The English Garden – Unbuyables – November 2009

If you’re going to the trouble of growing something edible, why not take it as an opportunity to open up your larder to a few new flavours?

In this month’s The English Garden I suggest reducing the amount of space you give over to those cheap harvests that taste no different to those you buy in the shops – the maincrop potatoes, the majority of the maincrop onions etc – and replacing them with some of the many foods only available if you grow them yourself…

….things like kai lan, salsify, crystal lemon cucumber (below), cardoons, Jerusalem artichokes, pea tips, mizuna, giant red mustard and red rubine sprouts.

To go with the article, here are a few of the best suppliers for sourcing seeds for unbuyables

Organic Gardening Catalogue
Real Seeds
Sarah Raven
Thomas Etty

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  • You speak well, oh wise one. As I fail to grow potatoes very well every year, I think in 2010 I will choose some more interesting crops to fail with…

  • I endorse that. I am lifting jersualem artichokes and salsify right now. Jersualem artichokes are easy to grow, demand little attention and produce loads of compost material. Salsify isn't hard, apart from confusing the young shoots with grass. It's taste is good, but the smooth sligthly creamy texture is really wonderful. I can also recommend oca (oxalis tuberosum), though this year our yield is well down on that of the last few years.

  • Hi St-O – just noticed yr comment – trying oca for the first time, should be digging up in the next few days…looking forward to it

  • Oca – have grown it – definately better par boiled and then roasted.

    have grown the crystal lemons for about 5 years – every year they are generous, tolerant of bad summers and tasty. Have a glut to eat now – not a burden.

    Can I recommend melothrie from the Real Seed Company. Tiny little cucumber things – and so pretty too.

    I've just found this site – and 17 acres would just about be heaven to play out in growing things.

  • Hello fatbbaby

    thanks for the recent comment – and yes, you may indeed recommend melothrie, I'll order some this weekend. Hope to see you here again