VPGGB # 5 - It's Nicer to Share

Amongst the coffee quaffing and cake crumbs last week, Threadspider and I got down to the serious business of deciding which seeds we need for next year. As members of the Chippenham Garden & Allotment Society we're entitled to a whopping 40% off D.T. Brown seeds and 10% off anything else in their catalogue. We'd had to look sharpish as the deadline for the order was 1st December. There's plenty to choose from what I'd call the 'basics', plus a few more of the more exotic line thrown in for good measure. Though for more unusual seeds it's often better to go to the more specialist catalogues. What better excuse is there for a few weeks of browsing through masses of shiny booklets and dreaming of perfect plots and gardens whilst curled up in front of the fire?

Anyhoo back to more pressing matters, our order. As well as the bargain catalogue in front of us, we've decided to share the seeds between us wherever possible - pretty sensible when we're talking about 2,500 carrot seeds per packet. For some seeds we'd like we've had to order 2 packets which has immediately put us into the bulk discount category too. Can you see how this bargain just keeps on stacking up?

So the upshot is, I've ordered £37-ish of seeds for the knock down price of just over £23, with the prospect of a further coffee and cake session to relish with Threadspider in the spring when we get to sort out and divide the seeds.

Surprisingly we didn't order any sprouts (!), though we're both going to have a go at growing gherkins for the first time next year and I'm going to make a welcome return to Lemon Crystal cucumbers. I've also added a few packets of flower seeds for good measure - perennial Rudbeckia and multi-flowered sunflowers for me and a packet of Statice for you dear Threadspider! We've also plumped for a courgette that's 'good for growing up north' in view of this year's poor summer, so we're confidently predicting a hot and sunny summer for next year folks!

If you're not a member of your local garden society already, it could be worth seeing what's on offer in your area, particularly if you do (or want to) grow lots from seed. The company used will vary though. My membership's thrown in with my allotment fees, though I do believe you can belong without having an allotment, usually at a nominal cost. A lot of societies have talks, trips and social events, so are good value even if you don't use the discounted seed scheme. If you do use this kind of thing already, I'm interested in hearing about how it works for you.

Emmat - I did manage to get the seed order in on time in spite of your efforts to thwart me with your latest Slightly Homemade Christmas Pudding Gardeners' World last week. Chortletastic!


  1. You see, I'd like to order more land along with the seeds so I have somewhere to sow them.

    Wouldn't it be good if you could buy expanding earth that you could pull out of a packet?

    I've been on the allotment list for four years and, for most of that time, I've been 'next'!

    By the time I get it, I'll be too old to dig it.


  2. Lucy - I woke up this morning thinking exactly the same thing about expanding land. What an amazing coincidence!

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your next will soon turn into 'here's your plot'. And I don't think you'll be too old to dig it if some of our mature plot holders are anything to go by - they've got more energy than I have!

  3. I've been waiting almost 5 years for an allotment now, I have all but given up on the idea.

    Maybe I will get that suprise phone call too!

  4. VP,

    How exciting to sit with a friend over coffee and crumb cake to decide seed orders! The conversational threads must have been fun!

    I don't know if the MIddle TN Perennial Plant Society (my only garden club membership) offers such a good deal...40% off is very nice! We do have great meetings, garden tours, field trips to botanical gardens and members give their extra plants away before the meeting. Not bad.


  5. I got my HPS list last night - very excited. I was completely distracted and spent a happy evening pouring over various books.

    I am planning to do a post soon about tomatoes asking people to recommend some varieties for me to try.

  6. How great to have next year's garden underway already. :)

  7. Wot no sprouts:) What a civilised and productive way of passing time. Our garden club used to participate in a seed discount scheme with Dobies and I was the bod who collected orders, monies etc. Unfortunately I had to collate every individual order onto a master order form which just became too time consuming in the end. The system may well have changed by now. In terms of saving pennies it was certainly well worth it.

  8. Hi VP, so fun to think about the spring and seeds. I succumbed to the dreariness here on a rainy day and placed my order also, free shipping so I ordered a heat mat kit to help keep the baby seeds warm. I will post about what was ordered later.


  9. Zoe - I do hope so. Do you know where you are on the list?

    Gail - it's great and if I hadn't started blogging it would probably not have happened!

    PG - I've asked for HPS membership for Crimbo. Looking forward to your tomato post :)

    Nancy - yes it is - the garlic and early onions are in, most of the seed order's done and all's well with the world apart from the digging!

    Anna - interesting to hear how it worked from the admin point of view. I don't think ours has to put them on a master list, which would make it far less work than you had to do.

    Frances - that's just the kind of thing I do, add a few more things for good measure ;)

  10. And Threadspider says thank you VP for providing the perfect coffee, cake and companionship for the seed choosing session.
    I would like to return the favour next week over a potato catalogue. Mmmm-I know how to spoil you.

  11. TS - great, see you next week!

  12. Hi, we are a small organic seed company based in malmebury we also offer gardening clubs a 10% discount on our mail order catalogue to regestered clubs and our prices start from £1.00 per packet also we are having a potato day in malmesbury on the 31st january 2009 in the town hall 10 - 4 we will have over 50 varietys inc 10 organic, onion sets etc. taffy tatty will also be there to answer all your potato and veg questions it would be great to see you there and some of your fellow allotmenters

    full info on our website www.greenseeds.org.uk


  13. Hi David - thanks for your comment. I don't usually go for business 'plugs' to to find a local seed merchant is an exception :)

    I've noted your Potato day in January at Malmesbury and hope to be there.


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