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Plantland Home & Garden

Prince George, BC, Canada

Gardening Tips

What you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb

Fun vegetables to plant this season

Growing Orchids
Are you looking for something new to plant in your vegetable garden or edible landscape? There are some new and different vegetable plants available that have caught the attention of home gardeners. Broccolini, Cucamelon, and Kalettes may be the something different you are looking for.

Broccolini (Aspabroc) is similar to broccoli but has smaller heads, long narrow stems, and is mild flavoured. It is a hybrid of broccoli and Kai-lan a Chinese broccoli. Broccolini is a cool weather crop that grows best in a fertile, well-drained soil. Harvest when the head has fully formed before it flowers. After the head has been harvested it will continue to produce side shoots for several weeks. Delicious in stir-fries, sauteed, steamed, and roasted. Is a good substitute for Asparagus.

Cucamelons produce the ‘cutest’ fruit. The fruit look like miniature watermelons the size of a grape which is probably why it is sometimes known as ‘Mouse Melon’. Also known as ‘Mexican sour gherkin’, this cousin to the cucumber tastes like a cucumber with a citrus undertone. Eat them raw in salads, on there own, or use as a garnish, cucumelons will certainly stand out. Native to Mexico and Central America, cucamelons are easy to grow and should do well in our Prince George climate. They can be grown in containers or directly in the garden, similar to a cucumber. Plant them in a sunny location after all threat of frost has passed. They don’t need a lot of room as they are a vining plant, but will need a trellis for support. You won’t have to wait long to enjoy their fruit as they are fast growing, maturing from seed to fruit in 10-12 weeks. Fruit is harvested when firm.

 

Kalettes are a new vegetable that have been developed by cross pollination of kale and brussels sprouts. They have the flavour of kale and brussels sprouts but are milder and sweeter than brussels sprouts. Kalettes are very hardy and also nutritional. They can be prepared and eaten in a number of different ways such as steamed, stir-fried, roasted, grilled, or raw. Easy to grow, they have the same growing requirements as other members of the brassica family, although they do require a long growing season, so it is best to plant them in the garden as bedding plants to give them a head start. They would also be attractive in an edible landscape as they look similar to brussels sprouts but instead of tight min cabbages growing on stalks they are mini kales.

If you are looking to add some colour to your veggie plate perhaps the purple headed cauliflower ‘graffiti’ or the yellow headed ‘cheddar’ varieties would appeal to you or your kids. Beets are already colourful, but why not try ‘Chioggia’ which has white and red stripes or ‘touchstone gold’ which is a golden yellow beet. We have planted both of these beets in our home garden and really enjoy them. The nice thing about the golden beet is that you don’t get red stains on your hands like you do when you handle red beets. They are all sweet and make an attractive dish when you mix the red, gold and chioggia beets together in one dish.

Its always fun to try out new things and it will certainly add some fun to the dinner table!