This bean was found by a cleaner at Heathrow Airport on a plane that had flown in from Taiwan in the 1970s. It was passed to our donor in 1981 and he shared it with fellow growers in the Egham area. The plants are bushy at the base with large, lush leaves. They may also produce more than one leader. The lilac flowers are followed by purple flecked, almost stringless pods, which freeze well.
Our donor originally acquired these black seeded beans in the 1990s from Trinity, Jersey, where the selection had been grown for many years by a local farmer. Seed Guardian Miss Gotts says, “Have found these to be vigorous, sturdy, chunky plants.” Produces semi-dwarf plants (up to 60cm) followed by lilac flowers and yellow, waxy, stringless pods.
This variety produces massive plants with large pods and beans, huge foliage and lilac flowers. Their mild, sweet flavour makes them good for eating fresh when young, though they will become stringy if left to mature. The mottled maroon seeds make tasty dried beans.
Journalist, professional gardener and politician Xenia Field died, aged 103, in 1998; this bean is without doubt a tribute to a most fascinating woman. Once available from Unwins, who said it was high yielding, disease resistant and performed well in British conditions. White flowers are followed by straight, green pods that are best picked when young and stringless. Also freezes well.
This bean produces pale cream and white flowers followed by small, flat, green pods that become blotched red when mature. Eat fresh when young when the pods are really tasty, or allow to dry and use the tan mottled seeds in soups and stews. Prefers a later sowing, is frost tolerant, and matures quickly.
Although originally from India this has been grown by our donor on the St Mary’s Allotments in Leamington Spa – a multicultural hotch-potch of vegetable growing. It is the most productive of the Indian mustards trialled in our Sowing New Seeds project, producing large, mild-flavoured leaves.
(Brassica oleracea) Our donor originally acquired seed of this variety in about 1957. Thought to have originated in Tiverton, Devon, it was then grown at Dipwell Farm, Ashburton. She says, “The plants are immensely strong and resilient. The leaves are a soft green with mauve veins and stalks. The shoots are delicious raw or cooked and it freezes well.”
(Brassica oleracea) An American heirloom from the southern state of Georgia that dates back to before 1880 and shows good resistance to both heat and cold. A prolific producer of huge, dark green leaves with white veins, still exactly as described in the 1944 Burpee's Seed Catalogue. Tasty and full of flavour, Seed Guardian Adam Alexander enjoys them Southern style, steamed and eaten with a dash of vinegar.
(Brassica oleracea) Our donor's family had grown this kale for many years. Known as ‘Tunley Greens’, it had originally come from his wife’s grandfather who obtained the seeds in Tunley, Somerset in around 1910. Known in Europe for centuries, it was often grown in cottage and farm gardens. Valued for its hardiness and ability to provide tasty, fresh greens in the depth of winter. Its frilly grey-green leaves have a lovely purple tinge.
(Brassica napus) Hungry Gap is the gardeners' name for the period in spring when there is little or no fresh produce available from garden or allotment. This hardy variety, so named because it crops during this period, was introduced by Carter’s in 1932. The steel-blue, wavy-edged leaves develop a red and purple hue in colder weather and are tender and mild-flavoured. Harvest from late autumn until April.