Saturday, 6 April 2013

Heritage Seeds

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.


  1. Champion of England is a good pea; for me, it grows about five feet high, but these things are very variable. I like Ragged Jack. It's quite small for a kale, so plant a couple of feet apart.