What Are You Planting This Year? 5 Unique Edibles to Try

Browsing through "The Cook's Garden” fills me with inspiration for the coming season, and I've already got my wish list jotted down to prove it.

by Jessica Walliser
5 Unique Edibles to Grow in Your Garden - Photo courtesy annaheathen/Flickr (HobbyFarms.com)
Courtesy annaheathen/Flickr

One of my favorite garden catalogs arrived in the mail today. Browsing through “The Cook’s Garden” fills me with inspiration for the coming season, and I’ve already got my wish list jotted down to prove it. Here are some of the unique varieties that will be new to my garden this season.

Masterpiece Pea
For the first time, I’ll be growing a pea variety for its edible shoots, rather than for its pods or seeds (though, trust me, I’ll still be growing other varieties for those, too!). Masterpiece pea grows quickly, so a few short weeks after planting, I’ll be harvesting 6-inch-long shoots for the salad bowl. I first had pea shoots on a sandwich at a restaurant in New England, and I found their crunch and spring-like flavor really delightful. I can’t wait to grow my own.

Sunrise Edamame
I’ve grown soybeans before, but only for drying. This will be my first attempt at growing them for green harvests. The fuzzy pods of Sunrise edamame are ready for picking in about 80 days, when I can snap them off the plant, boil them for a few minutes in salted water, and pop the seeds out of their pods and into my mouth. I’ve always wanted to make homegrown edamame hummus, and this is going to be the year I do it.

Golden Sweet Snow Pea
This is another pea that will find a new home in my garden this year—but this time for its flat, golden yellow pods. This climbing snow pea has beautiful purple flowers, so it’s as ornamental as it is edible. I plan to grow it along the garden fence. Pods are harvested in 65 days. I always grow Oregon Snow as my standby snow pea selection, but I’m looking forward to adding this bright newcomer to the mix.

Collective Farm Woman Melon
I have a tough time growing melons in my western-Pennsylvania garden. My season isn’t quite long enough, and they don’t often like the humid summers we have here. But this heirloom variety matures in just 60 days—now that I can handle! I’m going to start this yellow, smooth-skinned melon by direct seeding it into the garden, rather than trying to get an early start by sowing seeds indoors, like I do with other melons. I shouldn’t need an early start with such a short season variety. Cross fingers!

Kalibos Cabbage
I’ve grown conical shaped cabbage in the past (New Jersey Wakefield to be specific), but never a variety as strikingly beautiful as this one! Kalibos is an heirloom cabbage with a cone-shaped head rather than a rounded one. The tightly curled heads are a gorgeous purple, and when the leaves open, they turn a dusky blue with purple venation. Plus, the taste is mild even when used raw in salads and slaws.

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