I spend the winter months looking longingly at the vibrantly colorful, glossy pages of the seed catalogs. But when I tally up all the dog-eared pages and highlighted plants that I want to try, it's often waaaay too much money to spend, especially on such a tiny garden. It only recently dawned on me to team up with some other families and split the cost of the seeds (duh), since none of us have very large gardens and don't need a whole pack of seeds ourselves. Each family picked plants that are strange, interesting, new and novel, knowing we could get "normal" seeds from our stash or the local nursery. Here are the new plants that will be gracing corners of our garden come spring.
Golden Beets :This is my sister-in-law Vanessa's pick. Clay says they're delicious, but hard to grow. We'll give them some extra TLC. Charentais Melon: I've heard good things about this French melon, Vanessa and I both wanted to try it.
Clemson Spineless Okra: This one was my sister-in-law Carlie's pick. I've never been a fan of okra, but that's probably just because I haven't had it done right. I'm excited to experience the home grown version. And I think the plants are pretty. Five Color Silverbeet Chard: This one is a treat to see growing among the leafy greens. We grew some a couple years ago and the colors are so vibrant and lovely. Dragon Carrot: So far we've stuck with Scarlett Nantes. These were Clay's brother Christophr's pick. It will exciting to try something new! Poona Kheera Cucumber: These crazy, rust-skinned, Indian cucumbers can be eaten through all shades of maturity, green to dusty red.
Chioggia Beets: These are a family favorite. They're just so gorgeous in a salad, and really sweet and tasty. Joe's Long Pepper: Chris is apparently the most adventurous of the lot of us because he chose this long, spicy pepper. I may not be brave enough to eat it, but I'll definitely enjoy the splash of red in the garden. Speckled Cranberry Bean: These beans, my pick, seem interesting not only for thir pretty color, but because you can eat the whole pod steamed, later as shelling beans and you can even leave them on the vine to dry and keep over the winter. I've always wanted to try doing my own dried beans. Obviously we'll only get enough for about one pot of soup from our tiny garden, but it will be a fun experiment. Romanesco: I've wanted to try this one for awhile and finally have an excuse to do so. The electric green whorls and tips look like modern art.
Mexican Sour Gherkin: They're tiny, they're cute, and they taste "already pickled," what's not to love?
Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry: I'm so excited for this one! I've never even tasted a ground cherry before. We've had great success with tomatillos (almost too much success; they reseed themselves with exhuberance!), so I'm optimistic that these will do well.
Strawberry Spinach: Okay, get ready for your mind to be blown; spinach with little mulberry-esque berries growing on the stems!!! I know!!! Your mind is totally blown. I think this is the plant I'm most excited about; I can't wait to try it.
Hardy Kiwi: I've always wanted to try growing kiwis. We're going to put some trellises along the south side of the house, so that's where these will live. I know quite a few people who have successfully grown these in Maine, so I have high hopes for them here.
Rich Sweetness Melon: Another climbing plant for the trellises. These melons are tiny, so won't weigh a trellised plant down, and the melons are ridiculously sweet, so they say.
How about you? Anything new and exciting going into the ground at your place this spring?