As tradition demands, I sat down with a seed catalogue just after Christmas to choose and order this year’s crops. In fact, although I do get old school paper catalogues, you won’t be surprised to hear that the catalouge I used was online.

The selection was based upon a short list of vegetables I’m comfortable growing and plant varieties which have either been successful in past years or which present a challenge for the coming year.

A quick run through:

Potatoes, Robinta: for the first time since moving to Devon I’ve dropped Desiree from my list. Whilst we love the big red tubers, I opted for a variety coming in a smaller quantity. We’ve had a lot of wastage due to mice helping themselves during colder days. Robinta is another main crop red with fleshy tubers. It remains to be seen if I can reduce worm and slug damage.

Pea, Ambassador: not being able to find a true petit pois, I chose what looks to be a near equivalent. There are left over seeds from previous years though given an iffy strike rate in 2011 I’m not sure I’ll get much out of the old petit pois. “Tolerant of bad weather” it says in the catalogue. Ideal for north Devon, then!

Runner bean, White Emergo: an excellent cropper in 2011 despite wind damage to my canes. We were feasting on beans through October.

Broccoli/calabrese, Fiesta: a slight punt on an F1 hybrid. I can’t remember what I’ve sown before, but I’ve had great success the last two years. The trick in 2012 will be to stagger the plants so I’m not stuck with several kilos of head all at once.

Cabbage, Drago: a winter variety with a pointed head. This should be interesting. I’ve only grown summer cabbages before so not used to harvesting in the dark, wet days of December.

Brussels sprouts, Doric: success in 2011/12!

Tomato, Zuckertraube: a small, sweet, salad tomato that has been supremely pants in terms of cropping. But, the taste is a tease.

Tomato, Mirabelle Blanche: a yellow version of Gardeners’ Delight. If it crops like GD, then should be good. But, does it taste good?

Cucumber, Tanja: I didn’t have much luck with Marketmore in 2011 so decided to try a difference variety. I usually transplant the fruits to an outside plot though under a cloche. The cloche is knackered so I may have to keep the plants in a crowded greenhouse.

That’s it apart from the usual selection of mixed leaves and sprouting seeds. I may have to get some red onions to join my yellow onions, ordered several months ago. Not yet decided whether to buy some chilli plants as I’ve repeatedly failed to get all but a handful of fruits from seed grown specimens.

Finally, what’s the betting my 4 year old Gardeners’ Delight germinate yet again?

I can’t wait to get sowing!

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