Setting up a vegetable bed in the garden is a uniquely rewarding and enjoyable hobby. It has the rare status of being one of the few hobbies which can result in a net profit, allowing you to remain self-sufficient and fed without too many expensive trips to the supermarket.
There are a few standbys most gardens adhere to. Lettuce grows densely, cheaply, and can make for dozens of salads. Basil on the windowsill will allow for most Italian cooking, while a semi-established tomato plant provides the base to most meals. Yet for the adventurous gardener there are plenty of exotic and wonderful plants to invest in, some of which you'll find below.
This is an odd plant. Initially it will seem familiar to many gardeners. Simply sow the seeds in modules during the early spring, and once it begins to sprout the new leaves can be picked for use in salads. It's very similar to spinach, and there's little to differentiate the plant until summer. Later in the year it will flower, and produce sweet tasting red fruits, very much like strawberries in taste. Having a specimen which can't decide whether it's a vegetable or a fruit is amusing enough, and if you let a few of the fruits go to seed the plant will easily regrow next year. As plant that can be easily harvested from early spring through summer, it's definitely worth a go.
This is one for the more advanced gardeners among you, or at least the more patient. Oca tubers taste remarkably like potatoes, though you'll notice an enjoyable hint of lemon about them. They are quite slow growing, however, so you'll need to set some space and time aside. Leave three tubers in a large pot of compost during the spring, the earlier the better since you won't be able to harvest them until late autumn, so any head start is handy. Just keep them in a greenhouse while the weather's still cold, since they can be sensitive to frost. By the end of autumn they should definitely have formed, so feel free to dig them up and enjoy.
These are pleasant fruits with a taste comparable to squash. They're suitable for use in stir-fries or for steaming. You'll be most attracted to their unique appearance, with the long green fruit twisting in a rampant manner. Initially sow the seeds in pots around late spring, then move them to the ground for June. In a sunny, sheltered spot they're happy in greenhouses or handy polytunnels, though growth will be vigorous enough it may be best not to set your heart on them sharing the space with any other plants.
Growing something a little unique can vastly improve the interest of your garden, and any of these specimens has enough merit to qualify for inclusion. See if you've got space, check out a few other breeds and see if anything strikes your fancy.Exotic Vegetables For Home Growing
Home gardening can all be about grow your own kits from online retailers, but Alan Cray likes to think people are capable of caring for more exotic varieties than cress and kidney beans.