I know ~ they are all vegetables. Or are they ? Three “musts” for your garden this year! No matter how small or large your vegetable garden is, here are three vegetables I highly recommend growing. They will thrive in the corner of your garden (a sunny part) or in a large container.
Reasons for Choice
They are all :
- Very prolific, heavy producers, reliable, fast growing, early continuous harvest, great yields, require novice skills, and minimum care ... and there are lots of tasty ways to eat them ! Also they are all very easy to grow organically.
Varieties: White, crimson, yellow. Information and Individual Growing habits:
- Cool season crop but grow in Pacific NW all summer until snow falls
- This vegetable can be planted early in our spring outside or started inside and transplanted.
- Problem free annual
- Grow in rows (or around the outside of large container)
- If you cut the plant off above the crown, it will grow new leaves
- Like rhubarb and kale, when you pick the outside leaves new leaves continue to grow.
Recipe ideas :
- Leaves and stalks can be cooked together - 10 minutes in small amount of water
- Substitute green leafy part for spinach
- Serve with butter and cooked eggs
- Cook stems only in a white sauce (similar to celery)
- Makes a great omelette (scrambled eggs)
- Freeze same as spinach
- low glycemic index and low-calorie food
Variety: Bush variety, such as Black Beauty in a container. Information and Individual Growing habits:
- Annual of the squash family
- Requires rich (well fertilized) organic soil as voracious feeder
- Pick vegetable when small for continuous supply throughout summer
- Eat raw - Cut Julienne style and serve with other vegetables and dip
- Zucchini Soup (and variations on a theme i.e use in homemade Minestrone soup)
- Fried with garlic and onions (or add tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce)
- Oven roast stuffed zucchini (with cheese and onion or ground meat)
- Zucchini (chocolate) cake
- Can or freeze (grate) surplus
- Try zucchini baked, stewed, fried or raw!
- blossoms too if that suits you - fried
Information and Individual Growing habits:
- It's really a vegetable – but used as a fruit
- Perennial – comes up every year. Root can be purchased at your favourite garden store.
- Very hardy and not fussy
- Lasts about 25 years
- Leaves (boiled) can be used as insecticide but are toxic so keep away from children, pets, etc.
- Divide roots as the plant grows -
- Always leave 3 stalks per root
- Mostly insect free
- Easy – no care but remove flower stalks
- Grows rapidly (pick outside leaves first)
- Do not cook in aluminium pots, pans due to interaction with the acid in rhubarb
- Low glycemic index and low-calorie food (until you sweeten with honey!)
- A bit of Organic Gardening trivia from the 1980's - if you have a squirrel problem in your vegetable garden - plant rhubarb around the outside (perimeter) of the garden as the little furry fellas don't like to go "underneath" it.
- Can be eaten raw – stalk only – leaf as mentioned is poisonous
- Stew and serve cold with Greek yoghurt, nuts and fresh fruit sauce
- Rhubarb (and apple) crumble
- Rhubarb (and blackberry) pie
- Preserves and jams especially when blended with raspberry, strawberry, blueberry
- Jars of preserves are a super gift idea
- Add to other berries to make juice and preserve (no sugar added)
- Makes a great wine when mixed with raspberry (or cherry, or strawberry, or blueberry)
Growing Requirements for all :
- Six or more hours of sunshine per day
- Rich Organic soil
- Should be grown in well-drained soil or container
- Follow directions on seed package
- Grow chemical free
These three vegetables stir up love / hate emotions – especially rhubarb - either you love them or you don't. For me personally the good outweighs the alternative. All are tasty when picked young. Delicious, fun and oh so easy to grow. Happy gardening.
"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."
- Rhubarb can also be used as a laxative. Botanically it is a vegetable but classified as a fruit in the United States. See Wikipedia Rhubarb
- Botanically Zucchini is an immature fruit! See Wikipedia Zucchini
- Swiss Chard has the nickname of perpetual spinach. See Wikipedia Chard