I waited a long time to grow Burgess buttercup squash. There is only one main supplier in the UK which is the Real Seed Company and they always sell out early, added to that we then had covid and everyone decided to become preppers and start growing their own so everywhere sold out of everything. However I had managed to get my order in early enough so 2021 was the year.
Looking at the Oxheart carrot I did wonder if this was a carrot even Bugs Bunny would have difficulty getting his teeth into. Oxheart is an heirloom French variety, also known as Guerandes and is from the famous carrot growing region of Nantes, dating back to 1884. It is an unusual, large, almost heart shaped carrot which is why it got its name. Oxheart are quite short (up to 15cm) but also wide (up to 12cm) and can weigh up to 500g each. The blunt shape means it is good for shallow or heavy soils and it stores well.
For anyone with an interest in food and gardening the increased reliance of world wide food crops to a few varieties is a concern. Local “landrace” varieties are vanishing, along with their genetic diversity and suitability to local ecosystems in favour of a handful of varieties which can be wiped out if a pathogen mutates…
Golden beetroot have been around from the early 1800’s when Golden Detroit became available but did not become popular until the 1940’s when Burpees Golden became the golden beet of choice.
UK suppliers describe the cream sausage tomato as a heritage or heirloom tomato, however in the USA there is a very similar looking tomato, bush variety, yellow, paste developed by the master of tomatoes Tom Wagner in 2004. I am assuming they are the same, however it makes it as heirloom as my old Nokia 8210 mobile phone.
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.
The oldest variety of broad bean widely grown is Green Windsor introduced in 1809. Windsors have shorter pods, less yield and are a bit less hardy than the long pods so are best for spring sowings. However some, like Green Windsor have a fantastic flavour, much better than some of the autumn sown long pods, so are still grown today.
One broad bean has clawed its way back from extinction. First mentioned in 1778 and later discussed in a London Horticultural Society report in 1831 was the “red blossomed” broad bean.
It was a toss up for the Christmas Eve post. Brussel sprouts? Potatoes? Carrots? Brussel sprouts divide the nation, I’m not great at growing carrots yet and growing a decent non salad potato that isn’t eaten by slugs still evades me so today it will be parsnips. As tomorrow will be celebrating the birth of the King of Kings this parsnip also one with a vaguely royal theme. Happy Christmas everyone and lets pray for a better 2021!
I had a bit of a surprise as the squash plants started to die back this year. A giant blue squash hiding behind the greenery. How I had managed to miss such a walloping great thing I have no idea and although it is not one of the giant carving pumpkins, at 5kg it was certainly the biggest squash I had ever grown.
It’s not often that you would call a daisy ugly but Scorzonera, a member of the daisy family is a vegetable with a root that only a mother could love. Very popular in Victorian times when it was prized for its delicate flavour it has all but been replaced by the sweeter and more attractive…
Its not been a great year for outdoor tomatoes. In June we had record breaking rain and many varieties shivered or just gave up. Orange banana however which originates from Russia and dates back to about 1930 however thrived.
I love growing heritage seeds, especially those which have a great history behind them and Cherokee Trail of Tears sure has a history behind it, although not one that you could call “great”. In the 1830’s, the US government forecebly marched over 40,000 Native Americans from their traditional homelands in the south east of the…
Many years ago the cutting of pea sticks to provide support for tall growing peas was common place. The world wars, where labour was short and modern farming techniques has pretty much put paid to the growing of large pea varieties except for the home gardener.
Peas are not the sort of thing to grow unless you are a grow your own obsessive.
The Student is a heritage parsnip developed around 1850 by James Buckman originally as an experiment to prove that existing strains could be improved by crossing with a wild parsnip. The results were so good that you can still buy the seed today.