10 Unusual Vegetables for Adventurous Gardeners


1. Cardoon has striking thistle-like blooms, very similar to globe artichoke, but it’s grown for it’s huge celery-like stems which are tasty served in a gratin. Give cardoons plenty of space, sunshine, and a free-draining soil.

Photo by Pixabay/Dimitris Vetsikas

2. Shiso Perilla is a herby, spicy, leafy exotic often used in tempura and sushi. Stunning red-leaved varieties are available, but the green-leaved varieties are the best-flavored.

3. Oca tubers are rich in vitamin C and can be eaten raw, or cooked like potatoes.  The leaves can be eaten in moderation. Plant oca in spring for harvesting from early fall.

4. Celeriac is a nutty-tasting, hardy winter root that can be used in many ways: grated raw, boiled or braised, mashed like potato, or added to stews or soups. Celeriac is a great follow-on crop for planting once overwintering crops have been harvested.

5. Malabar Spinach is a tender perennial climber with attractive red stems and fleshy leaves that are often used in salads and stir-fries. Malabar spinach needs rich, fertile soil and full sun.

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