Monday, February 9, 2009

Some Veggies Of Interest

As with most veggie gardeners, I am on the look out for a few interesting things to try each year. I am particularly interested in heirloom veggies that are a little out of the ordinary. This year I am going to try the following varieties, they have all been found in books, veggie blogs or seed houses:

Armenian Cucumber - Cucumis melo var. flexuosus

A member of the melon family, they are very long & thin skinned.
They are light green, very crunchy and mild tasting like a cucumber.

Romanesco Broccoli -Brassica oleracea var. botrytis

Originates from Northern Italy, light green with spiraled florets. It is one
beautiful looking veggie! It is good fresh, stemmed & boiled. Freezes well.

Crimson Flowered Broad Bean - Vicia faba

This broad bean was recorded as long ago as 1778 although they had never
been commercially available. If it was not for an elderly lady donating the seed
to Henry Doubleday seed saving group in 1978 it may have become extinct.

(Seed & Photo from Down on the Allotment )

Cocozelle Zucchini - Cucurbita pepo

A bush type zucchini, grows two feet high, good for smaller spaces. Best eaten
from baby size up to seven inches. A pleasant nutty flavored flesh.

Australian YellowLeaf Lettuce - Lactuca sativa

A bright, almost neon chartreuse coloured lettuce. Heavily textured
leaves are tender, sweet & can grow to sixteen inches long. Slow to bolt.

Now I just have to figure out the rest of my varieties and order them all. I better hurry as I have already noticed some seed is selling out.

All these varieties can be found at Pinetree Garden Seeds except for the crimson flowered broad beans, they can be purchased from Heritage Harvest Seed.


  1. You have some really unique varieties. Very cool.

  2. I've never seen the cucumber before, the brocolli looks different, too, and the zuchini .. emm .. delicious. They'll make great salads.

  3. I'm so glad to know the cucumber is really a melon so I can grow it. I really wonder what the taste is like. You will have to let us all know how the yellow lettuce grows. I'm always looking for slow bolting lettuce. It seems most of the ones I'm trying are red. I could use a good yellow-green one.

  4. All look very interesting. It's great to find a favorite supplier. This year I ordered vegetable seeds from William Dam Seed / and The Cottage Gardener which is all organic. I found the prices to be reasonable and then they are both in Ontario.

  5. Those are some really interesting choices you have there Dan! When we were in Germany and had a garden with our German friends, they did not know about zucchini. We taught them and it grew well over there. I find it interesting how things are different around the world.

  6. We grew Armenian Cucumber 2 years ago and really liked its mild flavor. It was also very prolific. My husband usually isn't fond of the taste of cucumber but he liked this. I am planning to start Armenian Cucumber seeds this year. The ones I tried last year didn't make it.

  7. Dan, that spiky thing looks really strange! I can't wait to see how you prepare that one for eating.


  8. Tina - It will be fun to grow some new things this year and from seed.

    Blossom - They will make great salad, I can't wait!

    Daphne - It will be interesting to taste the so called cucumber, it seems others like the taste. Maybe we can do a trade for some of the Australian Yellowleaf lettuce.

    Salix - I have been to William Dam but have not looked at Cottage Gardener. I have heard good things though, I will have to check them out.

    Skeeter - There sure is alot of diversity in the plant world. I can't wait to make some deep fried zucchini blossoms this summer!

    Chris - Thanks for the info on the cucumber, they look very good and now I know they taste good too.

    EG - The spiky broccoli does look very strange. I think even though they class it as a broccoli I am guess it is more like a cauliflower taste by the looks of it.

  9. Man, that broccoli looks like it's on acid.

    One exotic I am doing right now is komatsuna, japanese mustard spinach. The young leaves are used like spinace, the older leaves are used like chard. It has a bit more bit like a mustard green, but is bolt resistant, which is why I picked it up.

  10. Red Icculus - It sure does look like it is on acid, almost like something Jimi Hendrix puked up, lol.

    I will have to look that veggie up. Those asian veggies are all very interesting.

  11. I've not heard of Australian lettuce before but am intrigued by the colouration. I tried that kind of cuke last year but it wasn't the right year for heat vegetables at least not where I planted it.

  12. Ottawa Gardener - The Australian Yellowleaf is new to me as well. I just read about it in "Heirloom Vegetables" by Sue Stickland. It is a really good book.

  13. Dan- Some really neat looking vegetables. Never really heard about the crimson flowered broad bean. I might have to look into that one further.
    Greg Spinks

  14. Koyote Hill - I had not even heard of broad beans until last season when a few gardeners grew them. These crimson flowered broad bean are one nice looking variety for sure.

  15. That's some amazing looking broccoli! Looks like I may have to track down some seeds of that type myself.

    We eat broccoli like it's a competitive sport around my house.

  16. hydroponica - Broccoli is the best, I am going to grow a whole raised bed and hopefully harvest two crops this season.

    You should have no problem tracking down the Romanesco Broccoli, I even saw it at Lowes this year. Of course it was double the price Pinetree had it for sale for.