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”.
Originally from Finland, this traditional early 'short horn' type carrot has very wide, stumpy, deep red-orange roots. Shows some resistance to both drought and carrot root fly. Guardian Anne St. John notes that they have a mild flavour and are good boiled, steamed or grated in salads. They freeze (un-blanched) and store well.
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.
An Estonian ridge type cucumber with short, plump, prickly fruits borne on compact bushes. It tolerates poor treatment and cool temperatures, though requires a nitrogen-rich compost to perform well. The juicy flesh has excellent flavour, and is perfect for pickling, but remove the spiky skin first!
Originating from Bangladesh, this pleasantly mild-flavoured, mid-sized cucumber has a triangular cross-section when cut. Remove the male flowers to avoid bitterness in the fruits, which will begin to appear in July from an April sowing. For eating pick fruits when over 15cm long: they grow squat and stout rather than conventionally long and thin. Be sure to let the fruit fully ripen (to yellow or brown) or you won’t tell the difference between this and a normal cucumber, but grown under cover it’s easy, fruitful and relatively trouble free.