The following are new plants to me:

          Edamine beans:  These are soybeans in which you eat the tender beans. Directions call for careful watching to not let the beans get too mature. In Japan, pods are cooked in salt water and then the beans are popped out directly into the mouth. I sent for “Black Pearl” that look like lentils but have all the magic of soybeans.

          Bulls Blood Beets: I like to plant these at the base of my tall lilies.  I had some last year and they have big red leaves which are edible like spinach leaves. Since lilies like partial shade, so did the beets as I was growing them for the leaves.

          PURPLE DRAGON CARROTS: The pictures are fun as the outside is bright purple and the inside a bright orange. Can’t you imagine slices like this in a salad? My Cockatiels love carrots that I have shredded so they will get their share. Like all carrots they will need deep, loose soil or their roots won’t grow straight.  To keep carrot fly maggots away, I will cover my row with Remay (row cover) until they get fairly tall.  Carrots also need crop rotation of at least 3 years to prevent blight from taking over.  

          BULE GOURD: A bumpy, warty 8 inch gourd that turns brown when dry.  It can be carved like a pumpkin for Halloween but will dry hard and not rot like the pumpkins so one can save their art for winter fun.

          RED LIGHTNING TOMATOES: These are pictured as a medium sized tomato with a super good taste but they are the brightest red with yellow stripes running length wise. Think of my salad of purple and orange carrots and then add red and yellow striped tomatoes. I started them under lights during March and then will move them to 4 inch pots as soon as they are 1 to 2 inches high. They will be set out in the garden in May. Usually I pull the lower set of leaves off and set the plant into the ground up to the next set of leaves.  That part of the stem will also grow roots to help feed and hold up a big 5 to 6 foot plant.  I cage my plants with cement reinforcing wire fencing as those tomatoes are heavy. Fourth of July are my earliest tomatoes. Celebrity is the best producers for me and Big Mama is the biggest Roma type tomato I grow.

          JAPANESE STRIPED MAIZE: Somewhere I am going to find room for this plant. This corn is listed as having green, yellow, and pink leaves with the tassels dark purple and the ear kernels burgundy. Maybe I could try to grow it in the two pots on either side of my front door. I usually have the dark Purple Millet (“Purple Majesty”) there. The ears are not listed for “good eating”.

          Several years ago I had Cavemen gourds which are big, heavy things with a long handle and spikes on the fruit end.  They really did look like an ancient weapon.  Last summer was SWAN GOURDS with a large base and a long curved neck. After drying my neighbor painted one white and made “him” some feet and I added eyes from the craft shop. He sits in the South window with my house plants. You may have seen it on the first BACKYARD FARMER program the other day. These gourds need a long season to be mature enough to harvest. We drilled a hole underneath to get the seeds out so he could dry faster. 

          SNAKE, PENGUIN & Russian Doll gourds: This year I have seeds of Penguin and Russian Doll gourds as well as some Snakes. Remember gourds need lots of sun and water. They don’t like frost so I usually start them inside the latter part of March.  They start out big and vigorous so I put the seeds (2) in 4 inch pots to start.  The hotter it gets the faster they grow. In the fall let them dry out until you can hear the seeds rattle inside. You may have to cut a hole and clean it out. Then lightly sand with steel wool, and paint with acrylic paint. An undercoat is recommended followed by finish coat. Craft stores have all kinds of decorations, eyes, buttons, etc.

          EASTER EGG PLANT: For years I have been seeing these plants in the catalog with their colored “eggs” hanging down in bunches, supposedly the size of a hen egg. They are cream, yellow, orange and green in color. I didn’t find them in the regular eggplant section but in the “ornamentals” so they may not be so good eating. I sure do want to try one.


 Somehow a general opinion is that bark is a “waste product” to be used for paths and lately a major portion of some potting soils.  An article in Mother Earth News reminds us that aspirin is made from the bark of a willow tree, and of course cinnamon is peeled, dried tree bark. Native Americans ate the inner bark of Pine trees, Cedars and Cottonwood during the winter. They also made tree bark soups, breads, and puddings.  If you read the history of many of our trees, their bark was and is used for many medicinal purposes.

Copyright 2006