ISSA e-zine 27 January 2012

In this edition -

  • Table Queens and French Beans...

  • Planning Your 2012 Garden...

  • What to do in the garden...

  • Upcoming Workshops...

Table Queens and French Beans

Winter is the time of year when gardeners study seed catalogues looking for interesting new varieties to try, so we'd like to tell you about some new and unusual varieties to our seed catalogue this year. These new seeds grew really well for us last year despite the poor weather so you will be off to a good start with these varieties. Another great reason to buy your seeds from Irish Seed Savers is that we actually grow the seeds we sell so you can be sure that the end result has been tried and tested in the Irish climate.

Outredgeous is a wonderful large loose leaf, but upright lettuce, with a cos type head which is perfect for cutting and coming again and of course its outrageously red so it will be a colourful addition to your salad.

Table Queen is an acorn shaped squash, with a dark green ribbed skin, its about 20cm long and you should get several squashes per plant. Its clear why the ‘Table Queen’ gets its name as the deep orange, dry, thick flesh is incredibly sweet and delicious.

Daniel O’Rourke is an Irish heritage variety pea which grows quite tall, with prolific small pods and sweet peas, best eaten while young. Good disease resistance, the peas can also be left to mature and dry off to be used as a soup pea in the winter.

Coco Nain de Prague is a good compact variety for a drying French Bean. It is very early to mature (the pods can be eaten green and fresh also). The pods develop a lovely red striping as the red/white mottled seeds develop. A better crop of dry beans is to be had if they are grown under cover, though they also did quite well outdoors in an open cloche.

Mexican Midget tomato was very popular with visitors to Seed Savers this season. Contrary to its name it has a very long growth habit, climbing up to the tunnel roof and beyond, a habit rooted in the wild ancestry of vining tomatoes. Widely spaced trusses help reduce build up of fungal disease and each truss was loaded with sweet delicious red cherry tomatoes. This tomato was also successful when trialled outdoors and it didn’t succumb to blight until well into the autumn.


You can order your seeds directly on line at or if you live locally, why not drop in and collect them in the shop. Remember that if you are a supporter, you are automatically entitled to five free packets of seeds and three varieties of seed potatoes. Happy shopping !

Planning Your 2012 Garden

Isn't it nice to have a mild winter again - well, so far anyway!

With the warm temperatures you should still have lots of winter veg in the garden - carrots, leeks, kale, chard, sprouting broccoli, celeriac, brussels sprouts, beets and cabbage.

If your garden is empty and you're back to buying store produce, then be sure to plan now for to be harvesting veg next winter. The secret is to get your seeds now while they are still available as they can be harder to find in the shops in the summer.

Then do sowings in June and July of these veg so that they are ready in the winter when it's especially hard to find local, organic veg for sale. There's no reason to not be eating fresh veg from your own garden all year round!

What to do in the garden this week

  • When pruning large limbs, always undercut first, meaning to cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way through the limb, then finish by cutting from the top. This undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk and may become an entry path for insects or diseases. Don't cut flush to the trunk, the collar or enlarged base of a branch produces hormones that help heal wounds.

  • Check stored fruits and vegetables like potatoes and apples for bad spots which could lead to decay. Remove and use those which show signs of spoiling. Separate others into slotted trays to increase air circulation and reduce decay possibilities.

  • Why not? Add garden record keeping to the list of New Year's resolutions. Treat yourself and garden to a journal and make some notes of which varieties of flowers, vegetables and potatoes do best and which do poorly in your garden.

  • If you have some spare time this winter, paint the handles of garden tools red or orange. This will preserve the wood and make the tools easier to locate next summer when you lay them down in the garden.

Upcoming Workshops

To see past ezines click here

Kind regards,
Chrys Gardener
Project Manager

Irish Seed Savers Association
Co. Clare
Tel: +353-61-921866