Exotic vegetables and herbs that grow almost on their own
Among our favorite salads, carrots and tomatoes on our beds, exotic species are increasingly found, which few have heard of before. And some of them are so unpretentious leafy vegetables and herbs that once they get to the garden they will forever remain in the garden. Perennial, easy-to-sowing summers or perfectly propagated by self-sowing, they are very useful and grow almost by themselves. In this article I’ll talk about unusual for us, but very promising crops that you can sow already this season.
1. Kale cabbage
The most beautiful and easiest to grow kale is a vegetable that is enough to try to fall in love forever. Mediterranean cuisine and nutritionists have made kale the most popular side dish in the world. And the elegant appearance is the most beautiful vegetable in the garden. A place for kale can be found even on the flower garden.
Kale, or Kale, Brauncol, Bruncol and Gruncol (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) Is an annual “winter” vegetable. This cabbage does not form a head, but only stunningly beautiful rosettes of curly or densely wrinkled, green or purple leaves with a height of 50 cm to more than a meter. Kale is considered the oldest cabbage.
Conditions and care: a sunny place with fertile soil, watering, loosening the soil or mulching, if possible - several top dressings per season.
The taste of kale leaves changes during the season from tender to harsh and vice versa, as does the texture of the leaves. In autumn, winter and early spring or when freezing, it is the most delicious. Use feces as a “coarse” spinach in fresh form and for all types of cooking. It can be pickled, stewed, stewed, fried. Chips are even made from feces.
2. Cabbage pak choi
Thanks to the popularization of Asian cuisine, pak choi has also entered our diet. It has unique taste and amazing texture, and the bushes are charmingly elegant.
Chinese kale, pak choy, pok choy or bok choy (Brassica rapa var. chinensis) - "petiole" variety of Chinese cabbage, not heading out, but growing in the form of very neat bottle-shaped bushes from neat dark leaves sitting on fleshy white petioles. This two-year-old cabbage is one of the most unpretentious and decorative cabbage. It looks good as a decoration in mixed plantings.
Conditions and care: He loves coolness, withstands frosts, sows in early spring or in the second half of autumn on sunny places with loose nutritious soil, likes regular watering (the more stable the humidity, the tastier the pack).
Pak Choi is good everywhere - in soups and as a side dish, in salads and stews. And cooked in a matter of minutes for a couple, when frying, boiling and pickling. The most valuable thing in it is white thick leaf cuttings. Separately unprepossessing, but the taste is transformed in dressings and sauces, showing its unique texture, changing beyond recognition.
The outward similarity of chard and young beet leaves should not be misleading. Mangold is an absolute record holder in minerals and an indispensable vegetable with much more interesting culinary talents, a colorful decoration of any composition.
Chard (Beta vulgaris) - a grassy biennial that reproduces well by self-sowing. Bushes with large wrinkled leaves on thick colored petioles look very neat and vaguely resemble spinach. Varieties with different color of petioles - white, red, yellow, orange, with different shapes, degree of wrinkling and shade of leaves, but equally unpretentious.
Conditions and care: moist, fertile soils, sunny or semi-shaded places, watering only in prolonged drought, weeding can be replaced by mulching.
The chard is good fresh, as an alternative to spinach, salads and cabbage. Rolls, fillings, side dishes, soups, main dishes, snacks are prepared from it.
4. Cucumber grass
The huge bushes of cucumber grass that “roam” in the garden and spread almost like a weed, renewing every year, are very decorative. The taste of greenery of this outlandish “hedgehog” is difficult to evaluate immediately. But it’s worth a “closer look”.
Borage, Borage, or Cucumber Grass (Borago) - annual up to 1 m high with more often ascending, thick, ribbed, branching at the top of the stem. It has oval leaves at the base and lanceolate at the top. A stiff whitish fringe is strikingly prickly, even covering beautiful ultramarine-blue flowers, even gathered in curls.
Conditions and care: any loose fertile soil, from the sun to full shade, for a better “crop” you need watering and pinching of the shoots.
This is one of the oldest edible and melliferous crops. Young leaves with a touch of onion are used fresh and as an alternative to spinach. The taste and texture are improved by pickling and adding to delicate dressings and sauces. You can collect leaves before the appearance of flower arrows. The roots of the plant are used to produce green paste and oil. Even flowers that are especially good in candied and dried form are suitable for food.
Few plants in terms of vitamins, essential oils and their prophylactic properties can compete with wild garlic. Previously, it was sought in the markets in early spring, contributing to the extermination in nature. And today they are increasingly growing themselves.
Wild garlic, or wild onion (Allium tricoccum) Is an onion plant under protection. Wild garlic forms large groups, growing in large families. It has elongated bulbs that produce paired, lanceolate or oblong, with a narrow stalk leaves and strong trihedral shoots, crowned with thick umbrellas of white inflorescences.
Conditions and care: similar to lilies of the valley (at the same time wild garlic should be placed at a great distance from poisonous flowers, eliminating the risk of confusion) - a place under the trees, in secluded lighting, with wet loam. It requires almost no maintenance, but will not refuse to water in a protracted drought.
With a sharp garlic taste, bright leaves of wild garlic are harvested young - before the air temperature rises to 20 degrees in the afternoon. They are consumed fresh, like a salad or seasoning, pickled, canned, and prepared with vitamin pastas.
Some time ago, cute red-violet bushes of marie or loboda appeared on the shelves along with salads as a “novelty." Today, gauze is back in fashion. Once appearing in the garden, this new old vegetable will remain there forever: quickly spreading by self-sowing loboda (despite annuality) does not require any efforts for new crops.
Mary, or Good Henry's Blitumshe whole leaf (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) Is one of the oldest leafy plants, a herbaceous perennial in which leaves and shoots are very similar to spinach to taste. The gummy white coating on the strong bushes of thick, almost non-branching shoots, hidden under the long petiolate, large, arrow-shaped leaves, seems special.
Multi-colored varieties have become a real sensation. Actually, it was thanks to them that the gauze, once squeezed out of the diet by garden spinach, returned to fashion again.
Conditions and care: moist, but not moist places, loose nutritious soil, tolerates well with the sun, and with shading, requires only rare watering and mulching for the winter, but can grow without leaving.
Harvest of Mari is harvested not only in the spring, but throughout the season. Young shoots are used as an analogue of asparagus, leaves as spinach, inflorescences as a substitute for broccoli.
Other useful unpretentious exotics
And if these plants did not impress you, take a look at other non-standard crops:
- spicy buds daylily;
- young shoots ostrich;
- edible, but therefore no less decorative fiery red bean;
- aggressively expanding, if not almost eradicating Jerusalem artichoke;
- young leaves and flowers katrana seaside;
- original varieties sorrel;
- perennial bows (including multi-tiered Egyptian onions, slime, chives, batun, fragrant).
It is difficult to refuse from growing lovagefar from boring rhubarbvariegated and conventional varieties horseradishSouth American favorites okra, strawberry spinach (or lunar strawberries), perennial fennel and asparagus.
Expand your boundaries and try unfamiliar vegetables, many of which will be a great addition to the “compulsory” set!