Catalogue overload? Here are 11 veg worth a try
It’s great when the new catalogues come in and you can sit curled up in a chair, pondering over what you’re going to grow next season.
However, it can be a case of sensory overload – lists, lists and more lists! Well, I’ve taken on the mountains of paperwork for you to sift through the 2018 catalogues with my recommendations of what’s new or unusual and worth a try.
Note – quinoa in various rainbow mixes and edamame beans are everywhere!
Here are the veg seeds that caught my eye:
Bean (Runner) Snowstorm: A self-fertile, white-flowered variety producing masses of beans for cooking whole rather than cut up but can also be left to grow to about 30cm. The result of 15 years of British breeding to combine the best characteristics of French and runner beans, cropping heavily even when the weather is poor. Average packet 30 seeds, £3.49, www.suttons.co.uk.
Cabbage Scarvita F1: A red/pink hearted, crisp Chinese cabbage, with long holding ability after cutting, and no bitter taste. Slice heads in half lengthways, drizzle with olive oil and barbecue for a delicious side dish! Improved variety. Sow June-July, harvest August-October. Average seeds 50, £2.49, www.dobies.co.uk.
Carrot Speedo F1: Full of flavour, this fast-growing, early maincrop Nantes variety produces uniform, high-quality, smooth roots. Excellent source of vitamin A and antioxidants. Exclusive, £2.29, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.
Cauliflower Orkney F1: For those who lamented the loss of Mayflower, the earliest cropping summer cauli, here’s an excellent replacement. Orkney F1 is a high quality, reliable variety which produces dense heads of large white curds from as early as May. Exclusive, £2.29, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk.
Kale Peacock White: A decorative kale, with frizzled white leaves, at home in a mixed flower border or in the veg garden. Use the leaves in salads or steamed. £3.49, www.suttons.co.uk.
Pea Blauwschokker: A heritage variety with purple flowers and pods which may be eaten as mangetout when young or allowed to grow into swollen pods full of sweet green peas. Average packet 100 seeds, £2.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Pea (Mangetout) Spring Blush: A tall, high yielding pea with bi-coloured purple/pink blooms and lots of rose blushed and pure green pods. Can be picked as mangetout or snap pods. Plants also produce lots of tendrils that are delicious. Improved variety. Average seeds 175, £2.99, www.dobies.co.uk.
Pepper (Hot) Curry Pepper F1: Full of hot flavour, the pungent 15cm (6in) long fruits are borne on compact plants. Can be used fresh or dried and when still green/light green. Exclusive, £2.45, www.mr-fothergills.co.uk.
Pumpkin Wicked F1: A large ‘monster’ Halloween pumpkin, suited to cooler climates and early maturing. The vibrant deep orange skin is smooth and easy to carve. The fruits store well with good resistance to soft rot and have strong stalks. Exclusive, £2.99, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk.
Radish Bluemoon and Redmoon Mix F1: Asian breeding has produced these radishes with coloured skin and flesh. The bright colours and crisp texture make them perfect for slicing into salads, giving a delicate, mild flavour and a stunning effect. They are equally good in stir-fries and stews. The conical roots are easy to grow and make an excellent crop for containers, window boxes and greenhouse borders. £1.99, www.thompson-morgan.com.
Spinach Trombone F1: An overwintering variety with better downy mildew resistance than Andromeda. Smooth, round-edged leaves can be harvested as baby leaves for salads or left to mature. Bolt resistant and slow growing, protect early sowings from frost. Exclusive, £1.59, www.dtbrownseeds.co.uk.