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I like to know if anyone is looking at my blog so please comment, if you can think of something, to say or e-mail me at madsmckeever@eircom.net

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Panic Over

The web site is back up. Phew, Sorry if you were inconvenienced. And Happy Easter, I hope all the bunnies in your garden are chocolate.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sorry! brownenvelopeseeds.com is down for technical reasons. We hope to get it back up again soon, but if you want to order, e-mail madsmckeever@eircom.net. 

Below is a list of seeds available:
Broad Bean, Vicia faba. Crimson Flowered, A beautiful heritage variety, saved from extinction by Rhoda Cutbush who gave 4 seeds to HDRA in 1978It is not too tall and is therefore wind-tolerant. Average seeds per packet 27.

Runner Bean, Phaseolus coccineus
Black Magic Very productive, with red flowers and long beans that should be eaten when young. The beans mature to a glossy black. Average seeds per packet 20.
Painted Lady, Produces masses of  long, fine flavoured beans. The attractive bicolour flowers which make a fine show when trained up supports are a bonus.
Average seeds per packet 20.
French Beans, Phaseolus vulgaris.
Jersey Dwarf, A dwarf bean from the Channel Islands that can be used as fresh or dried beans. The pods are flat and striped and the dried beans speckled purple and white. Average seeds per packet 47.


Black Coco Best kept as a dry bean but can be used earlier as a green bean. This variety matures quickly to a large black bean with good flavour and texture. The most reliable and earliest to mature dry bean that we have found. Average seeds per packet


Turin, Italian Drying Bean This is a delicious white haricot bean grown at high altitudes in Italy. It has proved reliable in West Cork. Average seeds per packet

Peas, Pisum sativum

Magnum Bonum Pisum sativum A tall heritage variety that grows to 2m and crops over a long period. Average seeds per packet

Mr. Bound’s Pea Bean this is a very tall variety needing good support as the pods are produced above 1m high. It produces very large peas that can be eaten fresh or dried for winter use. Average seeds per packet


Poppet Plants have more tendrils than leaves making them tangle together. They require minimal support and carry most of their pods on the tops of the plants. Good sweet flavour. Average seeds per packet


Purple Podded, Purple pods make picking easier. This heritage variety can be used fresh or dried, or as a mangetout. Grows to 1.5 m. Average seeds per packet 90.

 Winterkefe, A beautiful purple-flowered pea that grows to 2m in height. It produces a heavy crop of flat mangetout peas. This pea should over-winter if planted in autumn. Average seeds per packet 100.

Beetroot: Beta vulgaris.
Boltardy, Popular reliable variety producing smooth round roots with a strong colour and fine sweet flavour. Average seeds per packet 200

Spinach Spinacia oleracea
Bloomsdale, A highly productive variety with slightly savoyed leaves. Can be planted in spring for  a summer crop or in late summer for an autumn crop. Sow thinly and thin to 15cm. Average seeds per packet 330
Early Prickly Seed A fast growing spinach for spring and autumn sowing. Average seeds per packet
Chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium Fern-like, aniseed flavoured leaves good in salads and cooking. Average seeds per packet 260.

Coriander/Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum The leaves and seeds are essential to oriental cooking and as well as adding their distinctive flavours have medicinal properties. Average seeds per packet
Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba minor A perennial herb whose young leaves are used in salads and have a cool cucumber flovour, it can also be used in cooked dishes subsitiuting for mint. Average seeds per packet

Lettuce, Lactuca sativa Average seeds per packet 300.
Asparagus lettuce/ Celtuce, A tall narrow leaved lettuce that stands well over winter. It produces thickened stems when it starts to go to seed, which can be blanched and eaten like asparagus.


Bath Cos is an eighteenth-century English variety. The handsome, grayish-blue leaves form a loose Cos-type head. They are generally sown in the late summer, for harvest in the autumn and winter.


Blonde de Paris, A large green Batvian lettuce with frilled leaves and well flavoured hearts.


Blush Butter Oak, A modern variety bred for organic production at Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon. It is a butter-head lettuce with oak-shaped leaves. It has a fine flavour, excellent disease resistance and is pretty cold hardy.


Cerise, A salad bowl type lettuce with loose red leaves. The colour discourages slugs.


Cocarde A red oak leaf lettuce with large, upright, trumpet shaped heads. Leaves are delicate, lobed and dark green with a purplish red tinge. Very adaptable and can be grown in most climates and seasons.
Outredgious An upright cut salad variety, which forms a loose romaine head at maturity. An outrage of red in the salad bed, becoming a standard for salad growers. This variety was bred at Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon.


Rouge D’Hiver A 19th century French variety, translating as 'red winter'. It has striking red and green colouration with an upright, semi-cos habit. It can tolerate cold conditions and the leaves are tender and delicious. Turns red with cool nights, one of the best choices for autumn sowing.


Mixed, At least four different varieties of lettuce providing a mixture of colours, textures and flavours in the garden and on the plate.

Radishes, Raphanus sativus. Average seeds per packet 300.
French Breakfast, A popular variety with cylindrical red roots tipped with white.
Round Black Radish, A large winter radish with roots the size of tennis balls that keep well.

Salad Leaves
Lamb's Lettuce, (Corn Salad) Valerianella locusta.
This invaluable constituent of winter salads grows as a small rosette of glossy dark leaves. It is very hardy and undemanding. Average seeds per packet 450.

Land Cress, Barbarea verna Provides mineral and vitamin rich leaves which taste almost like watercress but are smaller. It is easy to grow, slug resistant and supplies over a long period. Average seeds per packet
Red Orache, Atriplex hortensis.
Mildly flavoured spinach type leaves that can be eaten raw when young or cooked like spinach. Average seeds per packet 180.


Summer Purslane, Portulaca oleracea. The succulent leaves of this plant add crunch to summer salads. Best grown in mid-summer or with protection. Average seeds per packet 750.

Texsel Greens, Brassica carinata. Vigorous plants producing succulent greens suitable for salads and stir-frying. It is very nutritious and rich in Vitamin C. Average seeds per packet 290.


Winter Purslane, Montia perfoliata also known as Miners’ lettuce or Claytonia. This is a great spring salad that can be grown indoors or out. Its succulent triangular leaves and white flowers are both edible. Average seeds per packet 500
 Oriental vegetables
Stir-Fry Greens Brassica rapa A mix of Chinese cabbage Wong Bok, Mibuna and Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) providing both loose and tight heads of healthy, calcium rich greens. These versatile leaves can be stir-fried, boiled and added to soups or used fresh in salads. Average seeds per packet


Giant Red Mustard, Brassica juncea. Hot leaves that add warmth to winter salads. These colourful additions to the winter garden can also be cooked and added to other oriental greens. Average seeds per packet 500.


Osaka Purple Mustard Brassica juncea) Small leaves that add piquancy and colour to salads and stir fries. Shredding the leaves moderates the fiery zing. The leaves are more coloured outdoors than in. Average seeds per packet

Salad mixes
Spring salad mix, A mix of Lettuces,  Oriental greens and Texsel Greens for cut and come again salad.


Summer salad mix, Lettuces,  and Orache, for  cut and come again salad.


Autumn salad mix, Lettuces, Spinach, and Oriental greens, for cut and come again salad.

Winter salad mix, Winter Purslane, Land Cress, Lamb's Lettuce, Mustard Greens for cut and come again salad.
 Carrots, Daucus carota. Average seeds per packet 250.

Autumn King A reliable, heavily cropping variety with tapering roots that store well over winter.


Cauliflower, Winter Roscoff, Brassica oleracea This is a giant Irish variety of cauliflower that under good conditions can produce curds two feet across. The curds appear in spring, over a period of about a month. Planted close together they will produce normal sized heads. Average seeds per packet 325.
Swede, Tipperary turnip, Brassica napus. Another  native swede from ISSA with green skin, yellow flesh and a mild flavour. Average seeds per packet 340.


Milan Purple Top, Brassica rapa, Tasty white turnips with purple colouring on the top of the roots. Average seeds per packet 200
Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Brassica oleracea. This is a great spring vegetable that bridges the hungry gap when there is little else in the garden. Average seeds per packet 265.


Asparagus Kale, Brassica oleracea. A heritage kale variety that produces flat kale leaves throughout the winter. In spring the young shoots can be blanched and eaten like asparagus. A late sowing can produce a useful crop of small leaves for stir-frying. Average seeds per packet 280.


Cavalo Nero KaleBrassica oleracea Also known as Black ,Dinosaur and Lacinato kale. The dark blue-green strap-like leaves are deeply savoyed. Average seeds per packet 280.


Red Russian Kale, Brassica oleracea. Frilly purple leaves that look as good as they taste. Stands all winter. Very similar to Ragged Jack but flowers a little later. Average seeds per packet 280.

Courgettes Pumpkins and Squashes Average seeds per packet 15
 Cocozelle, Cururbita pepo A long green bush variety of courgette. The fruits are dark green striped with lighter shades. Can be grown on as a marrow.


Lady Godiva Cururbita pepo Each 4-6lb pumpkin yields up to a half pound of shell-less seeds. They have a fine almond flavour, are rich in minerals and can be eaten raw or roasted. Seeds can be harvested at Halloween and the flesh used for lanterns.
Ushiki Kuri, Cururbita maxima. Bright orange inside and out this is a very productive winter squash. It is the most reliable winter squash outdoors.
Waltham Butternut, Cururbita moschata. This winter squash produces ochre coloured fruit swollen at one end.  The flesh is apricot coloured and has a fine and not too sweet flavour. Keeps well. Needs a good summer to do well outdoors.
Cucumber, Cucumis sativus Average seeds per packet 15
Dekah, A hardy variety from the Ukraine. It can be grown indoors or out and produces a tasty cucumber that can be used fresh or pickled
Marketmore,  The standard outdoor cucumber for these climes. A reliable and prolific cropper of dark green cylindrical fruit.
Tamra, A small, thin skinned ‘English type’ cucumber with crisp delicious flesh. It has no bitterness and does not need its male flowers removed.  Best under cover as more tender than others.
Melon, Cucumus melo. Average seeds per packet 15
 Minnesota Midget A very early maturing cantaloupe type melon. The fruits are small but delicious and can be grown in containers.
Most Northern Melon Another very early and tasty variety.
Tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum. Average seeds per packet 25
Auld Sod, Roughly the size and shape of an egg. This early variety is believed to be an old Irish variety.

Aurora, This is a variety from Siberia. It fruits very early, and germinates well at low temperatures. The fruits are red and slightly flattened. More of a paste type with thicker flesh, this one is particularly good for cooking down into a rich sauce.

Black Cherry A round cherry with classic black tomato flavour, sweet yet rich and complex. Crops over a long period
Black Crimea, A large red-brown/red tomato that produces a heavy crop early in the season. It has a rich sweet flavour.
Black Russian, Large red/brown tomatoes with an intense sweet flavour. Similar to Black Crimea, but with hollow navels.

Brandywine, A large fruited (most fruit in the one pound range), potato leaf, pink heirloom tomato that has taken on legendary status due to its superb flavour.

Broad Ripple Yellow Currant Tomato is a small yellow cherry tomato that produces hundreds of ½" fruits, a good container variety.

Brown Berry, Prolific cherry tomatoes produced over a long season. Rich sweet flavour.

Gardeners Delight, A sweet red cherry tomato. It is a particular favourite with children.

Harbinger, This is a traditional variety. Highly productive over a long period, it produces medium-sized fruit, thin-skinned and of very good flavour. Does well under glass but suitable for outdoor use particularly as the fruit ripens reliably, off the plant.

Hillbilly A huge tomato with brilliant red and yellow marbling. Beautiful when sliced. producing 1-2 lb. huge, heavily-ribbed with sweet, fruity flavours. Low acid.
Moneymaker, A tasty and prolific early variety.

Polen, An Eastern European heritage variety, with numerous small yellow fruits per truss. Suitable for  containers.

Persimmon, An heirloom variety producing large, sweet, orange fruit.

Purple Prince, A dark plum-shaped tomato with a sweet flavour. It makes a rich dark tomato paste.

Red Centiflor, Red cherry tomatoes on a sprawling blight resistant plant. This variety was bred by the Kapulars in Oregon by crossing various varieties including a wild tomato species, Lycopersicon hurnboldtii. Continued ripening out doors until the end of October.

Red Cherry, What it says on the tin. Prolific producer of sweet tasty fruit.

Rose de Berne Large Pink tomatoes with excellent flavour.

San Marzano Oblong paste tomato with very high dry matter.

St. Pierre Early, high flavour salad tomato.

Stupice,  The tastiest of very early ripening tomatoes. This is an old Czech variety with flattened, medium sized fruits. It is productive and reliable.

 Tangella Prolific yellow medium sized tomato. Sweet taste and low acid content. Our most productive yellow tomato.

 Tangidel This cordon variety is a descendant of 'Gardener's Delight. It has tangerine-coloured cherry tomatoes and a superb flavour. The fruit ripens over a long season.

 Tommy Toe, This Australian Heirloom has slightly elongated 1” tomatoes. They are bright red and prolific with excellent flavor and plenty of juice. It produces over an extended season.

Tumbler, Small plants with masses of cherry red tomatoes suitable for outdoor containers. The first variety to ripen out doors.

 Yellow centiflor, A yellow cherry on a robust sprawling plant. This was bred by the Kapulars in Oregon by crossing various varieties including a wild tomato species, Lycopersicon hurnboldtii. Good blight resistance. Continued ripening out doors until the end of October.

Yellow Submarine Yellow pear-shaped fruits with excellent texture, the size of a large cherry but with a big tomatoey taste.

 Zapotec Pleated Lycopersicon esculentum A large almost seedless variety with deeply folded flesh, it produces a late but heavy crop.

Cape Gooseberry, Physalis edulus. This tomato related plant produces cherry sized orange fruit in a 'chinese lantern'. Grow like a tomato. A sweet fruit, eat raw or in jams etc.  Average 20 seeds per packet.

Violet Tomatillo Physalis philadelphica Tomatillos have a tangy flavour and are widely used in authentic Mexican cookery, including salsas. Can be eaten raw and are lovely grilled. Sow under glass and transplant when danger of frost has passed. Space 70-80cm apart. Support is essential as plants can grow up to 1.5m. Harvest in August/September when the fruit fill the husks. They will become purple when left in the sun with the husks removed. Average 20 seeds per packet.

Corn, Zea mays.
Painted Mountain, One of the most widely adapted and genetically diverse corns available today. Painted Mountain contains every shade of color known to corn. The 4-5 foot stalks bear up to 2 narrow, 7 inch long cobs. Selected from Native American corn by Dave Christiansen. This corn is for grinding into meal but can be eaten fresh. Average 50 seeds per packet.
TemucoChenopodium quinoa A small grain, known by the people of the Andes as, ‘the mother of all grains’. It was second only to the potato in importance as a crop in pre-columbian S. America. Containing a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, it is an unusually complete protein source and is easily grown in Ireland. The grain is yellow when harvested and must be washed to remove the saponins, which protect it from birds, before cooking. 
Peppers/Chilli, Capiscum anuum. Average 20 seeds per packet.
Firecracker, A mighty hot chilli, Fruit vary in shape and ripen from yellow or green through purple to red. Very early and reliable. Handle with care!
 Hungaran Hot Wax Abundant and early yields of smooth tapering peppers. This mild chilli is ideal for pickling, roasting and frying. It starts out light yellow and matures to red.
 Sunnybrook, A sweet and early pepper ripening to red. The flesh is thick and the plants grow to about 60 cm.

 Marconi Rossa, Long thin fruits with a mild sweet flavour for use either green or red. Plants 90cm tall may fall over with the weight of the fruit.

Aubergine, Solanum melongena Black Beauty, A popular old variety that produces large glossy fruit. Average 20 seeds.
Gift Boxes

Packed in a robust cardboard storage box

Very Easy Veg. Pack

Contains 4 packets of seeds, radish, courgette, stir-fry greens and lettuce, 4 wooden plant labels, a pencil, growing instructions, and a Brown Envelope Seeds Catalogue. €15

Polytunnel Pack

Contains 4 packets of seeds, Tomato, cucumber, pepper and melon, 4 wooden plant labels, a pencil, growing instructions, and a Brown Envelope Seeds Catalogue. €15

Childrens Pack

Contains 4 packets of seeds, radish, sunflowers, carrots and Black Magic beans, 4 Wooden Plant labels, a pencil, growing instructions, and a Brown Envelope Seeds Catalogue. €15

Armageddon Pack

Contains 10 packets of seeds, pea, 2 beans, carrot, leek, pumpkin,

corn, kale, swede, and beetroot, 4 wooden plant labels, a pencil, growing instructions, and a Brown Envelope Seeds Catalogue.

Vouchers can be bought for their face value and posted to your chosen destination.

To order you can simply send an email telling us what you want. We will tell you how much it costs and you can pay with PayPal.

If you don't want to pay with PayPal you can send a cheque or postal order.  Please make cheques payable to Brown Envelope Seeds, or transfer funds to account no. 27102260 sort code 93 63 75.

Post to: Brown Envelope Seeds, Ardagh, Church Cross, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Prices: Peas and beans €3.00, all other seed packets €2.50. Gift packs are €15 except the Armageddon Pack which is €30

There is a discount of 10% on orders over €50 

For orders of  €250 or more there is 25% discount. 

Post and packaging is €2.50 per order

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Vandana Shiva at Organicology

"Truely sustainable agriculture is not just diversity of crops but an integration with livestock and an integration with perennials and trees." 

"Seed is a common resource. We have received it from our ancestors. We have to protect it for future generations of all species, because seed doesn't just belong to humans, it belongs to all the species that are nourished by any species of plant. We will therefore not obey a law that makes it illegal to perform our highest ecologogical duty on earth, which is to save seeds for the future."

" We are going to start a big campaign to not just keep seeds in the open domain but especially seeds required for climate adaption as a common resource for our common defence in these vulnerable times. We will of course have to make very rapid and radical shifts very fast from breeding for reponding to chemicals to breeding for resilience, adaption, from breeding for a single yield trait to breeding for nutrition, taste and quality."

"Saving seed for me is defending life, and saving seeds in these vulnerable times is making sure we can imagine with hope, that life will continue, in all its vibrance, in all its diversity, in all its beauty." 

See the whole speech here: Bija Heroine