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Yesterday at 14:23:18 by lezelle
Views: 236 | Comments: 1

I picked the last of my leeks today and when stripping the outer skins noticed red lines running down the length of the stem. I have seen it before but can't find out what it is doing it. Can anyone help or advise me please.
Yesterday at 12:22:48 by Paulh | Views: 143 | Comments: 1

New plotholders have to pay a deposit on our council sites which is returned when they give up the plot if the plot is left in good order. It is currently £25 which does not cover the council's costs by a long way in most cases.

What amount do other sites charge? What might be reasonable - the council is suggesting £150 or even £250. This would affect new plotholders only, so it may be more a question of whether anyone would be put off and there is a small waiting list currently.

May 13, 2024, 11:02:58 by Vinlander
Views: 875 | Comments: 1

This is the black Phyllostachys nigra species.

I'm posting this here because it's technically edible - the shoots aren't my favourite for flavour but that's all down to taste.

It's a weird thing how this happens every 40 years or so - it flowers, producing masses of seeds (loved by rats to the extent of causing a population explosion). I will try some once they are ripe. I don't think this 40yr timescale applies to the whole genus, but I can't find any info I can trust - other genera do have different timings - some take 100 years.


You can find all this on t'web - but it means that lots of people will need to cut all the canes down and use a rat-proof way to store the seeds.

That's a big job and can be risky with saws etc. Bamboo sap is also very bad on the skin - especially in sunlight.

I find the ideal tool is an angle grinder with a stone cutter disk - a medium 3-4mm one works well, and can also be used to remove the root system (only a few cm down) by cutting downwards easily through rhizome mats, soil & stones. Once you separate the mat into squares (a bit wider than your spade) they can be levered out really easily.

it's actually the perfect method to remove the running types and it's also possible to cut new plants from the (friendlier) clumping genera - like Fargesia.

Personally I'm looking forward to living without it - it's often sold as non-running - that's high BS - it just isn't the fastest. Despite finding the ideal way to control it, it's still an annual task once it gets past 2m wide - and worse when it starts going under paths, walls and ponds.

It will take years to grow the new version from seed, and 2 more years before you can judge how black and how shiny each seedling is. Can't be bothered.

I'm going to buy something from the proper clumping species once I've got mine out (hopefully better-tasting shoots too - but that info is very hard to find) - but I'll still keep it well away from paths and walls this time.


May 07, 2024, 06:35:24 by JanG
Views: 1500 | Comments: 8

As soon as I see corn salad in flower I begin to think the seed saving season is not far away. Some committed seed savers might already have planted out root vegetables stored over winter for flowering and seed setting this summer. But whatever your level of seed-saving, itís time to be alert to the opportunities ahead.

Itís been a challenging season for many with so much constant rain in UK through winter and spring, leading to waterlogged soil and delayed spring planting. I hope that in spite of the challenges the weather throws at us, youíre having an enjoyable spring sowing and planting, including dipping into the wonderful range of seeds the Circle shared in late 2023. It would be very good to hear of progress and to share results and experiences. I hope that last yearís enthusiastic band will be willing and able to participate again and it would also be great if any new members would like to join us.

For those who havenít participated before, hereís some information to help you decide if you would like to join.

The Seed Circle is open to all A4A participants; itís great to have new people join too. The group is all about setting aside a little growing space, and time, to raise some crops for seeds, keeping the group informed as to how the season is going, then at the end of the season, probably in November, sharing some growing information and your saved seeds with the group.

Each person decides what 2 or more crops they will grow and save seed from (we do inc. tubers, bulbs and cuttings, but do make sure they are well wrapped so that they don't dampen any seeds). They will then aim to save enough seed for other Circle members to grow a crop the following year. The group could be up to 12 people but is more often under 10. Recently it has numbered about 7 participants. Varieties will generally need to be heritage or open pollinated so that they will come true from seed (potato seeds wonít come exactly true). If you include grown out hybrids please state this clearly.

Some vegetables are easier and more reliable than others to save seed from. But generally peas, French beans, tomatoes, perhaps potatoes and some herbs are the easiest. Chillies, sweet peppers, squash, courgette and to some extent lettuce will need isolating from other varieties to keep seed pure.  Parsnips, onions, leeks, beetroot, carrots, celeriac and many brassicas only go to seed in the second year and need isolation from other varieties and so are more time-consuming and a little trickier.

Real Seeds created the idea for the circles. Their site gives some great seed saving tips as well as being a great seed catalogue
There is also a brilliant series of shortish videos on seed saving for different vegetables at:

For anyone interested, what we shared in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 can be found with images and donorsí notes at Try Gallery View.

The seeds exchanged from 2017-2019 can be found at
And for seed exchanging from 2010 to 2016 at

And some previous threads for the Circles:
Seed Circle 2023,83426.0.html
Seed Circle 2022,83279.0.html
Seed Circle 2021,83047.0.html
Seed Circle 2020,82679.0.html

Please could a moderator pin this.
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