This is a prolific and rampant climber reaching 3-4m so will need supporting with trellis or a frame. The small, cucumber-like fruits have a fresh flavour, a cross between a minty cucumber and a green pepper. Eat raw or in stir fries when young; when mature they have tougher skins so stuff with meat, fish or cheese, and then bake or make an achocha curry. Can also be used pickled or as a base for chutney. The flowers are also attractive to pollinating insects. For more information, contact us for a copy of the ‘Achocha Variety Profile’ from Seed News 25.
Our donor was given this variety by a friend, whose family had grown it for several generations and achieved much success with it on the show bench. Vigorous, easy to grow and long-rooted, it produces sweet, dark pink flesh that is tender even when allowed to grow extra-large. The beets also store well. The attractive red and green foliage can be cooked and eaten like chard.
This early, round beet was supplied by Beck’s High Grade Seed Company, Indiana, USA between 1822 and 1920, but mentioned earlier in Sauer’s Herbal (1774), who suggested cooking the beets in red wine and honey. Blood turnip was a term used commonly for varieties bred specifically for garden use. Described as such in 1881 by DM Ferry & Co, seed merchants, Detroit, USA; “the roots are uniform good size, smooth, and handsome, and plentifully produced. The flesh is quite rich in colour, and very tender and sweet.”
No letters about the spelling, please (see also Carrot ‘Altringham’!). A sturdy, compact bean (60-75cm) ideal for exposed areas where it will not require staking. Matures early, therefore avoids the worst of the blackfly, and produces large, well-filled pods in abundance. Guardian Anne St John notes that “it is always reliable, whether planted at the end of the winter or as late as May.”
Syn. Aquadulce Claudia. This variety is now included, under its synonym, in the UK National List, so this will be the first, and last, time we offer it in the HSL Catalogue. Suitable for autumn sowing, the plants will grow to more than 1.2m, so it will require some staking.
Originally thought to have been purchased from Suttons Seeds, our donor has grown this bean since the mid-1950s. The 1956 Sutton & Sons Catalogue states that this variety is “very prolific and early maturing, recommended for autumn sowing”. A vigorous variety with large pods containing 5-6 beans. Young beans have a delicious creamy texture, even when raw.
An ex-commercial variety developed by Arthur White from the small hamlet of Arkport, New York State in 1941. It is thought to have been named after Catskill Park, a forested and mountainous region in New York State which fringes Arkport. Still very popular in the USA, this robust heritage variety grows to around 50-75cm in height and produces richly flavoured sprouts around 5cm in diameter. Great for eating fresh or for freezing.
A very large heirloom variety developed by an unknown Irish allotment holder, who saved seeds from his largest specimen and shared them with his allotment neighbours. Spring sown for late summer/autumn use, it is a vigorous grower, producing large firm heads that stand well until late autumn/early winter. Delicious raw, very crunchy with a spicy flavour. Retains both its texture and flavour when cooked. One HSL member commented, “The best autumn cabbage I have grown in 60 years of cultivating.”
Our donor acquired this variety from organic crofters in Burland, near Scalloway, Shetland. Reputedly grown on Shetland since the 16th Century, it was a crucial source of winter food for livestock and spring greens for the crofters. It is a very hardy, wind resistant brassica, forming loose heads and developing some purple colouration as the temperatures fall.