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.”
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.
No need to contact us about the spelling, please, it was always (if erroneously) named this way! This early 19th century variety is listed in Carters Catalogue for 1842 and described by D Guiheneuf in The Garden (May 1st 1876) as “An English variety, readily distinguished from any other. It is said to have originated in Altrincham, a village in the vicinity of Chester.” It produces cylindrical roots, 20-50cm long, that taper towards their end. The orange flesh is crunchy and mild-flavoured.
Also known as Mr Perkins' Leamington and Leamington Broccoli, this variety was first sold, and possibly raised, by a Mr F Perkins of Regent Street, Leamington Spa. It won a First Class Certificate from the RHS in 1873. This hardy variety can be sown April/May to overwinter and the large, tasty, heads harvested the following spring.