There are fantastic gardening projects going on up and down the country but Sowing New Seeds is one that gets me excited. After spending a little over a year gardening with Nottingham Organic Gardeners (NOGs), it’s had huge knock on effects with the rest of my life.  Local Gardeners like NOGS have taught me so much and there is always something new to learn.

Not only have they shown me how easy it is to sow seeds and grow your own food, they’ve helped me gain confidence and social skills that had diminished due to poor social life at University. What do I mean by a poor social life at University, weren’t you out partying everyday?!? Ahem, yes but it did not make me happy, it just made me spend all my student loans on partying, dressing up and doing stupid things! Being part of a local Gardening group reminded me that gardening was something I enjoyed as a child and that vegetables were so easy and cheap to grow.

Why do I think that Sowing New Seeds is the most exciting project for 2011?  There is something about growing exotic crops that really excites me. Maybe it’s because last summer the allotment was covered in lettuce, the courgette plants kept battering me with more and more marrows, and the beans began to get a bit boring after the 100th stir fry, boiling them for something else etc.

As gardeners we should learn more about breaking the dependency: we are too reliant on too few crop species. Using more underutilised plants will improve global food security and in turn make us more aware of what choice we have when we go shopping.


There I said it. I’ll shout it from the rafters. Ok, There may be thousands of different varieties of certain crops but many people seem to stick with the usual potatoes, herbs and lettuce. This year has seen the use of purple carrots and peas in gardens boom and you can see why. People like a change and this is where gardeners can start to have a say.

The Sowing New Seeds project encourages people to grow non-traditional crops that come from a wide variety of places. They will then use the data that they collect from all their ‘seed stewards’ to compile even more information on what works and what doesn’t. There is already a wealth of non-traditional crops grown in the UK. These crops and the skills to grow them are in danger of disappearing as they are not being passed onto younger generations.

What will I be growing this year that is classed as something a little bit ‘exotic’ compared to the standard fair of carrots, peas and spuds.

Whilst writing this post I asked people on Twitter if anyone was growing Mouse Melons or if anyone had ever grown them. Someone replied and said they had some seeds and they would send me some. The lovely lady turned out to be @emmathegardener from Someone online sent me some seeds because she wanted to and she didn’t want anything else in return. How nice is that? She made my day and in return I’m going to make a twitter friend an apron. And write a review for Emma Coopers book “The Alternative Kitchen Garden: an A to Z”.

See technology like twitter can really come in useful when you’re a gardener!

Mouse Melon Seeds sent by @emmathegardener


One Response to Sowing New Seeds

  1. Great post. You’ve sold it to me. I’ll take the Vietnamese Mustard!

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