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QUIRKY CROPPERS

Bored of beetroot? Tiring of tomatoes? Fed up with French beans? Then grow something completely different, downright eccentric even! Benedict Vanheems offers some less-than-usual crops to try
Photo: Karen Blakeman

Don’t get me wrong, I love common or garden vegetables as much as the next gardener. You can’t beat a just-picked, sun-warmed tomato, a densely fleshed nutty courgette or the first of the season’s new potatoes. Oh, and personally I’d be lost without the ever-versatile Swiss chard!

Our regular line-up of dependables forms a very solid foundation to the kitchen garden. We grow them because we know them but also because we love ’em! But another reason we tend and toil is to try new things – the sorts of rare, tasty treasures you just won’t find in the supermarkets.

Every growing season I resolve to plant something a little zany. It’s a bit of fun but perhaps more importantly a great way to broaden those culinary horizons. Last year it was pots of lemongrass – perfect for adding a punch of freshness to Thai dishes. This year it’s the turn of heritage squashes, warts (literally!) ‘n’ all.

So let’s open our minds and admire a catwalk of quirky crops. Most may be unfamiliar but that doesn’t necessarily make them difficult to grow. In fact, some are even easier than their better-known alternatives. Are you ready for a line-up of weird but wonderful? Great stuff – then let the show commence!

Offer Malabar spinach adequate support to climb high
Photo: F Delventhal
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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Kitchen Garden Magazine - 271 - April 2020
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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine! In this issue: BRASSICAS ARE THE BEST ✪ Meet Carl Walters, winner of the Best Crop category in our annual competition A CUE FOR THE GREAT OUTDOORS ✪ The latest award-winning outdoor cucumber varieties revealed ALL ABUZZ ON THE PLOT Stephanie Hafferty is busy but still finds time to listen to the equally busy bees And much more!