No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Howdy

    I found this forum after looking for some old beans I'd once shared, so I decided to join.

    Good to see some familiar names.

  • #2
    Welcome! Haven't heard from you for such a long time, great to see you posting again. Zazen999. Grew Redlands Greenleaf last year and wondered how you were doing.


    • #3
      Welcome, Zazen999. Did you find any reference to the old beans you’d shared? Would be interested to know what they are/were.
      I first joined this forum because of an interest in beans and then got infected by interest in lots more things!


      • #4
        Hi Galina, I still think of you when I grow Galina of all things! Yes Redlands Greenleaf, those were from an old packet of beans from HSL when they sent an email round the offices one day saying 'does anyone want any old seeds' and I was there within 5 mins with a box. They have always grown well for me, not doing them this year but definitely will grow again. I used them alot in schools growing as they were just so uniform and well behaved.

        Hi Jang. I used to work at Garden Organic teaching in schools around the country [I once had 14 different gardens on the go] and was trying to accumulate a large range of beans as I used them a - for eating but also b - for teaching as there were so many stories around beans and c - you could sow them, mulch them, pop some canes here and there and leave them all summer. I documented the beans themselves a little on
        When I left GO I jointly ran a community teaching garden in Nottingham and then worked on another plot in the city, but when I left that I also left behind all the growing space. Now I have just my allotment for food growing/seed saving and I've given away boxes and boxes of all my seeds so I am down to a manageable size thankfully. I was looking for Maria Zeller beans as I'd had a couple and Russ in USA contacted me on the blog asking about them years back, so I sent him some and he bulked them up and sent some back and I came across them in my stash, so I was just wondering about them. Which led me here and I saw Galina and Jay B and so I joined up.

        I predict a huge interest in seed saving but I think alot of people think it is just too much hard work and having trays drying and jam jars out going mouldy on windowsills is a step too far for alot of people.


        • #5
          Thanks for sharing your interesting history. I have dipped into your blog, Linear Legume, now and again over the last couple of years and enjoyed it very much. I hadn't made the connection though.

          I've grown Maria Zeller for the last couple of years, and also have been growing beans for Russ Crow. MZ is a beauty! For me, some varieties of bean this year have been afflicted either by quite severe magnesium deficiency, probably caused by over use of manure, or by mosaic deficiency. I'm still not sure which but it will affect seed saving of course.

          The predicted surge of interest in seed saving is interesting as rather oddly the A4A seed circle is much diminished. I said I'd take it on and have made some efforts to generate interest with some posts about saving different kinds of seeds but so far it's still just a small number, only about four, of regulars who have responded. If you have any ideas as to how to encourage interest from people who might be motivated by recent events, do let me know!


          • #6
            I don't know how to solve it, it really does baffle me. I had a seed saving circle on facebook, and the numbers were quite poor, even with people who I know are keen on saving and sharing. I guess it really is quite hard work and with seeds being sold so cheaply, it is easier to just buy what you want when you want it. Loads join but few actually follow through. I think people are genuinely worried about it being a scam as by sending seeds to an unknown person, and giving addresses away, they can either lose the lot if they never get their share back, or risk their address being shared inappropriately? I even tried a local one but nobody could agree when they could meet so that they could share their seeds in person.

            I once ran a circle on the Grapevine [one of the first] with about 20 people in it, we all got 72 packets each but stopped doing those due to the sheer pile of work involved in chasing and waiting. People got annoyed by being given deadlines and me having to wait for that one last person to send theirs in which annoyed everyone as they were then late being sent out, and avoiding the Christmas post rush but getting them before January because people wanted to sow the peppers early; and so on and so forth. So although it is a nice idea, it only works if everyone contributes on time. Also I think postage costs changing so that everything ended up not being able to be sent by large letter and not knowing the postage costs at the start puts people off. Also, if they misjudge the postage costs, and they get withheld at a post office and they have to pay the difference, plus £1, puts people off.

            That's what I have found over the years.


            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              It is really surprising how the postage cost can put people off. A small parcel in a large jiffy bag costs less than 4 pounds, which is a bargain for the number of packets exchanged, and allows for larger seeds like peas and beans, tubers, bulbs and cuttings too. For small seeds only a large envelope is enough. Surprisingly often I had complaints from people who sent in a couple of tiny packets of two tomato varieties (which for them was a large envelope) and then expect not to have to pay for a small parcel for their returns, despite having seen the contents and range of contributions from previous years. On the other hand I had a contributor who paid for postage for another member who had been prevented from taking part one year after others suggested that person who had been very generous in the past, should also get an envelope. So suspicions that the organiser 'makes money' from the postage as well as great generosity go hand in hand it seems.

          • #7
            Hi Zazen999, welcome! Another legume fanatic? Looking forward to your future posts

            Interesting the discussion that sprung up regarding seed circles. It's strange and a bit concerning that interest is currently so low, I personally find the concept an exciting way to discover varieties that one may have otherwise missed - and it's perfect for getting your favourite varieties out there to others. Hopefully things will change in the future.


            • #8
              Yes, I too find the excitement there. I suppose the appeal is perhaps more for people who are fairly experienced in growing and are at the stage of enjoying the discovery of more rarely grown and unusual varieties.

              On A4A I was hoping to interest fairly new growers whose growing had perhaps been triggered by the pandemic and its shortages. But those growers are the ones who, as Zazen999 says, find it easier to buy cheap seeds online or locally. In its heyday the A4A seed circle was a larger group of committed and experienced growers and it’s a small number of those who remain.

              Thanks for clarifying so starkly, Z999, many of the reasons for the difficulty in interesting newer growers. I’m hopeful that the small number still left will continue to enjoy exchanging interesting material!


              • #9
                Sadly the 'scam' is often the other way round. People wanting to participate having seen lush photos of seed share outs (which we have always shown to let people know what is possible for a small amateur circle). But there are always a few who don't think about seed saving throughout the year, then come late October they send an email 'what must I do for this group, I haven't saved any seeds, but I can buy some'. Which Is incredibly sad, because those folk haven't engaged with the ethics and reason of a seed circle. There are genuine failures too which can happen to anybody and always means the person stays because they have tried. Then there are 'won't learners', who tell you they have saved the seeds from two uneaten leeks for the seed circle. They let the dregs flower rather than planning for seed saving and doing it properly.

                Then there is also a misunderstanding that it must only be interesting varieties. Well I have put in rocket, radish and cress and such everyday stuff. Because I save those too. Home saved boring rather than exotic, but most people think it has to be unusual varieties. This is where seed circle meets conservation of heritage varieties, which is not necessarily its main aim. To me the main aim is to think 'full circle', from seed to seed. Where that involves rare and heritage varieties, those that cannot be bought, that is very good for conservation, but it need not be the main aim of a seed circle. Often you hear, 'where can I buy interesting seeds for growing for the seed circle' rather than why not carry on to seed those varieties people are growing anyway. Most people have a few humdrum varieties, but also some that are a bit special anyway. As it happens there is automatically more seed saving from those varieties that are not commercially available, because that is the only way of preserving those seeds for another year. But especially a first timer should never be put off trying their hand at less exotic varieties and learning how to save good seeds in the process.
                Last edited by Galina; 21-08-2020, 07:45.


                • #10
                  Also, I think that new growers are scared of growing things that didn't come from a shop, and possible without a 'sell by' date on them is a bit unnerving. And no instructions. And no photos. I myself literally faffed for about 6 years before I dared to even join Garden Organic as a member as I thought I wasn't experienced enough. And then look what happened!


                  • #11
                    Lovely to see you here Zazen


                    • #12
                      Eh up. I still have quite a few of your swaps in my bag of tricks.