I have received and sown some heritage seeds from the Garden Organic Heritage Seed Library. This is a new adventure for me because I have never grown "heritage" seeds before. I like to grow some of the tried and tested old varieties such as the leek Musselburgh and runner bean "Painted Lady" but I had no interest in heritage vegetables.
Why are they heritage? Because they don't taste good and they are susceptible to pests and diseases. However, I had the opportunity to share some seed and experiment to see what they are like.
The one that I am most interested in is the Pea "Champion of England". It is a tall variety which will grow up to 5 foot tall according to the catalogue. I can get Early Onward almost up to this height (See previous post photographs) so I don't know how high Champion of England will grow. I am going to plant it with the "Radio?" and Alderman and compare the varieties. I haven't grown Alderman for many years but it crops well and is good sweet tasting pea. Don gave me the "Radio" but I cannot find any reference to that name anywhere. I think that he may have got it mixed up with the pea "Telegraph". Whatever, I will continue to call it Radio.
I only had 12 pea seeds for the Champion of England so I will save most of the pods for next year's seed. According to Kate and Ben at the Real Seed Company, peas are relatively self pollinating so will breed true.
I have sown the Ragged Jack kale and will probably have enough to eat as well as save seed from. This is the only brassica seed that I will save at the new allotment and will not allow any other brassica to flower. This should give me seed that will come true to type.
I will save the seed from the cauliflower Late Queen at the old allotment. I haven't sown this yet because it is a winter cauliflower and needs to be sown in late April or early May. The heritage cauliflowers do not grow very big but they are quite tasty by all accounts.
I have sown the leek Kelvedon King but to get seed from it will be difficult with the Phytomyza gymnostoma. I will be lucky to get any plants growing at all.
The heritage lettuce I've sown is George Richardson. It is a cos lettuce which I'm not too fond of but it will produce some seed. Lettuce flowers are self pollinating and rarely cross so will breed true. I will be collecting seed from strong late flowering plants so I can select those that will stand for some time without bolting.