Mr VegHead says...

Vegetable musings from Sea Spring Seeds

Vegetable variety trials for 2012

Harvesting letuces in the 2011 lettuce trial

Harvesting lettuce varieties for the 2011 mid-summer trial

March is almost here, and I am just finishing the plans for the 2012 trials. There are still some gaps in our catalogue, and to offer a comprehensive range of vegetables, we are going to make a big push this growing season and grow out a ginormous number of new varieties. I am not quite sure at this point exactly how many will be included – that will depend on the space-time factor that always seems to check my ambitions. Suffice it to say that there will be at least a hundred, but not, I think, two hundred, varieties.

Laying out the labels for a radish trial

Setting up a radish variety trial



Almost invariably, we evaluate each variety for growth habit, earliness, yield and eating quality. For some vegetables, we include other factors, such as disease resistance and standability, in our evaluation protocol. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have found enough dependable and productive vegetables to significantly expand the offerings in the Sea Spring Seeds catalogue.

Following is a list of the vegetables that will be trialled. For some, such as swedes and aubergines, I will be testing only three or four new varieties, while for others, such as tomatoes, there will be significantly more. Celeriac, kohl rabi, spring greens and turnips are not in our seed catalogue yet, and so are being trialled for the first time this year. As for the others, I simply want to extend the range on offer. Wish me luck.

Vegetables in the 2012 Sea Spring Seeds vegetable trials

  • Aubergines
  • Indoor and outdoor tomatoes
  • Chillies and sweet peppers
  • Indoor and outdoor cucumbers: Resistance to powdery mildew
  • Spring greens: Adaptation to summer growing; suitability for stir frying; standability
  • Kale and forage rape
  • Onions: Suitability for dual-purpose use – salad and bulbs
  • Oriental leaves: Standability
  • Lettuces: Standabilty
  • Small-rooted and large-rooted radishes: Bolt resistance, especially of large-rooted radishes
  • Carrots: Colour development
  • Swedes: Standability
  • Turnips


Pots of sweet peppers in the 2011 pepper varieties trial

Polytunnel full of sweet peppers and chillies in the 2011 variety trials