Garden Plans for 2012: New & Unique Vegetables

Despite the totally muddy state of disrepair that the garden is displaying right now and despite the lingering memories of last summer, we are forging ahead with our plans for the garden this year!

One of the themed gardens we are planning for this year is New and Unique Vegetables. Of courses, this is right up my alley!

This is a smaller bed, at slightly less than 12 feet long, with our typical 4 feet wide. Because we aren’t quite sure when we’ll be able to plant, we have plans for regular May planting, with a long list of options if something goes wrong and we can’t plant until July or August. (If we get to that point, I’ll share those ideas with you. Assuming you are still reading this blog when all I have to say is along the lines of, “Gee, maybe we’ll plant something sometime maybe.”)

But we are still positive and hopeful that we will be able to plant by sometime in May to early June. Just like we’re hopeful that this coming summer won’t be so terribly hot.

Anyway, let’s talk a little bit about what’s in this garden.

There are two types of zucchini – one is yellow and the other green. The fun part about these squash is that they both are striped squash. So while the plants aren’t crazy out there, the zucchinis themselves should be interesting.

Then there are the 2 eggplant. Even I can’t avoid eggplant every year. We managed to have ZERO eggplants in the garden last year, so I guess it is okay to have a couple this year. (And in the interest of full disclosure, I did eat a quite good eggplant dish at one of the local Indian restaurants last weekend. Anything is edible with enough spices…!) One of the eggplants is a white variety that produces small, egg-sized fruit. ‘Prosperosa’ is an Italian eggplant that is not the full dark purple, and instead of being an oblong, teardrop shape is much more rounded with slight ruffling near the stem.

Two tomatoes – although technically only one is a tomato. ‘Indigo Rose’ is the new purple tomato that is a very dark purple with an orange/red interior. The skin is supposed to get darker with more exposure to sun. The second “tomato,” the Litchi Tomato is technically not a tomato at all, although it is a cousin. The plant itself looks more like an eggplant, and the fruit are the size of cherry tomatoes with caps kind of like tomatillos. It is very sweet in flavor, but the plant protects its fruit well with prickles on the caps, stems, and leaves.

We are going to continue to make good use of our cattle panel trellises throughout the garden, and on this trellis we are growing one melon and one squash. The melon, ‘Lambkin,’ is a type of melon called “Piel de Sapo” or “skin of the frog.” Sounds appetizing, right? Actually, I had one of these melons at a farmers market in Rochester, MN a couple summers ago, and it was incredibly sweet with an interesting floral flavor. I’m excited for us to grow it here! The squash we had originally selected was a tricolor acorn squash, but we are already on plan B for that one…tentatively we are going to try ‘Fairy’ Squash, which is a 2 1/2 lb. winter squash that doesn’t seem to readily fit into any of the normal winter squash categories.

So those are some of the different things we’re trying this year…are you trying anything new or unique in your garden this year?


About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on February 9, 2012, in Around the Garden and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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