The UK Vegetable Genebank conserves crop diversity for the future. We maintain a collection of 14,000 seed samples from old varieties and from closely related wild species.
- In partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, we have chosen some interesting historical varieties from our collections for you to look at in the kitchen garden of Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Stratord-uopn-Avon
- The aim of our exhibition is to highlight the importance of conserving crop diversity for the future.
- Old varieties may contain important characteristics such as resistance to pests and diseases - these can be bred into new crop varieties in the future. Better crop varieties mean farmers can use less irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers but still produce tasty and nutritious crops for us to eat!
About the UK Vegetable Genebank
- Our seed collections include a range of crops from cauliflower and cabbage to carrot and lettuce, as well as leafy and salad types. The seed was collected from all over the world.
- Genebanks like ours offer a source of the essential genetic variation required to develop new and improved crops. We send out seed from our collections to scientists and plant breeders in the UK and across the world.
What's on display? (Click on the variety names to see pictures)
This is a very tall kale variety which develops a tall, woody stalk. The stalk can be cut, dried and finished to make walking sticks (it is also known as Walking Stick Kale)
This is a very attractive type of kale - the interesting leaves have varying amounts of purple pigments called anthocyanins in the stalks and veins
- Purple Cape broccoli
The purple pigments (anthocyanins) give this cauliflower-like variety a very striking appearance
- Burpee Golden beetroot
We are far more familiar with the deeply coloured red beetroot types, but this beetroot is a lovely golden colour throughout the root
This variety has an unusual root shape which is somewhat flattened, making it suitable to grow in shallow soils
This aptly named variety has dark red flecks on its leaves, which are somewhat soft and delicate
This old variety of carrot has lovely roots with a distinctive yellowish core
Originally grown as fodder for animals, the large white roots have white flesh and a mild taste – this means it is equally appealing to people too!
- Oxheart carrot
As the name implies, these carrots have massive, heart shaped roots which makes them suitable for growing in heavier soils
A type of the familiar herb which is quite popular in some parts of Europe. The plants have white roots which resemble parsnip but with a more delicate flavour