Doctor, The Experiment Was A Success!


Img_0613 In case you’re like me–getting your seed order in LATE–I wanted to mention a few unusual things I planted last season in my boggy vegetable garden in Zone 4 that did really well.

  • True Red Cranberry bean: An heirloom shelling bean–a pole bean–that supposedly goes back to the Native Americans.  The beans are glossy, maroon, acorn-shaped things–really beautiful.  And the flavor is just incredible.  Why bother growing a shelling bean when you can buy a bag of them for a dollar in the grocery store?  One bite of chili made with this one and you’ll get it.
  • Blue Coco bean: A pole bean so beautiful I’d plant it as an ornamental.  But its attractions go beyond its lovely lavender flowers and purple pods. It is also absolutely delicious at every stage–including the just rip them off the vine and stuff them in your mouth stage.
  • Amplissimo Viktoria pea: a pea for drying that makes a really sweet, tasty hummus.
  • Jarrahdale pumpkin: a beautiful grey-blue pumpkin with dense, vibrant orange flesh that makes the creamiest possible pies.
  • Pineapple tomato: A red-streaked yellow variety that produces giant tomatoes a little too watery to be great fresh eating.  This one is, however, a complete standout when roasted in a hot oven for 45 minutes and then tossed with loads of olive oil, sauteed garlic, and rosemary over pasta. I blame these tomatoes for at least four of the seven extra pounds I’m carrying this winter.
  • Japanese Hulless corn:  While the roadside stands near me sell such wonderful corn for corn on the cob that I don’t bother growing it, this variety is fun because it makes great oriental-style baby corn.
  • Sangre potatoes:  Not the tastiest right out of the ground, but an amazing keeper.  We’re still eating them out of my not-so-cool cellar.
  • Patty pan squashes: Beats the pants off of zucchini for tenderness and flavor. 


  1. I adore Jerusalem Artichokes! But I’m having a heckuva time zeroing in on sources for starts or seeds. They also go by the name “Sunchoke” and I think they are also (mistakenly?) called “Kohlrabi” on occasion. Do you ever grow them?

  2. The flowers are blooming and so I think, yes, I’m too late getting in my seed order once again. Then a bitter wind blows and snow dumps on Dallas/Fort Worth and I think, well, maybe it’s not too late after all.

    Depending on your take, Austin either has two weeks of spring between last frost and the furnace blast we call summer, or we have no winter at all.

  3. Queenie, I’m almost exclusively Fedco Seeds these days. Amusing catalog, great prices, terrific selection, recipes and a climate similar to my own.

  4. Does ANYONE out there know what to do to prevent squash vine borers from killing my zucchini in early production stage? I’ve tried: putting tin sleeves around base & into soil when plants are very young.
    Piling on the Sevin. Changing location of planting.

    Maybe planting in a huge pot? We love zucchini, but can’t seem to get away from those borers. Our Ag Center can’t help.

    We are in mid-North Carolina. Help!!

Comments are closed.