Thursday, May 3, 2012

Try Growing a New Vegetable in 2012

As I wrote in a previous post, “Choosing Which Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden,” I stated that I’m going to try growing a new vegetable this year, something I’ve never grown before. I’m going to give kohlrabi a try. I’ve seen it on cooking shows a number of times and quiet frankly, am intrigued by the way it looks.

I thought I’d a list a few more vegetables to give a try in your own organic vegetable garden this year and provide a place for people to list their “must haves” and own suggestions.

These are not new varieties and perhaps are vegetables you’ve already heard of. They’re veggies that have peaked my interest and all can be grown in Maine.


If you can grow turnips in your area, then you can grow kohlrabi as well. Kohlrabi is a turnip-like member of the cabbage family. This veggie prefers well drained soil and thrives in cool temperatures.

The bulb and young leaves are the edible portions of this vegetable. From what I’ve read, (I’ve never tried it) kohlrabi has a broccoli stem or cabbage taste and comes in purple, green, and white. I plan on eating some cooked and raw and pickling the rest.


Tomatillos are small fruits in the tomato family. They are protected by a papery husk and are eaten when green or yellow and primarily used in Mexican cooking. Some people eat raw tomatillos which are tart in flavor. Cooking them takes the tartness away.

Tomatillos can be grown from seed but in Maine’s short growing season I’d recommend starting your own plants indoors or opting for seedlings. When husks are dry and begin splitting tomatillos are ready for picking. Tomatillos still wrapped in their husks can store for up to a month in the fridge.

Mini Mexican Watermelons

Mini Mexican watermelons are a great fruit to try in your garden this year. They grow on vines which can be supported by a trellis or old fence. The fruit are roughly the size of grapes when fully mature.

Don’t be fooled by the name though because these mini watermelons taste more like cucumbers than traditional watermelon. They’re great for pickling or eating fresh from the garden. (These are on my list to try next year)


Do you like broccoli and cauliflower? Can’t decide which one to grow? Why not try a cross between the two? Broccoflower tastes similar to broccoli and cauliflower with a slightly sweeter taste.

Broccoflower can be substituted for broccoli, cauliflower or both in recipes. This vegetable is tender and shouldn’t be overcooked. You can also eat it raw straight from the garden.


Fiddleheads are a spring delicacy in Maine. The young, coiled shoots are found in the wild along riverbeds and streams. If you’re not the foraging type, why not try growing fiddleheads yourself?

In Maine, the ostrich fern grows particularly well. They can be identified by the brown, paper-like covering on the uncoiled section of the fern. The University of Maine extension advises to properly wash and cook fiddleheads before eating them. 

Which new to you vegetables are you going to try growing in your garden this year? Have any suggestions? 

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