If you grow fruit and vegetables then this selection of fifteen unusual crops is for you. I am sure that some will be familiar, but others will be new to you. The list includes the White Strawberry, Achocha, Red Meat Radish and? Cucamelons. There are eleven more which you can read about in this article by Tanya which I found on her Lovely Greens website.
The benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables are many ? reduced food miles, healthy exercise, truly Organic produce, self sufficiency, and a closer relationship with the land. Another is being able to choose from a vast selection of different varieties that you?ll never see in a supermarket. Heirloom tomatoes in wild shapes and sizes, foreign vegetables you?ve never heard of before, and common veg in uncommon colours.
Every year I try to grow something out of the ordinary and in the past five years some of them have graduated from trial to garden staple. Growing unusual varieties adds excitement and diversity to your plate and is just plain fun! This?is why?I?m sharing my list of fifteen unique varieties that I think you should consider including in your own garden this year. For more ideas, check out my Pinterest board for Unusual fruits & vegetables for the Home Grower.
1. White Strawberries?
White strawberries, also called Pineberries, came onto my radar a couple of years ago. They?re not genetically engineered but rather an old variety ? I bet you didn?t know that all strawberries?in South America used to be white! I now have dozens of these plants on the go thanks to a friend who gave me some plants. They multiply by sending out runners (vines that grow their own root systems) so I?ll have even more baby plants to put in my allotment garden this year.
The colour of these berries is certainly intriguing but it?s functional too ? I?ve not had any problems with birds eating them at all. As for taste, they?re said to be a cross between a pineapple and a strawberry but personally I think they taste like ordinary strawberries.
You might be able to find plants for sale in a local nursery, but try to get runners off any friends who are growing them first. If all else fails, here the plants are for sale on Amazon.
These South American pods that are nicknamed ?Fat Babies? are very easy to grow and flourish in the British climate. I originally got seeds from my pal Caro at the Urban Veg Patch, and that year I had vines growing up a bamboo wigwam.
Achocha will cover an entire wall if you let them and their green pods with their silky and soft ?spikes? taste like a combination of cucumber and green bell pepper. Since peppers need warmth and tend to be grown in greenhouses here in the Isle of Man, Achocha are the perfect alternative. They?re profuse, can be grown outside, and are fantastic in stirfries and any other dish you?d normally use peppers in.
I?d suggest checking out an online or in-person seed swap for this one but I have found some sources for seeds too.
3. Red Meat Radish
This is a completely new variety for me but I recently purchased seeds from Kings Seeds in the UK. Like I said before, I like to try unusual varieties every year and this is one I?ve heard good things about. Just imagine these crunchy pink roots in salads and dips! I really can?t wait to get the seeds into the ground.