Focus on: Piccolo
Garden seeds for the horticulturally, culinarily and aesthetically conscious. We shine the spotlight on this season’s perfect little present.
Piccolo was born near Venice in 2012 (for those of you who have forgotten your GCSE Italian piccolo means small) with the intention of offering select seeds for urban gardens. The range includes vegetables, fruits, edible flowers and herbs specially designed for pot growing: compact, dwarf varieties, suitable for small garden spaces.
Piccolo’s 30 seed varieties (we’re going to be selling a our favourite 12) have been selected
after careful research and experimentation. The varieties, rediscovered in old seed catalogues
have been tested for growth in pots; feature compact and dwarf sizes; and are suitable for small
growing spaces, such as a balcony. They range from classic Genovese basil to heirloom
Paris Market carrots: from dwarf Tiny Tim tomatoes to the authentic Italian Gigante d’Italia parsley.
We are nothing if not shallow. Whilst the seeds may be lovely, we are particularly enamoured of the packaging. Designed by London based studio Here Design (FYI they’ve also done some gorgeous work for The Fife Arms), these are pocket sized cardboard packages featuring dot based images (dots suggesting seeds) of the plants on beautiful coloured board, made from sustainable and completely recyclable materials. Each packet contains useful tips for cultivation as well as the history and interesting facts about the plant, its medicinal properties and suggestions for original recipes and cocktails.
Tiny Tim Tomato - A proper dwarf variety, perfect for a container, that will produce masses of tiny cherry tomatoes.
Habanero Chocolate Hot Pepper - A scotch bonnet type chilli, originating from Jamaica. Similar in appearance to other Habanero chillies but chocolate brown in colour. The chillies are extremely hot (up to 600,000 Scoville heat units and that is HOT).
Slim Jim Aubergine - a dwarf aubergine variety from Italy (first introduced by seed company Fratelli Ingegnoli). Fun fact: the literal translation of Melanzana (aubergine in Italian) is ‘insane apple’.
Genovese Basil - perhaps the most famous sweet basil variety in the world. Known for its use in pesto.
Paris Market Carrot - also known as Tonda di Parigi or Marché de Paris, is a round heirloom variety from the 19th century. Very popular with kids because they’re sweet and shaped like a ping pong.
Wildfire-Wasabi Wild Rocket - a perennial variety of Wild Rocket, with deep green, serrated foliage and a distinctive wasabi taste.
Moroccan Spearmint - a pretty, compact variety of mint that looks good in your garden and can be used to flavour food, make tea or simply scent your balcony.
Gigante d’Italia Parsley - Also known as Sellerina, because its long stalks can also be eaten like celery, parsley is a particularly high yielding variety that is well suited to autumn cultivation due to its resistance to the cold.
Common Peppermint - probably the most important commercial aromatic herb in the world, believed to have been first cultivated in ancient Egypt, although its official cultivation record begins in England in 1750.
Roman Chamomile - known as a lucky flower and, if you're a gambler, washing your hands in chamomile tea will ensure good luck at the gaming tables.
Starfire Mix Marigold - hardy and easy to grow, this is a leading companion plant that repels pests. Their flowers and leaves have a superb citrusy flavour.
Alpine Strawberry Baron Von Solemacher - No-one is quite sure who the name-sake Baron was, but we do know that this dainty alpine variety was first offered by F.C. Heinemann, a German seed merchant, in 1935.
Now all you need to do is choose your seeds, roll up your sleeves and get sowing.
Or else choose your seeds, and give them as a gift to a green-fingered friend (just be sure to be around for the tasting!).