First results from the Daylesford field labs

Daylesford Organic Farm - 30 May 2013

Sprouts, leeks and tomatoes were all sown in in Carbon Gold GroChar Compost. Tomatoes were then tranplanted into home made blocks (mix Carbon Gold MP (coir/biochar), home made compost, West Riding blocking mix and perlite) before being planted out. Parsnips have been sown direct but are not yet showing.


Daylesford are growing more than 20 varieties of heritage and open pollinated tomatoes as well as some more modern hybrids. There have been a number of sowings with different varieties featured in each, these will be available in the final report but this post will concentrate on the trial varieties.

All varieties in the first two plantings looked good with Galina, Stipice and Chocolate Cherry all scoring 4 out of 5 for establishment and vigour. This compared well with other varieties (which average 3 or 4 with the following scoring 5 - Gardeners Delight, Brandywine, Beans Yellow Pear, Aisla Craig). The final sowing were done a bit later and as you can see from the photo are now needing to be transplanted, but germination was 100% and they should be fine once they get out.

Brussels sprouts

Germination varied from 63% (Roodnerf) to 99% (Seven Hills). All plants still need a bit of growth before planting out, though because they were sown in very small modules they may get potted on first.


Germination appears to have been good for all varieties although because one packet was sown per tray but had different quantities of seed in each it is not easy to fully compare.

Daylesford has been farming organically for over 30 years, with a simple passion for real food. When a product isn't made on the farm, it is sourced from artisan suppliers who share their commitment to quality and sustainability. The farm is fully transparent in that people can visit to see for themselves how animals are kept, where vegetables are grown and how food is produced. Daylesford want to grow, farm, produce and sell food according to their sustainable principles, and in harmony with the environment.

The seed variety field lab is looking into Open Pollinated (OP) seed varieties available to non-organic growers and trialling them in organic systems with a view to either creating a demand for them organically or saving them on farm for use in subsequent years. The field lab is part of the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme which is aiming to improve productivity, quality and environmental performance in organic and low-input agriculture.

Leek Blue Solasse.jpgLeek Long de Meziere.jpgLeek Northern Lights.jpgLeek Toledo 1.jpgLeek Winter Giant.jpgSprouts all vars (2).jpgSprouts all vars.jpgSpouts Evesham Special.jpgSprouts Darkmar.jpgSprouts Red Bull.jpgSprouts Roodnerf.jpgSprouts Seven Hills.jpgTomato Chocolate Cherry (3).jpgTomato Galina (4).jpgTomato Stipice (4).jpgTomato Tangerine Cherry.jpgTomatoes Bloody Butcher British Breakfast Galina Rosella .jpgTomatoes Bloody Butcher British Breakfast Galina Rosella 3.jpg

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Peter Brinch
17 July 2013 11:32

Hi,I am still interested to know something on your sowing and planting dates of your tomatoes. One thing we didn't include in the crop record sheet was date of first harvesting of each variety. This should give an idea of earliness and time frame from sowing to first harvest. Then also date on last harvest when varieties have finished to give info on duration of season.I hope you will be ok to add this info.Many thanks best regards Peter

Peter Brinch
22 June 2013 10:47

Hi, Me again, You have given good info on the germination already so no worries about that. The other information including names of varieties you are trialling would be good.Thanks again Peter

Peter Brinch
22 June 2013 10:42

Hi, sorry don't have your name.Thank you for sharing your updates. Are you happy to share a bit more information on your trial crops?like sowing dates, number of varieties and size of trial and or number of plants. Also germination rate.Parsnips: Tomatoes; Br Sprouts; LeeksThat would be really useful and interesting to know.Many thanks Peter

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Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation Open Pollinated Seeds

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