2009 – What we’ve grown

Because our goal is to achieve an year-round supply of fresh vegetables, we grow a wide variety of crops on our allotment.  Some have been a success, others less so.  And of course, at the time of writing, some are still in the lap of the Gods!

We’ve added our comments on the varieties which have worked for us, or not as the case may be.  But bear in mind we are rookie growers, and your soil and growing conditions might give different results.


  • Bolthardy: delicious and very sweet, but poor germination with the early seeds.  Possibly planted too early in the cold spring.
  • Perfect 3: Used as a catch crop for later planting, we’ve yet to try these little beauts at the time of writing .

Broad beans:

  • Bunyards Exhibition:  My favourite broad bean with good yields and small tender beans.
  • Vectra: Planted a little late, but only about 30% germination and next to nothing on the plants.
  • Witkiem Manita: A really good yield, but the beans were a bit too big and pale for my liking.  Not a patch on the Bunyard!

Brussel Sprouts:

  • Darkmar: Another late sprout.  Little sign of activity in September,but we’re not known for our sprout growing abilities!
  • Red Rubine: A very low germination rate (8 out of 40), but stunning coloured foliage.  Late variety with sprouts buds just forming in September.


  • Greyhound: A lovely tight cabbage with great yield.
  • Savoy Traviata:  Good cabbage, but not too big.
  • Savoy Tarvoy: Looking good, but not big enough to crop to date.
  • Wintergreen: Autumn sowing. TBA
  • Durham Early: Autumn sowing TBA


  • Autumn Green Calabrese:  A disaster!  For 2 years running these have bolted and not given any yield.  Perhaps a different variety is called for in 2010!


I’m not going to comment on any of this year’s carrots.  With a low germination rate across the board (possibly hampered by cold weather, voles and moles) we filled in the gaps with whatever seeds we had.  The result?  We got some carrots, but heaven knows which was which.  I must mend my ways in 2010!

  • Autumn King
  • Early Nantes
  • James Intermediate


  • All Year Round: no success with these for 2 years running.
  • Patriot: a later variety for later in the year.
  • Triomphant: Just when we were about to give up – beautiful cauliflowers which look and taste like the real thing.


  • Tristar:  A mixed variety pack with very disappointing results.  One not to be repeated!
  • Kojac: Definitely our courgette of choice.  Spineless and very large fruit.

French beans:

  • Cosse Violette: A beautiful purple bean which turns green when cooked.  A short season, but high yield and worth the effort!


  • Dwarf Green Curled:  A real super-veg!  One of the top producers on a cut and come again basis.  Looking forward to the start of the season
  • Redbor: Low germination rate which seems to be prevalent with the red brassica.  The plants look stunning but won’t be cropped until later in the year.
  • Hungry Gap: A new venture just planted in August.  TBA


  • Mammoth Tornado:  Good sized leeks by September for the earliest planting.  Not giants but respectable and good flavour.


  • Little Gem: One sowing and nothing appeared?  Given up on these!
  • Webbs Wonderful:  Not my favourite.  These seem to start to rot before they reach a reasonable size.  But used as a ‘cut and come again’, the leaves are really crisp and tasty.
  • Suttons Mixed Leaf Salad:  I’ve been using these seeds for the past 4 years with great results.  The red lettuce lost their viability this year and, as I’ve come to the end of the packet, they’ll be on next year’s shopping list!
  • Winter Salad planted August 09 includes Winter Purslane, Upland Cress, American Land Cress, Chinese Mustard, and Winter Density.

Mange Tout

  • Organic Norli:  Never again!  After millions of Reuzensuiker mangetout  last year, we’ve only managed about 300 grams in 2009.
  • Reuzensuiker: Really good main crop mange tout and will be our chosen variety from now on.  Huge yield and quite delicious.  In the summer of 2009 we found some seeds we’d saved and planted them.  They have been cropping since early September and making up for the disappointment of the Norli variety.

    Onions – Winter:

    • Radar:  Good crop, but the yield would have been better if we’d kept the beds weed-free.

    Onions – Main crop:

    • Centurion & Stuttgarter:  Disappointing with lots of small onions, despite weeding!  Must investigate different varieties for 2010.


    • Palace: Last year’s Palace parsnips were magnificent, so we’re hoping for great things again this year.
    • Tender and True: The weather meant a low germination rate of the Palace seed, so this variety was bought to make up the numbers.  Watch this space … oh and unlike the carrots … I didn’t muddle these up!


    • Douce Provence: A winter-hardy pea by repute, but it didn’t reckon on a Chipping Norton winter!  This one won’t be repeated, it’s just not up to Chippy’s micro-climate.
    • Feltham First: Again, another disappointing crop.
    • Hurst Greenshaft:  The best so far, but our 2009 pea crop has not been a success!

    Perpetual Spinach:

    • Leaf Beet: Perhaps the most rewarding of all!  Lovely salad leaf and delicious cooked.  Great yield until November when its growth stops, only to restart in early spring.  2008’s crop produced until June 2009!

    Purple Sprouting:

    Suttons Seeds: Huge crop last season, despite attack by pigeons in February 2009.  Looking forward to harvesting next February.

    Runner Beans:

    • Red Flame: A high yield and lovely long straight bean (until the wind came).  A must for next season


    • Angela: Great success and huge roots in 2008.  Used remaining seed in 2009, but with low germination rate.  Last year, despite the impressive size, they didn’t ‘ripen’ until October.
    • Marian: Too soon to tell, but the yield looks good.  Watch this space.


    • Sweet Nugget: New addition for 2009, and planted late.  Results to follow!


    • Maskotka: Although not grown on the allotment, but in pots on our patio, these tomatoes must get a mention!  The packet said they were prolific and that was no exaggeration.  Literally hundreds of sweet cherry tomatoes!

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