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.
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!
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.”
Named after the locality in which it is thought to have originated, Silsden, near 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. Produces small heads with distinctive white-veined, blue-green leaves.
This typical Jamaican variety produces waist-high plants with large pale green leaves and long, drooping, lime green, tassel-like flowers. Grown by many Jamaican allotment holders for a wide range of culinary uses: stir fried with coconut milk and tomatoes, in soups and steamed with fish.
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.
Egyptian cave paintings dating back to around 2000BC show what is thought to be purple carrots; the orange varieties we are familiar with today were not developed until the 16th century. Donated by the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Virginia, USA, this purple carrot produces 20-25cm roots that, when sliced, reveal a bright yellow core. They have a more pronounced 'carroty' flavour than orange varieties, and also show some resistance to carrot root fly.
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”.