Growing new and different vegetables in the garden is not only a challenging hobby, but also helps to add interest and appreciation for meals. This year I had selected several to try.
Caraflex Cabbage from Veseys Seeds caught my eye with its atypical shape ending in a high point, similar to the popular shape of European cabbages. They proved to be a success and had enormous outer leaves the size of a dinner plate, ideal for making into large cabbage rolls. They also cut wonderfully into thin slices for tender coleslaw. Caraflex Cabbage develops a small centre core so there is little waste. I froze several large leaves flat on top of each other in zip-lock bags to use for cabbage rolls throughout the winter. This will definitely be grown again in the garden.
The Asparagus Peas were true to the catalogue’s word. The cooked little pods really did taste just like asparagus. I only had one problem – they got stringy once they reached the size of 1-1/2 inches long. So, as suggested on the seed package, pick them small and enjoy a fine little delicacy (with of course, a smothering of butter).
Bean Basket is not new, but it was a first for me to try. Three colourful varieties of tender bean seeds were mixed in one package. Tendergreen is a bean that turned out as sure as its name – tender and green. Kentucky Wonder yellow wax beans complemented the green beans and the dark, ruby-coloured pods of Royal Burgundy gave the collection a sharp contrast. They all held their colour well when only cooked slightly for a salad, but Royal Burgundy lost its beautiful dark colour and turned green when cooked to tender, and this disappointed me, as I would have liked to see all three colours. But, it was much easier to plant one row of mixed beans in the garden than to grow three different rows.
So in mid-winter when the seed catalogues arrive, select something new to try in next year’s garden. It just may become a favourite!
– Lillian Deedman writes from Killarney, Manitoba