Gardening is as much about beauty as it is about raising your own vegetables to feed the family. That’s why I enjoy shaking things up at bit and trying something new each year. Sometimes that means adding unusual flowers or herbs to the garden bed. Other times it means seeking out new varieties of favorite vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers. This year, both are on my list. Here’s what I’m adding to my vegetable garden this year.
Cucamelons: Cucamelons (Melothria scabra) look like miniature watermelons, but are actually a Mexican Sour Gherkin. These tiny cucumbers require the same care as traditional cucumbers and benefit from trellising. The tiny melon-shaped cucumbers reportedly are tart and crisp with a lemon or lime undertone. Some say they taste a bit like a pickled cucumber. I haven’t tried them, yet, but my seeds are ready for planting as soon as the weather warms here in Maine.
Red Lightning Tomatoes: I fell in love with the image of red lightening tomatoes while browsing seed catalogs earlier this year. Although they are a little later than the Early Girl tomatoes I normally grow, these tomatoes look amazing. The red skin looks like it has been set ablaze with yellow/orange flames. I started my seedlings inside and can’t wait to grow these delightful tomatoes.
Malabar Red Stemmed Spinach: Malabar spinach (Basella alba “Rubra”) should be another showstopper as this spinach-like plant grows on a vine and can be harvested all year long. Although it’s not a true spinach, it is said to have a similar flavor and can be cooked and served in the same way. I’m looking forward to planting my Malabar spinach on a trellis to brighten the garden and for a tasty green.
White Cucumbers: White cucumbers are purely a novelty that will add variety to the garden bed. I haven’t tried them yet myself, but they are reportedly crisp and mild with exceptional flavor. I’m anxious to see these striking cucumbers covering my trellis.
Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes: The chocolate cherry tomato is one of the tastiest cherry tomatoes I have ever grown. They are a little larger than traditional cherry tomatoes and develop a deep brownish-red skin when mature. I grew these last year and am anxious to grow more this year. If you love cherry tomatoes, you owe it to yourself to try the chocolate cherry tomato.
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Cucamelons Look like Miniature Watermelons, but Taste like Sour Pickles