Ever get the urge to try something new but have no idea what? Have a look at some of these more unusual things that you can pop into your garden in the cooler months. If your interest is piqued, you'll find an amazing amount of detailed information on Google, including lots of different ways to cook these vegetables and how to make the most of their medicinal properties.
This beet is an old Italian Heirloom variety and is, therefore, sometimes referred to as Italian Silver Rib. It is a silverbeet/chard that has wide stems that are white with dark green crinkled leaves. The plant has really good flavour and is easy to keep crisp when cooking due to the wide stem. Plants can handle a wide range of weather conditions and are ready to pick 55 days from direct sowing.
Collards are large dark green loose leaf plants in the same family as cabbage and broccoli, very similar to kale. It is believed to be a descendant of wild cabbage from 2000 years ago in Europe which was loose leafed and didn’t form a head.
Collard is a part of the staple diet of South American, East African, Southern Europe and Southern Asian cooking. Sow and cook Collards as you would kale from late summer through to spring and they will be ready to use 80 days from transplanting.
Recent studies have shown cooked Collard greens help to lower cholesterol and support digestive systems due to it triggering anti-inflammatory activity. The high fibre content (approx 7 grams per cup) and minerals help to protect the health of the stomach lining, preventing an overgrowth of bacteria. This makes it a good choice for anyone suffering inflammatory bowel disease such as irritable bowel or Crohns disease or cadiovascular problems.
Since the 16th century, generations of gardeners in northern Italy have grown Romanesco Broccoli. It is also referred to as Broccolo Romanesco, Roman Cauliflower or Romanesque Cauliflower. As I am a big fan of cauliflower I love this vegetable. It has the texture and crunch of cauliflower but the taste of regular Broccoli, forming highly decorative light green clusters of heads that come to a conical point.
Occasionally I have seen this vegetable being sold in farmers markets and it is worth buying to try before you decide whether to grow it. If you do grow it ensure you pick before spears flower. Cool weather suits this variety as heads develop so an early spring or autumn planting is recommended. It takes approx 75 days to mature from direct sowing.
European winter Radishes are not as well known as the summer varieties but we find this radish is of interest to our customers. The black skinned radish grows to 10cm in diameter and while the tough black skin is somewhat bitter, the inner flesh is white, crisp and mild in flavour when compared to the summer radishes. To achieve a really mild tasting radish, peel the skin off and just use the creamy-white flesh.
These radishes date back to medieval European times where they were grown because of their hardiness, making them available in the garden when not much else was. They like to be directly sown, mature in 60 days and survive frosts when mature.
Create a healthy blast of black radish by juicing them. The juice helps the liver to produce fats and proteins to deal with bile and assist the digestive system to work well.
The benefits of burdock are well known for herbal medicines to purify blood, as a natural diuretic, to boost the digestive system and the seeds are used in Chinese medicine for coughs and colds. It is also used for scalp and skin problems.