Sprouts – Bosworth F1

Of all the trees, plants and vegetables to be given a name to commemorate the battle of bosworth, the sprout is an interesting choice. Perhaps it was because Richard III has been historically vilified as a cruel hunchbacked despot who murdered the princes in the tower, the sprout is also a much maligned vegetable, the divider of the Christmas dinner table. Perhaps it is because one of the most well known sprouts, Trafalgar, is also named after a battle. I prefer the first!

Kalettes

If any vegetable could be compared to an Instagram influencer it would probably be the Kalette. A happy crossing beween Kale and sprout they were originally called Flowersprouts but it was though that the word sprout was putting people off so it was renamed Kalettes and relaunched with lots of branding, they even have their own website.

Kale – Dwarf Green Curled

If there is one plant on the allotment that almost impossible to get wrong it is Kale. These hardy stalwarts of the winter allotment provide food from summer all the way through to the hungry gap the following spring. Often kale can be quite a large plant getting upwards of a metre. If you are on a windy site or can only provide netting to a certain hight then dwarf green curled could be an option, growing to a slightly more lower 40-60cm.

Calabrese – Green Sprouting

I’ve never had much luck with plants in the cabbage family other than sprouts and kale. The biggest cauliflower I have managed to grow was smaller than a tangerine. I always live in hope however and I planted a few unsuccessful (again) cauliflowers this year but the one success was my green spouting broccoli.

Kale – Cavolo Nero

Kale used to be one of the only fresh green vegetables that could be grown in the UK over winter and tough little numbers like Hungry Gap would brave out the winter frosts, snow and wind. The trouble is that toughness to survive a winter storm lead to toughness on the plate and once supermarkets started flying in vegetables from around the world people turned away from their less palatable staples. Kale was gradually abandoned and started to sink out of peoples memory.

It took  The River Cafe  which opened in the late 1908’s to bring kale back in to the spotlight but not any kale……..This was a kale of which we’d never seen in the UK before or if we had it had long gone out of production. The kale was Cavolo Nero

Cabbage – Kalibos

Occasionally you will see what can only be described as a super model vegetable, the sort that makes you look twice in your instagram feed or at a seed packet. Kalibos cabbage is one of those vegetables.

Brussels Sprout – Attwood

Love them or loath them? The marmite of the vegetable world, the Brussels sprout. I am an unashamed lover of a well cooked (and by that I mean not boiled within and inch of its life) sprout.

Cabbage – January King

It’s frosty outside but there is still one stalwart of the kitchen garden producing and that is the cabbage January King. The king of winter cabbages is actually a French variety called “chou de Milan de Pontoise” and has been grown since 1865 in the UK. However the name January King really suits this variety. Whilst most cabbages grown now are F1 hybrids, this one survives as nothing can outlast it in a bad winter.

Kale Afro

For those of you that grow your own you quite often find a packet of seeds at the bottom of your seed box that you don’t remember buying. I don’t know how I ended up with a packet of Afro seeds, possibly it was a free trial seed, certainly none of my usual seed merchants are selling it but I have found one supplier if you want to give it a go and I do think it is worth it.

Kale – Red Russian

Kale was one of a very few fresh vegetables available in the winter months. Perhaps for this reason, alongside the fact that many kales can be pretty tough and bitter once vegetables could be imported it fell heavily out of fashion.

Kale – Peacock Tail Mix F1

Kale is one of the those vegetables that we all know is healthy but quite often don’t like it very much so it is often relegated to smoothies, crispy seaweed or crisps.