Currently (as of Autumn 2022) 86% of the seeds in our shop have been grown in our nursery, and the rest have been bought in from trusted organic suppliers. We would love to grow all our seeds ourselves, but with an increasingly unpredictable climate affecting seed yields we recognise the benefit of building small networks of back-up suppliers. There are also advantages of working with other growers to isolate different species that are at risk of cross-pollinating when grown in proximity.
Yes, all of our seeds are organic in the sense that they are grown using organic practices on certified organic land. However, we cannot yet label all of our seeds as organic as some are still ‘in conversion’; in other words, they have not yet completed the 2-3 year mandatory period required by a certification body before a plot of land or certain crops can be certified organic (see next question for more details on this). All of our seeds will be certified organic by Autumn 2023.
As mentioned above, some of the seeds grown in our nursery are still ‘in conversion’ and cannot be labelled as organic. The land itself was certified organic by the Soil Association on 1st February 2022, which means that the produce from any seed sown after this date can be labelled as organic. However, any perennial plants that were already in the ground before this date must wait an additional year to be certified organic, which means that we have to wait until the seed harvest of late 2023 for the seeds of many our herbs to be labelled organic.
In the meantime, we’ve had to remove the word organic from some of our seed packs so that we can sell you fresh seed that we have grown ourselves rather than certified organic seed that we had bought in from other growers last year. Yes, all a bit complicated. All you really need to know is that we never use any chemicals on any of our herbs! And by Autumn 2023 everything will be labelled organic.
The simple answer to this question is that the ‘sow by’ date depends largely on how you store the seeds. Most seeds – with the exception of a few short-lived seeds such as angelica and sweet cicely – can be stored for several years if they are kept in an air-tight container in a cool, dry, dark place. But if they are kept on a shelf in a damp garden shed in their original paper packet, they will soon lose their viability. To get the best results it is hard to beat a good quality rubber-sealed tupperware container hidden at the back of a fridge.
No, I’m afraid we don’t. We don’t yet have systems in place for fulfilling the legal requirements for shipping abroad so are only serving UK customers for now.
Generally speaking, we aim to pack orders within 24 hours of receiving them. We have a daily Royal Mail collection at 4:30 from Monday to Friday, and unless we are very busy we can normally send your order out on the same day so long as you place your order before 4pm. If you order at the weekend it will be sent out on Monday afternoon.
We offer free shipping for orders with a value of more than £25. Below that, you can choose between Royal Mail first class (£1.95) and 24 hour tracked (£3.50).
In short, yes. It appears that Royal Mail are really struggling to keep up with the growing backlog. Until the strikes are resolved we strongly recommend using the 24 hour tracked option on our shipping page. It may take more than 24 hours but it will be prioritised over first class mail, and you can keep an eye on where it has reached.
Our website is set up to seamlessly integrate with Royal Mail and as yet we haven’t figured out how to integrate the website with any other couriers. So – at the time of writing in December 2022 – we are having to ride the not-so-seamless turbulent waves of the Royal Mail strikes. We apologise for any delays this is causing anyone.