Spring is here! What Are you planting?

Posted on

What an exciting time for us gardeners! Many of you, like us will have a glasshouse or cloche starting to overflow with seedlings growing bigger by the day for the garden. Our first seed sowing is off to a great start and we have been busy pricking out brassicas like Broccoli De Cicco and Kale Pohara, which are both new to our range this season! There is still time to plant brassicas if you have yet to sow any.  Our tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are healthy and protected this time of year by a double layer. They sit in the glasshouse and we have a frost cloth cloche over them for added protection in case of a hard frost. This is the safest way to ensure they don’t end get frosted in early spring. If you have yet to get some of these long season heat loving crops in, act now and you will be rewarded!

If you are new to sowing your own tomatoes, peppers or eggplants it is important to know they need a warm spot to germinate. The soil temperature needs to be at least 18°C for germination. As this is impossible to achieve outside this time of year, we use a heat pad indoors to get our solanaceae babies going. Once the seeds pop and the first leaves appear we then transfer them to our double protection glasshouse I mentioned earlier.  As the seeds do not require light to germinate your hot water cupboard or somewhere near a woodstove that is always lit can be ideal places for germination. Just remember to keep the soil moist but not too wet to prevent damping off.

I have been reading a bit about tomatoes from a fellow American seed grower, Joseph Lofthouse. He is doing some very interesting breeding work with tomatoes wild ancestors to try to strengthen our domesticated cultivars. As it turns out, tomatoes are one of the most highly inbred vegetables we grow, and this is why so much effort and knowledge is needed to procure healthy fruits! For more information, check out his full article here. Joseph is a landrace grower, someone who encourages crossing among same species cultivars as a way of breeding locally adapted strong varieties with genetic variation and vigor. I am still getting my head around how we can start some landrace varieties here in our seed garden. Naturally my thoughts jump to pumpkins, corn and brassicas as they are some of the harder varieties to maintain genetic purity so an easy place to trial the landrace seed idea. Watch this space.

Something else that has been inspiring me lately is a book given to me by my mother called, Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden -The classic account of Hidatsa American Indian gardening technigues, by Gilbert L. Wilson. Originally published in 1917, this is an amazing account from an ethnobotanical and anthropological perspective unique to its time. The book details Buffalo Bird Woman’s garden knowledge and how it was to garden in her village before the introduction of settlers tools and ways. Reading about her families garden and how they designed, developed  and maintained it is truly useful for gardening knowledge today. I highly recommend it. It is also inspiring me to try again the Three Sisters Planting of Corn, Beans and Squash(Pumpkin). This is something I have done in the past with mixed results. Now seeing how they laid out the planting, allowing more space between pumpkin plants, I see huge value in this companion planting group and have plans to have a whole section of our garden dedicated to this design this season. Photos hopefully to come in future newsletters.
On a different note, we have had the great fortune of being featured in the August issue of NZ Gardener Magazine. For the article please find it here. Since this article came out, we have experienced a spike in sales, which we are grateful for. We just wanted to explain that this is why we have SOLD OUT of a few things including some of our New Garden Packs. Our apologies for any disappointment this may cause. Please know we are doing our best to keep continuity of supply going. 

A new shop is opening in Nelson and they are stocking our seeds! Go check out Tim's Garden store if you are local or in the area.

Things to Sow in the Garden Now:

Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant seeds need to get underway ASAP if you have not already done so.  By planting these seeds now, you ensure you will have a long harvest of the heat loving summer crops!  We are also planting our spring brassicas, like kale and broccoli, not to mention the faster growing, Tat Soi, Mizuna, and Rocket.  Wild Arugala is also great to get on its way now, being a perennial this plant will ensure leafy greens in your garden for years to come.  Spinach Bloomsdale, Silverbeet Fordhook Giant and our Orach Red are also ideal spring greens to plant. Salad Burnet, can also be sown, along with all our lettuces like Specked, Tree, Odell’s, Mignonette, St Vincent and don’t forget the reds like Lollo Rossa and Red Salad Bowl.  As for flowers for compainion planting sow, Aquilegia, Calendula, Cornflower, Stock, Phacelia, Echinacea, Lupins, Sweet Peas, Hollyhocks, Sweet William, and Dianthus Clove Pink.

Do you have a glasshouse or cloche or frost free area, if so you could be sowing early courgettes, cucumbers and beans!

We often follow Rachel Pomeroy's biodynamic calendar in Organic NZ magazine for inspiration on sowing times.

Our Website is the best place to find the most up to date information on what we have available at all times during the year.

We encourage orders through this medium, but of course we will still accept orders via email from our Catalogue or via the post using our printed order form.
And here is our   Order Form PDF  or Order Form Excel
Email orders from the catalogue to: 

Or post order forms to: Setha's Seeds PO Box 60, Tutira 4181

And a reminder that selections of our seeds are also available from Cornucopia Organics in Hastings and Edible Garden in Ashhurst, the Thames Organic Shop in Thames and Tim's Garden in Nelson. 

Happy gardening,

Roddy, Setha and River Rose



Still time to plant tomatoes!

Chinese Cabbage Chi Hi Li is great for making kimchi!

Sweet Peas are a beautiful spring flower. Last chance to get them underway.

Get all your Salad and Cooking Greens underway.

Last chance to sow heat loving peppers! Try the beautifully sweat Jimmy Nardello.

Do you have you glasshouse/cloche set up sorted? if not check out our Seed Propagation Booklet for some great ideas.

Our Alpine Strawberry is new and available NOW!

Lupins are great to get underway now.

If you want to try a easy to grow, small plant and fruit pumpkin, with good storage abilities, try Delicata!

Chamomile, sow now!

Carrot White Belgium can be succession sown now.

Echinacea is a great perrenial medicine to get established, sown now.