Garlic – Elephant Garlic

Size isn’t everything they say but when it comes to garlic cloves I am generally of the opinion that bigger is always better. There is nothing more frustrating and lets face it, a little wiffy, than fiddling round with tiny cloves.

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.

Hamburg Parsley

Hamburg parsley, sometimes known as turnip rooted parsley or parsnip rooted parsley is a real novelty in the UK which you are unlikely to be able to try unless you grow your own although it is much more popular in (obviously) Germany but also other parts of Europe.

Patty Pan Sunburst F1

Back in the 1980.s a vegetable hit the local supermarkets and was super trendy for a while but now has largely vanished from the shelves, maybe because it doesn’t pack as well as baby courgettes or people found the yellow colour a little strange but the patty pan lives on in allotments and farmers markets.

Scorzonera

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 Very popular in Victorian times when it was prized for its delicate flavour it has all but been replaced by the sweeter and more attractive…

Asparagus

For most vegetable varieties grown by amateurs, choosing the wrong variety or growing them incorrectly causes only short term annoyance, easily remedied and a lesson learned for next year.

Not so with asparagus. If I were to say to you that building an asparagus bed takes as much effort as a planning a wedding I wouldn’t be far wrong.

Gigantes

My memories of Greek and Turkish holidays often revolve around foods that we ate. Especially wonderful were the meze, small plates of tasty bites to share.

Tomato – Dancing with Smurfs

The tomato and potato breeder Tom Wagner is responsible for some of our more unusual tomato plants including Green Zebra. Dancing with Smurfs is another that got tongues wagging at my local allotment.

Squash – Turks Turban

Lumpy, bumpy and decidedly funky. Like a spaceship wrapped multicoloured silk, Turks Turban is the Salvador Dali of the cucurbit world.

Tomato – Green Zebra

If you want to confuse your friends try feeding them Green Zebra Tomatoes. These were bred in the 1980’s by the famous tomato breeder Tom Wagner and whilst ripe tomatoes will take on a slightly yellow tone, they never stray far from the name that they are given.