Saturday, 2 January 2010


Heritage Seed Library.

Just prior to Christmas the Heritage Seed Library arrived through the letter box. Once I had some quiet time, I began looking through the selections for 2010.

The catalogue has so many different varieties that I would love to try; but I had to choose six, plus 1 lucky dip.
Last year I picked mostly peas, beans and tomatoes, so this year I decided to limit 2 varieties of peas and beans.

These were my selections:
It is thought to be around 80 years old. A tall, sturdy variety (2-3.5), white flowers followed by 6-10 marrow fat type,wrinkled peas in each pod.

Hugh's Huge.
This pea was donated to HSL by Michael Stanley from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, who had been growing it on his farm since the 1950's. He was orginally given the seed from Mr Robinson, also from Leicestershire who had acquired it from Scotland. A favourite amongst exhibition growers for its long,slim,slightly curved pods which have pointed tips. Extraordinarily sweet, they retain their when a little over mature or when frozen.

District Nurse.
An elderly lady in Cardiff donated these beans to Anita Bourne's step daughter who is a district nurse. Pretty lilac flowers followed by dramatically coloured pods, green splashed with navy blue.

Major Cooks Bean.
This bean was given to HSL by Mr Luxton. It was handed down by his father who acquired the bean from Major Cook who was a colleague during Mr Luxton's work for The Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the 1920's.
Major Cook is thought to have developed the variety. Pretty purple-violet flowers followed by string less beans with fine flavour.

Up to Date.
This variety is originally from R Brittan Seeds in Northampton and is at least 80 years old. In 1948, the Ministry of Agriculture announced its white rot resistance (MAFF Bulletin 2,1948). However, it was thought that 'Up-To-Date' was the same as Bedfordshire Champion and was discarded. Apple shaped with yellow skin, rather square shoulders and a rounded base. Good storage onion.

Squash: Chicago Warted Hubbard.
An American Heirloom variety developed by Budlang Gardens, Chicago and introduced by Vaughans Seed Store, Chicago in 1894. Trailing vines produce large (5.5-6kg) warty,wrinkled,olive green fruit with fine-grained, sweet orange flesh.

Lucky Dip:Asparagus Kale.
Listed in 'The Vegetable Garden'(Vilmorin-Andrieux 1885), this variety is reputed to be one of the tastiest kales. The violet tinged, fringed leaves are mild-flavoured and, in the spring, the young,tender flower shoots can be blanched and eaten like asparagus. Compact, hardy and very productive.

The seeds arrived two days ago and I got all my first choices!!!! Looking forward to growing these varieties and saving seed.
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First Onions Sown For 2010 Harvest.

29th December 2009.

Today I have sown the following varieties of onions which will be kept indoors in a cool place.
I decided to follow the moon planting method again as I had reasonable results last year and find by following the moon planting calandar it keep me to track.

Hi Keeper - F1 Hybrid.
Good autumn variety for sowing outdoors to over winter. Sow September outdoors or March - April for spring sowings.
Harvest in June, from overwintered sowings. August to September from Spring sowings. Exhibition quality in under 4 0z class. I already have some of these onions growing on the allotment which were sown back in September.

Ailsa Craig.
Large globe shaped, straw coloured bulbs with a mild flavour. Will store for a few months. Popular variety for growing 'heavy weight' exhibition quality.

Mild, yet tangy taste, red skined semi-globe type. Good long term storage.

Bedfordshire Champion.
Popular tasty variety, brown skinned, mild flavour. Long storage period.

Roja de Niort.
Red onion. Seed purchased from Lidl, never tried this variety before so will have to wait and see.

The Kelsae.
Show bench winner, exhibition onion. First introduced in the early 1950's. Record weights and exceptional flavour.

Once the seed have germinated they wil be moved to a cooler place as onions don't need to be kept warm.
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