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.”
Our donor acquired these seeds from a guest speaker at his local gardening club. The speaker, Mr Lockwood, was in his 80s and has given up his allotment after years of saving his own seed. Sow in March under glass for an August/September harvest. Bradford Bomb is a compact white cabbage and great for showing. As Mr Lockwood was a judge at local horticultural shows we should probably take his word for it!
Named after the locality in which it is thought to have originated, Silsden, nr Keighley, Yorkshire. Said to have been bred by Jonnie Watson, an old gardener from the town; our donor acquired it in 1980 from “a chap” who had grown it for 12 years. Only one of his seeds germinated, but since then seeds of the variety have been saved and shared around the whole district! Apparently all of the horticultural show growers wanted it; our donor has won first prize with his specimens. Sow this summer cabbage in March and the small heads with distinctive white-veined, blue-green leaves will begin to develop in July.
Donated to HSL by Horticultural Research Institute, Wellesbourne, now Warwick HRI. Webbs' 1952 catalogue described it as follows, “Heads of this excellent variety are globular, very solid, of good size and finest quality. It is exceedingly early, compact in habit of growth and perfectly distinct.” We hope that you agree! We would suggest sowing this one in spring for an autumn harvest.
Donated by the WEN, Tower Hamlets, London, although the seeds originally came from Bangladesh. The plants have purple stems and taste like chard when eaten raw. The leaves may be eaten at any stage and can be cooked like a chard or spinach. A welcome addition to the greens selection.
Named after our donor who, in the 1970s, developed a pure line of purple carrots from four he found amongst a bag given to him for his rabbits by an allotment neighbour. He passed on some of his seeds to Horticulture Research International, now part of Warwick University, for their long-term preservation. With John's consent, some were released to us. John describes them as “crisp and flavoursome”.
Also known as ‘turnip-rooted celery’, which describes the shape and flavour of this vegetable perfectly. Suttons say, “A quick growing, smooth, round-rooted type with a beautiful white flesh which does not discolour after boiling”. Seed Guardian Sandra Slack adds, “Sweet and nutty, makes a lovely soup.” Also invaluable diced or grated raw as a tasty addition in winter salads.
Our donor passed this cress to us as it had been grown in his family for at least three generations. He says, “It germinates easily and produces a crop in only a few weeks.” A broad, serrated-leaved garden cress with a peppery flavour and tender texture. The flavour of the leaves gets stronger the higher up the plant you go. Can be grown in a pot all year round.
This white-flowered pea bean will crop reliably and prolifically in the British climate. Seed Guardian Jane Few says, “The beans are tasty at whatever stage they are picked”. The stringless pods provide fresh, tender and delicious haricots when picked young; also perfect for shelling. As a dried bean they resemble pretty little bicoloured bird's eggs, ideal for winter storage and for use in soups and stews.