One of the things I look forward to each December is the new Heritage Seed Library Catalogue. The HSL is Garden Organic’s project to conserve vegetable varieties that are not widely available, and it includes old favourites that have disappeared from commercial catalogues as well as more unusual vegetables. It was through the HSL that I originally encountered achocha.

Next year I thought it would be fun to see how heritage varieties grow in the Hydroponicum, and these are the ones I have selected:

Gupta’s Indian Mustard
Lettuce – Black Seeded Samara
Lettuce – Bronze Arrow
Lettuce – Bunyard’s Matchless
Lettuce – Stoke
Uncle Bert’s Purple Kale

Years ago, I sponsored the ‘Uncle Bert’s Purple’ kale variety in loving memory of my Great Uncle Bert. He was a fixture of family Christmases when I was growing up, always immaculately dressed and smoking a pipe. He wasn’t a gardener; in fact, he was partially paralysed, having contracted polio as a child. But he was my Uncle Bert.

The HSL is not a commercial catalogue, and you have to be a member to choose seeds. You can join through Garden Organic, and the 2020 seed list will be taking orders until the end of February.