Vegetable

Learn about the best varieties and how to grow artichokes to fruit in one season in the North Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript   Most people think of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) as a specialty vegetable from California. When I used to visit the Central California coast each winter, I enjoyed wandering the artichoke fields and eating “chokes” right from farm. But now I can grow artichokes right here in the Northeast, too. With new varieties adapted to our climate, globe artichokes no longer are a specialty item, but a […]

Arugula or rocket (Eruca vesicaria sativa) is an easy to grow, quick maturing Italian green that has rocketed in popularity the last 20 years. I love growing it in cold frames early in spring for the first taste of fresh greens. Because of its cold tolerance it can withstand freezing temperatures and still survive. I’ve even seen a fall crop overwinter with a little winter protection. It’s best eaten while the weather is cool. The dark green, tender leaves have a nutty, spicy flavor. If grown in the heat, overcrowded, […]

Asian greens (Brassica rapa, B. juncea) used to be thought of as just bok choi. However, with the advent of interest in Asian cuisine, people are growing a wide variety of Asian greens with flavors from mild to spicy. Leaf colors range from purple leaved mustards to the white-ribbed Komatsuna. The leaf shapes can be flat and spoon-shaped, long and round, or thin and serrated. I like mixing young or baby Asian greens with milder flavored greens to add a little zip to salads. Try using them in soups and […]

While most vegetables we grow are annuals, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a delightful exception. This long-lived perennial is one of the first vegetables to harvest in spring. It’s native to the Mediterranean coast, which explains its love of well-drained, sandy soils. The spears or new shoots are harvested for 2 months in spring. I like them roasted with a balsamic vinegar in the oven. You can also saute them in butter or oil, add them to casseroles and salads or even make a soup from asparagus. After the harvest season, […]

If you’re looking for an easy vegetable to grow, try beans. Whether it be bush or pole beans, they make the perfect beginner gardener or kids garden vegetable. They’re one of the first vegetables I taught my daughter to grow. The large seeds make this vegetable easy to plant. They need little extra fertilizer and, with only a small amount of attention, you’re almost guaranteed to get a harvest. There’s a wide variety of beans available to grow. Snap beans (Phaseolus) are those harvested while the pods are young and […]

If your image of beets (Beta vulgaris) is small, red balls in cans with a bland, earthy taste, you should give them another try. Beets fresh out of the garden are delicious. They’re not only healthy for you—they’re loaded with vitamins A, B, C; iron, and potassium—but new varieties expand the color range of the roots to include pink, yellow, white, and candy striped. Beet leaves are now common in baby salad greens mixes. Shred raw beets in garden salads, make borscht soup, roast beets with other root crops (one […]

Whether it’s sprouts or large heads, this Italian delicacy has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years, showing up in salad bars, casseroles, soups, and steamed side dishes. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) is loaded with vitamins A and C and contains the antioxidant sulforaphane, which is a known cancer fighter. In my Italian family, we love the broccoli relatives, such as broccoli raab or gai laan, where you eat the whole plant. They have small flower heads and tender stems and leaves. When to Plant Broccoli grows and matures best […]

Learn how to plant and grow Brussels sprouts. Listen to podcast: podcast transcript Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea) have gotten a bad rap. These mini-cabbages on a stalk may look weird, but they taste great if you harvest and prepare them correctly. I’ve learned the key to enjoying this cabbage-relative is to let them get touched by light frost in fall before harvesting. Then the sweetness comes out. I like to roast “sprouts” with balsamic vinegar and root crops such as beets and carrots. Don’t be afraid to sweeten them up […]

I have to admit, I’m not a big cabbage (Brassica oleracea) fan. I’ve grown and eaten it for years and certainly it’s one of those easiest, tried and true vegetables to grow. The cabbage types that do attract my attention are the red and savoy (wavy leaves) varieties. They’re beautiful in the garden, have a sweeter flavor and add color and texture to salads and sautes. Whether you’re growing green or red, smooth leaved or savoy leaf, cabbages are good way to get a lot of vegetable in a small […]

Learn how to grow carrots including information on good varieties to try. Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript When I first traveled to northern India 20 years ago, I was amazed to see red, yellow, white, and purple colored carrots (Daucus carota), but no orange carrots. In fact, those are the native colors of carrots and it was the Dutch in the 1700s that popularized the color orange (after their national flag) as the modern color of carrots. We’ve been eating orange carrots ever since, but now those old colors have […]

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