine lettuce with pinky red fringed leaves. True to its name, buttery in flavour, with rounded, loose heads. Highly rated for both looks and taste. Days to Harvest: 55 days from transplanting.