Eden and Franchi sow perfect seed partnership

Company: Seeds of Italy Ltd

The Eden Project and Franchi Seeds teamed up to produce a fabulous new seed range in 2015 and it has been a very popular range in garden centres, gift shops and garden stores and not just in the South West, such is the place that the Eden Project has in peoples hearts!

So we are pleased to announce that from Winter 2022 for the 2023 season, the range is not only being refreshed, but it is also being enlarged to 49 varieties on a 54 peg stand with info-boards and a new header. 

Originally inspired by plants in the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome, the range has developed into a wider choice including some very popular varieties people have kept asking us for like Butterbeans and Watercress for example, but also some endangered varieties from the Slow Food ‘Ark of Taste’, regional, heritage and ethical examples with biodiversity, lost flavours to be rediscovered…

In the heart of the Biome, Eden’s top-rated Mediterranean Terrace restaurant is surrounded by herbs and vegetables grown from Franchi Seeds.

This new regional range has been carefully developed with the Eden Project and comprises the best sellers and gardeners’ favourites complemented by some new unique and hard to find traditional varieties.

Eden’s commercial manager Tracey Smith said: “The partnership between Eden and Franchi is such a natural fit and our display in the Mediterranean Biome is a perfect illustration of what a wonderful range of seeds this is. We are very excited to be adding new varieties to this fabulous range.

The range contains seeds that can be sown in summer and autumn as well as spring to ensure sales year round.  The varieties will appeal to new Lockdown and experienced gardeners alike and will also make a perfect gift.

The Eden Project is an educational charity and social enterprise that helps to connect us with each other and the living world. 

In this ‘Living Theatre of Plants and People’, Eden creates gardens, exhibitions, events, experiences and projects that explore how people can work together and with nature towards a better future.

Franchi Seeds are the oldest family-run seed brand in the world with seven generations of experience over 231 years. They are also the only garden centre packet seed company selling in the UK that produce more than 15 per cent of their own seeds in the U.K.

Here are five top varieties from the new range:

Butter Bean ‘Fagiolo di Spagna Bianco’-Spagna Bianco

Spagna Bianco translates roughly as white Spanish bean, is much prized in Mediterranean countries for its delicious flavour and texture, particularly in soups and stews. It’s only once the pods reach about 25cm that the large white beans develop, 5 to 6 per pod; up to about 10cm the pods can be eaten as green snap beans.

Perennial, grown as an annual: Sow seeds 2.5cm deep, 15–25cm apart in well-drained soil after the last frost and when the air temperature has reached 16°C. Water well. Plants grow to 180–200cm high, so grow on up strings, homemade trellis or tripods. Harvest beans regularly to avoid plants maturing and no longer producing new pods.

Sow: April–Jul                                                Harvest: July–Sept

'Common Watercress' – Nasturtium officinale

Watercress, with its peppery tasting leaves and stems, is one of the first leaf vegetables known to have been consumed by humans. Native to Europe and Asia, watercress is a rich source of nutrients from vitamins A and C to iron, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. Its fresh leaves will complement any salad or sandwich. This fast-growing perennial is most at home in water, ideal if you have a running stream in your garden; alternatively, it will grow in a pot or a damp, semi-shady environment.

Perennial: Scatter seeds sparingly in well prepared, fertile soil in a partly sunny position, a few weeks prior to the last anticipated frost-free date. Water regularly to create moist conditions. Harvest the fresh leaves before flowering with care; this plant is very delicate. Weed regularly.

Sow: Mar–April (indoors), May to July (outdoors)         Harvest: From three weeks after sowing

Round carrot ‘Paris Market’ – Daucus carota

The ‘Paris Market’ carrot is small and round with roots the size of radishes. It is characterised by its tender, crunchy flesh and has a sweet honey flavour. While typically low-yielding, this carrot is particularly fast-growing, stores well and can be sown all year round, especially in spring and at the end of summer. Steam or eat raw in a salad. 

Biennial, grown as an annual: Sow in a sunny spot in relatively moist soil. Sow 3 seeds, 2.5cm deep, keeping the soil moist until germination. Once germinated, thin to a spacing of 8–10cm and keep free of weeds. Sow regularly for a consistent crop.

Sow: Mar–Jul                                      Harvest: Jun–Oct

Round courgette ‘Tondi di Piacenza’ – Costata Romanesco

This round variety from the Province of Parma produces plentiful large dark-green fruits which are firm, glossy and flavoursome. Their spherical shape makes them ideal for stuffing with meat or aubergines and tomatoes to create a popular Italian dish. Baked whole, the flesh becomes soft and creamy while still contained by the firm skin.

Annual: Sow indoors (15-20oC) in seed compost, two seeds per pot, on their side to prevent rotting. Water regularly. After risk of frost has past, plant out 60cm apart into well-drained, fertile soil.  Sow outdoors 1.5cm deep, 60cm apart into pre-watered, finely prepared soil. Early seedlings benefit from protection. Cut as courgettes at 15cm or leave to mature as marrows.

Sow: Mar–May (indoors), Apr–May (outdoors)                           Harvest: Jul–Oct

See the range at GLEE 2022 on the Seeds of Italy stand Halls 8-20 Stand 7A71 and we will also be at the Hampton Court Flower show.

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