Archive for the ‘Unusual and Weird stuff I’m trying to Grow’ Category

While cleaning out the junk drawer in my kitchen I found a mystery seed that my ninja shoe wearing accomplice acquired several years ago while vacationing. I think she mentioned that it had beautiful flowers.

Mystery Seed Pod

Mystery Seed Pod

What’s the name of plant?
I have no idea and my accomplice liberated the seed pod from a public space so she wasn’t about to ask.

What province, state, or country did the seed pod come from?
For legal reasons, it’s best not to say.

Will it bloom?
I don’t know if it will even sprout after kicking around in my junk drawer for several years.

Does the shell need to be cracked open prior to planting?
Not sure, but it kind of looks like a peanut shell but the outer shell is a lot harder. I cracked it open and extracted the 3 hard, orange seed pellets from inside and planted them in some seed starter mix.

Mystery Seed Pod Contents

The Mystery Seed Pod is cracked open and the very hard orange pellets are ready to be planted.

AND NOW WE WAIT TO SEE IF ANYTHING HAPPENS!

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Cucamelons

Besides being called a cucamelon the other known names for these tiny little morsels include mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon and Mexican sour cucumber. I ordered the seeds on line but I think I should have started them inside earlier instead of direct sowing as they are just now getting fruit. They have an intense cucumber/ lime infused flavor and are very crunchy and delicious! The bonus is they are much easier to grow than regular cucumbers, they are ignored by pests and are resistant to drought (or a lack of watering). Cucamelons are also said to make excellent pickles but I don’t think I will have enough fruit to fill a jar because I started them from seed too late in the year. However, cucamelons (Melothria scabra) are heirlooms so I’m going to try and save seeds and start them indoors earlier next year because they are so tasty!

 Hawaiian Current Tomatoes

 Hawaiian Currant Tomato seed packet description:
Produces clusters of tiny, round, pea-sized red currant tomatoes. Prolific yields all season long. Can be left to sprawl or be grown in hanging baskets. A super sweet and tasty treat.

In March I ordered some Hawaiian current tomato seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds,  planted them in seed trays, then proceeded to kill all but 3 of them off due to neglect and lack of water while making a career change. The good news is that they are just as tasty as promised and the ones that have survived are loaded with little tiny tomatoes. This is a relief because the company has sold out of all the Hawaiian current tomato seeds and there are no more local seeds available. Since all the seeds from Salt Spring Island Seeds are untreated, open-pollinated and non-GMO I’m thinking  I should be able to save some seeds to grow these tasty little tomatoes with next  year.

Chocolate Cosmos
My Chocolate Cosmos actually smell like rich dark cocoa!

As someone who is a confirmed chocoholic and known plant lover, I had to buy this plant. I now understand why chocolate cosmos have swept the gardening world by storm. This plant forms a medium-sized airy clump of dark green leaves with deep burgundy-red blooms that have the distinctive fragrance of dark chocolate. The plant tag lists it as a tender perennial, which usually means that it will not over winter without added protection but apparently here on the West Coast chocolate cosmos can also be lifted and stored like a dahlia for the winter. Since I live in a townhouse with a lack of storage, there is a very real possibility that my chocolate cosmos are going to be of the annual type variety, so I’ll just have to enjoy the chocolatey scent while they last!

 

Asparagus pea flower

Asparagus Pea
also known as:
Lotus Tetragonolobus, Tetragonolobus Purpureus, Goa Pea , Four-Angled Bean, Winged Pea or Winged Bean

Apparently asparagus peas has been grown for over 400 years but apparently they are just starting to now regain popularity. This could be due to the fact that they are non-hybrid heritage plants that are produced from seed that has never been genetically modified (non-gmo).  This interesting vegetable is actually neither a Pea or an Asparagus. The seed package states (and I quote):
“Unique flavor, a bit like a cross between tender asparagus and fresh young peas.” I love peas and I love asparagus so I had to buy a package. 8 plants germinated so I planted them in my plot at the Sunshine Community Garden. Apparently the pods can be prepared in a number of ways: boiled, sauteed, steamed, stirfried, dipped in tempura batter and then deep-fried, or even pickled. All the research I have done states that the winged pods should be used when less than 1″ long or they are very bitter. My research has also shown conflicting information on the taste of the a fore mentioned asparagus peas. About 1/2 the people that have grown these plants have said they were delicious and the other 1/2 said they were not ever going to grow them again because they tasted terrible. So far in my garden plot they kind of look like a ground cover with little trailing branches that radiate out from the central point. When viewed from above they kind of look like a big (12″ in diameter) green leafy snowflake lying on the dirt.

Asparagus pea snowflake

The branches have produced a few rusty red flowers which are supposed to transform into the edible winged pods. I’ll keep you updated as to how they turn out and how they taste if any winged pods finally decide to make an appearance. As a matter of fact if I can harvest enough I might even try making a Thai Winged Pea Salad, but no promises as every gardener knows you can be misled by seed packets that make extravagant promises that are never fulfilled.
The one thing that everybody who has grown these plants seemed to agree on was that it was one of the most attractive plants they have ever grown. So if nothing else I will have a pretty flowering ground cover that I should be able to easily save seeds from for future guerilla gardening projects.

 

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Masterpiece Pea

The seed package reads as follows:

A triple treat sensation! Parsley-like tendrils, peas, and pod are all edible and delicious
EXCLUSIVE TO BURPEES
Pea foliage is ready in a month’s time for a delicate pea-like flavor in an edible green. This pea is a people-pleaser on all counts. Marvel of beauty and flavor, plant offers these edible delights: parsley-like tendrils and plump juicy peas. Growing on plants of nearly fairytale beauty. Pods are packed with peas infused with bright, sweet, clean flavor and lovely aromatics. Pea-perfect candidate for a window boxes. Harvest foliage in 24 days, pods for shelling in 60 days.

So I harvested the parsley-like tendrils. They taste just like peas! I’m sure they would be good in a salad but I already have one overflowing bowl full and could have easily harvested 2 more large bowls so I was trying to think of other ways to use them up.
Masterpiece Pea Tendrils
I finely chopped up some of the fresh pea tendrils and added it to some garlic butter I was making and it is DELICIOUS!
I’m going to call it Masterpiece Garlic Butter. Then I’m going to make up a large batch and put it in the freezer so I’ll have some to use when my new potatoes are ready!
Masterpiece Garlic Butter
I’m also thinking that the pea tendrils would be delicious finely chopped in a Deviled Egg filling and since I seem to have a prolific amount of tendrils I am going to experiment with drying and freezing them. Stay tuned for the results of my latest Guerilla Garden Adventures in Cooking.