A beautiful, productive California heirloom, popular in the USA but was almost unknown here. A large, non-hearting lettuce; the attractive, arrowhead-shaped leaves have a distinctive bronze tinge and mild flavour. Drought and cold hardy, so ideal for autumn sowing and overwintering; it survived frost and snowfall at Ryton. Also less popular with slugs.
This is one of the oldest of the cos lettuces and considered one of the hardiest of its type, suitable for summer or autumn sowing. It is exceedingly crisp and well flavoured. The leaves are large, broad and scooped around the margins. When exposed to sunlight these become a brownish-bronze, hence the name.
Originally bred by W Atlee Burpee Company, USA, and introduced in 1884. Our donor found seeds in an allotment shed in the 1990s, left behind by a previous tenant who had grown them for 30 years. Described by Burpee as having “medium-sized compact heads with heavily ruffled leaves and crisp, tender hearts.” A classic, crisphead lettuce, thinnings make delicious extra-early salads. 85 days from seed to harvest (approx.).
A huge, cabbage-headed lettuce that can weigh anything up to 500g. The unusual pink tinge on leaf margins is temperature-dependent, apparent on planting out the young plants in the spring but disappearing as they start to mature. Leaves are large, full and smooth, ideal for adding to a sandwich.
Originally from Stoke, near Rochester in Kent, where the Cheesman family had grown it for 170 years, but this variety probably dates back to before 1840. A compact and trouble-free lettuce, perfect for growing in limited space or in containers. The dark green leaves are crunchy, flavoursome and slightly sweet. Sow to harvest 70 days (approx.)
This Russian variety forms clumps, similar to multiplier onions, of thumb-sized, purple tinged, crescent shaped bulbs. Sow from spring through until early autumn; this perennial variety can be left in the ground all year round and propagated by allowing to seed (which it will in its second year) or by dividing the clumps. The mild flavoured bulbs are ideal for salads, soups and stir fries.
Originating in northern France, these peas were given to a young soldier returning from the battlefield of the Somme as a memento of happier times before the war. He took them home to Somerset where his family and friends have grown them ever since. The plants will reach around 1.8m in height and produce beautiful bicoloured flowers followed by purple pods packed with flavoursome peas.
A very old variety dating back to at least the end of the 18th century in England. Sutton & Sons Seed and Plant List of 1852 describes it as “a useful old variety”. Thought to have been developed in Germany, though very little is known about its early history. We do know, however, that is was grown by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president of the USA, in 1809 in his garden at Monticello, Virginia. Growing to 90-120cm in height, it produces white flowers followed by plump, blunt pods containing 7-8 peas in each. The peas can be used fresh, but are ideal as a drying pea, when the seeds are dark blue-green.