Unusual herbs and flavours steal the show
New seeds for 2021 are being released thick and fast by the big seed companies – and Suttons is up there with 21 new varieties – this is my top 10.
If you’re new to gardening and really want to buy a new variety, get in there quickly, don’t leave it until you’re ready to sow or the best will be gone!
The magenta, almost sparkly growth tips of this tall spinach substitute add a dash of colour to the vegetable plot. It likes sun or shade and looks good in the flower border.
It can grow up to 2.5m tall, hence the name – harvest leaves on a cut and come again basis from 25cm tall. Easy to grow, adds columns of height and colour to any garden.
Leaves are best when they are young, fresh in salads. Larger ones can be used like spinach. Plants are also related to quinoa, so when they go to seed in August-October, the grains can be dried and saved for baking, £2.99.
An easy-to-grow mix of native leafy veg made up of chicory, salad burnet, fennel, mallow, garlic mustard and sheep’s sorrel.
Sow in the garden or containers all year round. Harvest late June to September. Height 31-40cm, spread 21-30cm, £3.99.
Lemon balm, with a zesty orange taste! Makes a great addition to herb garden or patio pots, with fragrance and attractive foliage and flowers that bees can’t resist.
Add its leaves to vinegar, chopped into soft cheese or infused in hot water as a relaxing drink. Its shorter cascading habit can be used to cover slopes or difficult areas. Height 31-40cm, spread 41-50cm. Harvest August to mid-October, £3.49.
Dual-use corn, use it for both stir-frying or popping. Perfect to use as tender, sweet baby corn in a stir-fry or Thai curries. Leave the cobs on the plants to grow to maturity (approximately 20cm), then harvest and let dry to create corn for ‘popping’.
Sweet corn Snobaby will produce 4-5 cobs per plant. Once dried, place the cobs in a bag in the microwave and the corn will pop off the cob! Height 151-200cm, £3.99.
Grune Perle is one of the best herbs to overwinter as it is slow to run to seed. It can be harvested from May to December, with excess crops frozen. It’s ideal for containers.
It has a very good flavour for cooking or a garnish with. The extra curled leaves. Height 31-40cm, spread 21-30cm, £1.99.
A hardy green, originating from Ethiopian cabbage. Successional sowing will provide continuous greens all year round, as it can be grown during the winter in a greenhouse.
Garlic kale has a crisp texture, with a pleasant kale flavour and slightly garlic aftertaste. Good for salads when young and tender, as leaves get larger they can be steamed. Immature flower stems can be cooked like broccoli. Height 81-90cm, spread 51-60cm, £2.99.
Striking dark red upper leaves with lime green undersides and stalks. Mizuna plants will grow through winter in a cold greenhouse, harvesting all year. One of the easiest Oriental vegetables to grow.
Red Empire tastes like a peppery, but slightly less spicy rocket or mustard. Use like rocket and to add colour to salads and sandwiches. Leave to grow larger and use in stir-fries. Height 21-30cm, spread 11-20cm, £1.99.
Brodie is the top-end supermarket choice! Harvest from September to December, buttons also stay fresh on the plants and can continue into February.
Exceptionally mild in flavour, Brodie won’t leave a bitter aftertaste – steam or roast them with smoky bacon or pancetta. Height 71-80cm, spread 41-50cm, £3.49.
Gemini is on the quickest broccoli to crop, 80 days from sowing to harvest. Easy to grow, harvest the succulent head first, then the side-shoots – there will be pickings from late July to mid-November.
It’s a very attractive variety with a green dome shape. Can be cooked or eaten raw. Height 41-50cm, spread 41-50cm, £3.49.
A squash and courgette rolled in one! Cut when small and cook like a courgette or eat it stuffed and baked when it’s bigger. With ornamental lime and green skin, it looks great in borders.
Compact plants hold fruits up to 35cm wide, which go solid green at full size. Harvest from August to October, this squash has nutty, firm-fleshed fruit. Height 51-60cm, spread 91-100cm, £3.99.
For more on the other new varieties, visit www.suttons.co.uk.