Five Easy-to-Grow Gourmet Vegetables

| 12/2/2012 2:11:06 PM

It's that time of year again: seed catalogs are arriving in the mail and there are way too many choices.

Here are five great vegetables that I have found easy and reliable to grow from seed. And believe me, if I can grow them (in the mountains of western North Carolina) you can grow them. In addition to their culinary charms they all add drama to the edible landscape.


Perfectly beautiful in its rough way, globe artichoke is a garden delicacy well worth the extra care it may require in some climates. Originally a Mediterranean plant growing prolifically as a perennial, the artichoke can do well in more severe North American zones provided it gets enough warmth and water through a long growing season. Globe artichokes are called “tender perennials” because they sometimes overwinter and produce their chokes for three or four years, but just as often must be treated as annuals or biennials and started quite early from seed.

 a gourmet artichoke flower 

Related to the common thistle, artichoke has bold silver-blue foliage that grows two or three feet high. The developing flower bulbs are the edible part, and must be harvested while still tightly closed.

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