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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