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Unusual Vegetables & Herbs

Why have a red tomato when there is a green one with stripes that tastes just as good and there must be a reason why that heirloom pumpkin has been popular for several hundred years!
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Why have a red tomato when there is a green one with stripes that tastes just as good and there must be a reason why that heirloom pumpkin has been popular for several hundred years!

Kings Seeds prides itself on including in its range many unique varieties that are a little bit outside the box, so to speak. Check out the following list of flowers and vegetables. They could be classed as a bit unusual but they’re all very popular and worth including in your garden this growing season if you don’t have them on your list already.

Banana Ornamental Pink
Most banana palms are thought of as being large, tall and waving about in a tropical breeze. Instead Ornamental Pink is a dwarf compact species ideally suited for growing in our temperate climate in a large pot in your conservatory. When mature, they produce attractive orange-yellow flowers followed by small bunches of fluoro pink edible fruit.

Cosmos Chocolate
Unique in that it’s the only perennial Cosmos species, whereas the rest are annuals but also that it actually has a fragrance somewhat like Chocolate. The flowers are about the size of a 10 cent piece on quite tall thin stems so plants are best placed close together to gain a striking effect.
At the end of autumn, the plant dies back to a minimal amount of foliage atop a small dahlia like root.

Echinacea Green Twister
Echinacea usually comes in single colours but Green Twister is different with bi-colour green-tipped petals brightening to an increasingly carmine red centre. Another colourful plus is, that in the second season the stems have a pretty deep burgundy hue. Not to forget, bees and butterflies are attracted to them and they make a great cut flower and an interesting dried one.

Marigold Chameleon 
Talk about diverse plant genes, this amazing Marigold can have single, semi-double and crested blooms in varying amounts of yellow, gold, orange and red. No two plants are exactly the same. Vigorous and hardy, Chameleon will flower for you most of the summer months.

Nigella Transformer
Not only are yellow petals an uncommon colour for a Nigella, but the seed pod that forms afterwards is also quite different with upright cylindrical segments that split and rosette. They look great en masse with the added bonus of being an excellent dried flower.


Carrot Purple Dragon
Carrots weren’t always orange! In fact, the original carrots of the Middle East and Afghanistan, in particular, were more of a purple and black colour. It wasn't until Dutch vegetable breeders became involved in the 17th Century and wanted to honour the Dutch Royal Family.  As they belonged to The House Of Orange, we got the orange carrot of today. Purple carrots can be just as sweet, crisp and tasty as their orange cousins when grown well in fertile free draining sandy loams. Celebrate the old and call them new.


Originating from the forests of South America, this vining plant has a prolific number of small cucumber-like fruit that are best eaten young raw or pickled. Traditional medicine also saw them used to alleviate high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. In the garden, they’re great for splitting open and rubbing into dry or irritated skin, soothing a lot like Aloe Vera does. They’re a no-fuss sort of plant to grow over the summer months and into the autumn, happily scrambling up a fence, down a bank or over a handy shrub.
Have some fun with your friends, the Caigua palmate leaves look very similar to Cannabis leaves.

Kiwano Horned Melon.
Also known as the African Horned Cucumber or the Jelly Melon. Growing like a bushy Cucumber but with tiny little prickles on the stems that warrant using gloves when handling it, the prolific fruit with pronounced "horns" ripen to a warm golden colour. The interior is jammed full of lime green gel encased seed that’s got a mild but refreshing taste and goes brilliantly in a summer fruit salad or served on its own with a garnish of cracked pepper on top, scooped out and eaten with a spoon. Mature fruit store quite happily for several weeks in the fruit bowl.


Bitter Melon Karela
If you haven’t grown Bitter Melons before, give them a try this season. A popular item in many Asian cuisines, they are quite bland in taste but readily absorb the spicy and aromatic flavours they’re cooked with. They provide valuable plant bulk that’s recognised as being beneficial to our digestive system and neutralizing blood sugars. Easy to grow, sow from Labour Weekend onwards and give them a trellis to grow over in a sunny position.

Okra Jing Orange
Not all Okra has green skin! Jing Orange is an Asian heirloom okra with funky reddish-orange skin. Okra fruit starts off with a hibiscus-like flower that only blooms for a day before being quickly replaced with a fruit that sizes up in a matter of days. It can look great in the flower garden as well as being a productive vegetable plant.

Pea Shiraz
How novel is this - a purple podded Snow Pea or mange tout (eat all) to liven up your summer salads or stir fry dishes. Still crisp and sweet like a regular green snow pea, an added bonus is the edible two-tone purple and pink flower.

This is listed in our Vegetable Section as the flowers buds are harvested to add colour to cocktails but it's also a member of the Hibiscus family and has a profusion of attractive flowers that wouldn’t be amiss in the flower border.

Remember, it's best to wait a bit longer, until Mother Nature warms up a bit,
before sowing your seed. Sow later for the best results.
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