Thursday, 10 December 2009

Heritage Seed Library catalogue

My yearly catalogue from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL)  came today and I'm rather excited to see I'm listed as a HSL Guardian I'm not sure I really qualify for the honour, as I've never officially asked to become a guardian, I have just been saving seeds and sending them back.

 One of the seeds I've saved in the past, is the Pea 'Latvian' (Pisum sativum Latvian). This grew really well the first year I tried it, in 2008, even though the poor darlings were flooded a couple of times. Somehow they survived and I got a really good crop. Here is a picture of Pea Latvian in flower. Very pretty and very prolific. And wow, they might be small peas, but they were incredibly sweet and juicy (below right). They are currently my favourite pea. I grew it again this year, but because we had moved house and I didn't have time to get much in the way of growing done at either the lottie or at home, it was just a few in pots.

Other seeds I saved and sent back to HSL were Pea Robinson and Purple Podded Pea. Robinson is my next favourite, not quite as prolific as Latvian, with white flowers, but larger peas and very yummy. Purple Podded have a beautiful flower, similar to Latvian, however with amazing, well, purple pods! These are way prolific, fast growers and I even found I sometimes got late flowering on plants that looked dead near the root. However, if you don't eat them young, they aren't as yummy. So if you miss picking them young, best to save them for soup/stews in my opinion.


So, returning to this years catalogue. To have the best chance of getting the varieties of veg seeds you want from the HSL, you have to be quick. So I was. This is my list of 6 varieties (you can choose up to 6 as a member of HSL) that I hope to receive:
  • Kale Russian/Hungry Gap
  • Kale Madeley
  • Parsnip Kral Russian
  • Beetroot Dobbies Purple
  • Carrot London Market
  • Climbing French Bean Extra Hatif de Juliet
Kale Hungry Gap was the first ever Kale I grew, not knowing anything about Kale nor had eaten it prior to this. This variety is named for the fact it can be harvested during the 'hungry gap' period (roughly beginning of the year to April). I was told to use it like spinach in cooking so I tried that and it was great. Has a slightly nutty taste to it, more depth than spinach, though I remain just as fond of spinach. Kale, like spinach, tastes great if sautéed it in some butter and nutmeg. As you can see from my choices above, I'm now rather keen on Kale.

I've grown Parsnip Kral Russian in my previous garden. The reason why I've chosen it again, is that despite heavy clay soil and flooding, it still grew really well. So I want to try it again at my lottie where the soil is a lighter clay and therotically should be easier for Parsnips.

The beetroot choice? Because the description in the catalogue says 'looked amazing and had a knockout scent of honey' when flowering. So I want to test that out! Also, see how this variety compares with Beetroot Sanguina which I grew this year. Sanguina was great, dark, crunchy and juicy. Good in salads, and I used it when I made Forbidden Chocolate Brownies. I just want to see if another variety makes the Brownies taste different.

Well, it's getting late and I better get my list of seed goodies into an envelope. I'll try and save more seeds next year and send them back to HSL, that way maybe then I can feel that I deserve the honour of being listed as a Seed Guardian.

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