It was only by chance I saw an article in one of the national papers about heritage seeds, in particular Carlin peas. As ever I thought that I’d like to try and grow them.

I was surprised when the seeds arrived – didn’t look like peas at all. They germinated well, grew well too. I put them in one of my net cages where previously I had cabbages. That way the birds didn’t get a look in and I was able to leave them there untill I was ready to pick all the pods, already dry on the vine.


I shall certainly grow them again next year, this amount is only from two rows of plants.


My motto – try to grow something new each year – is proving well worth the effort.

I found the heritage seeds by chance and was taken by the description of the Carlin or Black peas. I try anything once, if it works, I’ll grow it again, if not – well nothing is lost really.

I decided to grow the peas in one of my net cages, I had cabbages there last year. It had to be protected, I could imagine what the pigeons would do with the tiny plants – a tasty breakfast for them!

The peas were slow to start but now are at least 6ft tall and because the cage keeps them in, they are well secured to the net. They’re doing extremely well and we shall have plenty to last the winter and have enough to plant next year.

I’ve picked a few pods and,  as the web page says, they are tasty fresh too.


I like to grow something a bit unusual every year, this year is not different. I have got my usual unusuals – Tromboncino courgettes and Blauhilde purple – podded climbing beans but I was looking for something else.

My friend gives me the gardening pages from her Saturday’s Telegraph newspaper; I read it and pass it to my other friend. This time, a couple of weeks ago, there was just a little item that caught my eye. It was about popular Tudor vegetables. Of course, I read on and was hooked.

It mentions seeds that I haven’t heard about – Carlin peas, Black Spanish radish and Skirret. The result is that I ordered the three packets of seeds, these came yesterday and today two have been used. I have to wait with the radish, that will be sown in July because it can overwinter. I love veg that doesn’t have to be all harvested at once, I can come and get it as I want and need it.  This radish is one of them. I like it already!

I didn’t sow either the peas or the skirret in the open ground, the pigeons might like them too much when they germinate. Instead I put them in one of my brassica cages where I will grow ‘other’ in the rotation scheme (tomatoes, peppers tomatilloes and anything else that is not a brassica plant)

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The person in the seed company of Thomas Etty was very helpful, promised to send me their catalogue and added me to their mailing list. There’s a chance I might be able to get other heritage seeds in the future. My allotment will undergo some changes!