New Vegetables for Your Spring Garden

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Photo by Fotolia/Mykola Velychko
Adding new vegetables to your spring garden, such as kohlrabi, kale, and arugula can reinvigorate your diet and your green thumb.

It’s a root, it’s a tuber — no, it’s a super stem! No matter which part of it you fancy, kohlrabi, cabbage’s “crazy cousin,” is a tasty addition to any veggie garden. We have toyed with idea of adding some kohlrabi (aka “space cabbage”!) to our office garden, with the goal of making tasty kohlrabi fries and “kohl” slaw (find both recipes in the article below). This got us wondering about what new vegetables our Facebook fans are branching out and growing in their spring gardens. They responded with a remarkable assortment of delicious vegetables, both “exotic” and staples. After you check those out, see our profile of kohlrabi. You’re probably going to want some of it in your spring garden, too!

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Deanna Anderson We grew arugula and put some in salad and then dried some out as a spice to add to pastas and sauces.

Rebecca Tosh Xayasith I’m trying different mints this year. Spearmint, I have had in the past, but now I have chocolate, pineapple and apple mints.

Barbara Rees I’m growing celery and kale for the first time.

Nell Wade I’m trying Portuguese Cabbage for the first time. Have never cooked with it either, so any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Chris Firestone Cultivated leeks, we have wild leeks or ramps in the woods but thought I would try cultivated leeks.

Christina Johnson Horseradish, nom nom.

Siobhán Lucas Artichokes!

Lynda Crothers Kale and having radishes in our raised boxes!

Pat Fray I grew kohlrabi last year and it was good but didn’t grow to well. This year I planted 170 potatoes — 5 different kinds — and so far they are all coming up, even with the snow last week.

Candy Sall We love kohlrabi. We are trying amaranth this year.

Annie Bussiere I tried to grow sunberries but they just wouldn’t germinate for me! Very disappointing.

Nichole Joyce Chia, quinoa and amaranth.

Dave Brannen Shallots and Kabocha squash.

Edyta Blaszczuk Schranz First time for me: pole beans, spagetti squash, watermelon, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, hot peppers — all kinds, corn, passion spinach, carrots, celery, lovage, asparagus peas, calendula, borage, lemon balm, chamomile, hyssop, wormwood, mock orange, stinging nettle, fruit trees, purple basil, cinnamon basil…and more! It’s quite an adventure for me this year!

Gloria McKay Sweet potatoes in totes (containers) also garlic in pots, and Brussels sprouts in containers

Louise Thompson Okra!

Jen Greenberg Roberts My new crop is mangle wurzel. A friend is growing it, and her descriptions intrigue me. I plan to feed it to my guinea pigs.

Kitchen Ninja My first time with beans and peas. I usually plant tons of kale and mustard greens and then wind up being the only one to eat them! I figured I’d plant something that everyone likes this year. Who doesn’t like green beans and sugar snap peas?!

Linda Doerksen Italian Rose beans and sunflowers…actually, this is the first year since 1994 that I’ve planted in the ground instead of pots and tubs! The garlic, kale and all the herbs are ever so happy!

Heather Stafinsky Gardening with my children I always try something new! Mainly for them to try and tend to. So new for us this year are Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and potatoes. We’ve heard the kohlrabi looks like a space ship on the ground, boy are they excited to see that. Mom’s excited they are growing!

Kevyn Herdklotz I’m starting Jerusalem artichokes as I move more into permaculture!

Laura Knippel Ballantyne I know they are not the least bit exotic, but I am growing onions for the first time this year!

Ron Mahler Starting two new crops this year…Jerusalem artichokes and broccoli. No issues with the broccoli, but I planted 10 Jerusalems and only one came up…it’s very vigorous…but only one? Hmmm.

Mary Lincoln Welden This year is our first garden, it’s 15×30 and has lots of good stuff growing. Our experienced gardener neighbor says we will have more food than we know what to do with. We will share I guess.

Roberta Fuerst Stock Started Kohlrabi for the first time this year and it seems that of all my garden crops, a little critter likes nibbling on that the best! I think it’s a groundhog and I hope it leaves it alone long enough to grow!

Scott Dantzler Goji berries!

Julieanna Martin I looove kohlrabi! New for the garden this year are red amaranth and New Zealand spinach, my normal spinach bolted in this crazy heat, so I’m trying some more “heat-resistant” varieties of greens!

Stacy Wilkins I have doubled the size of my garden this year from 4 4×8 boxes to 8 of them. I have been planting like crazy. Very excited this year to have added lima beans, black-eyed peas, edamame and beets. My 17 year old daughter is vegetarian (going on four years now) and I always try to give her a variety of foods at meal time. She loves edamame so I am really looking forward to seeing that come in nice and full. Fingers crossed!

Kimberly Thurston Started my kohlrabi by seed and four survived. Bought an eggplant plant, if I can keep the bugs from eating them.

Katharine Pinney Parra Hops! Hopefully in a couple of years have enough of a harvest to flavor and bitter my beers!

Rosemary Kleske New: Quinoa is a big experiment. Not likely to hold up in NE Tennessee, but fun to try. They are close to flowering now. Muskmelon. Tomatillo. Rampicante Zucchini. Will be interesting…

Jackie Kelly I’m trying the straw bale method this year, along with pots and traditional in ground planting.

Tim Wyman Peanuts.

Linda Sing I am going to stop hacking back the milkweed vine on my fence, let it grow back like the weed it is, and start eating the fruit instead. Any weed you can eat is a good weed to me. Also, I started harvesting nopales (beaver tail cactus paddles) from the “tree” in the yard. Very tasty, and I don’t have to water it.

Owen Minnis Just put in green onions in a planter box for the first time. I want to get raspberry canes and blueberry bushes in, though that might be next year already.

Patty Depatie Last year a warty squash plant made a surprise appearance beside our compost pile and netted us four five gallon pails of warty squash. We had only planted pumpkins so we have no idea where the squash came from. We nicknamed them ‘Squamkins,’ and so this year we are growing as many unusual pumpkin and squash varieties as we can, just to see what we will end up with. We were ever so happy with the results, as they stored for four months in our basement, without the benefit of a cold storage space and they seemed to thrive. Wish us luck!

Eric Bowersox First time gardener: strawberries, red and yellow tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, leaf lettuce and spinach. All are growing nicely. This weekend, I will be planting summer squash and pumpkins.

Sam Hutchens New for me this year are Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, pole beans, and corn. So far so good, although I’m seeing an abundance of flea beetles on my taters. Not sure the best way to deter said beetles…

Tammy Wagner Eggleton Rutabaga, turnips, beets, Swiss chard, Russian fingerling potatoes, Yukon golds, Pontiac reds, lemon balm, cinnamon basil, lemon lime basil, chives, sage, thyme, rosemary, and eggplant are all new to me this year (second year out in the country with a garden).

Katherine Hillis I am growing a lot of new things this year. I am growing peas, collards, watermelon and radishes. They aren’t exotic but they are new to me. I hope to plant one or two new things each year and grow my garden each year with it. 🙂

Hickory Hill We have Cherokee purple tomatoes, heirloom beans, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, two varieties of squash, and edible flowers. We will be teaching our summer camp kids where their food comes from and how to make yummy things with garden produce.

Julie Britton Myden Edamame mmm!

Val Eltzroth Growing heirloom sweet corn. That’s two separate varieties using the Three Sisters Native American method of planting corn, pole beans, and pumpkins together in one plot — everything is up for one week now, in another week I plant the second, later maturing variety.

Patty Lafferty-Hanna Quinoa. We added kale for our goats this year.