Garden 2016 — A Plant List
Finally, all of the seeds arrived, and I keep walking around the house and the yard, with packets in hand, shaking them like flimsy maracas. Still too early for direct sowing, but I’ll be starting some seeds in trays really soon. I’m SUPER EXCITED!
For my own edification, and maybe yours too, here’s a list of what I hope will thrive this year, along with some reasons why.
- Angelica (Angelica archangelica) — Angelica is like the brutish Grandpappy of celery, and it smells delightful. Supposedly the Archangel Michael hisself taught humans how to use it, so that’s quite a recommendation. I’m planting for use as an aromatic, a vegetable, and for flavoring bitters.
- Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)—I’m honestly boggled as to why we haven’t planted this yet, considering how much we go through. Unfortunately, we’ve had trouble growing Apiaceae in our yard and I’m not sure why, but the experiments will continue this year.
- Flash Collards (Brassica oleraceae) — We’re from the South, and we love our collards. We’ll likely keep these guys going as long as possible in the spring, then start a new batch in the fall to over-winter. The idea is to have all the collards you need for New Year’s Day.
- Ruby Streaks Mustard (Brassica juncea) — A totally interesting looking purple mustard variety!
- Broccoli, Romanesco (Brassica oleraceae)— Enjoyed in a galaxy far, far away. If it’s good enough for Rey, it’s good enough for us. Plus, it’s a damn fractal, and how cool is that?
- Kohlrabi, Purple Vienna (Brassica oleraceae)— The next item in our ‘alien looking plants’ collection.
- Strawberry Spinach (Blitum capitatum) — Holy moly, this plant is intriguing! Spinach-like leaves, and mulberry-like berries on one plant? Sign me up! It’s apparently becoming fairly rare (who knew?), so of all of this year’s selections, I’ll be most disappointed if this one doesn’t take.
- Purple orach (Atriplex hortensis) — I’m interested in orach not only because its leaves are beautiful and tasty, but also because I want to experiment with milling its seeds for use as a cereal.
- Scarlet Emperor Bean (Phaseolus coccineus) — If you’ve never popped open a scarlet runner pod and exposed the vibrant colors within, I highly recommend doing so for a seriously intense experience. This will be co-planted with my corn, and a squarsh, for some Three Sisters Guild action.
- Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)— Perennial, Pollinator attractor, delicious flavor, excellent medicinal value. I’m mainly planting this on the advice of t♭.
- Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)— Perennial, pollinator attractor. Excellent medicinally for hypertension, women’s health. It grows wild locally, but I haven’t found a dependable source.
- Outhouse Hollyhock (Alcea rosa)— The only flower that we know of that was named after a toilet (really!). These guys are tall, stately, beautiful, and decidedly edible, with a slightly-sweet okra like flavor and consistency.
- Early pink corn (Zea mays) — Poppin’ corn! Supposedly this variety is fairly well adapted to our climate. Gonna try playing with the Three Sisters Guild this year and co-planting with the Scarlet Runners and an as-yet-undecided squarsh of some kind.
- Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) — Tremendously useful. Romans would dip the stalks in wax for use of candles, which I really want to try. The leaves are velvety and soft, and JUST LOOK AT THESE THINGS! They can be spready, so will have to keep an eye on them.
- Sunberry (Solanum retroflexum) — AKA “Wonderberry.” We have a local park named for Luther Burbank, the famous 19th/20th Century horticulturalist who first bred this interesting plant. I guess he had “high hopes” for this little annual, but the berries are reportedly lacking in flavor. I see this as a challenge.
- Garden Huckleberry (Solanum melanocerasum) — A fast-producing, edible berry that’s really similar to Sunberries. I want to make summer jams and jellies, so I’m going to see which performs better.
- Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) — A garden without nasturtium isn’t a garden, in my estimation. Beautiful, tasty, and — perhaps most importantly for me — incredibly useful bait plants for aphids, nasturtiums are easy to grow and fun to have around.
- Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) — Lost Inca Giant Nasturtium Edible Tuber Crop. Need I say more?
- Valerian (Valeriana off.)—Pollinator attractor. Wide range of medicinal uses. It should go without saying why this lovely plant ally will be a welcome addition to the garden.