What vegetables do we usually plant in our summer cottage? Of course, slender rows of tomatoes and peppers necessarily occupy their “place of honor”, cucumbers “attach” somewhere near a fence or a special stand, an area for eggplants, carrots, onions is allocated, well, where can we go without potatoes!
That’s probably all. But the list of healthy and tasty vegetables that can be grown in the middle zone of our country is much wider. Yes, some of them are still exotic for us, as they are traditionally grown in other countries, but we just forgot about some vegetable crops.
What is the reason that we choose from year to year in favor of familiar tomatoes and cucumbers? Just because the process of growing seedlings and further care is familiar to the smallest detail? Or do we not know how to cook unusual vegetables? Meanwhile, getting a harvest of vegetables, which are still rare in our gardens and orchards, is no more difficult than growing the same potatoes. And there are a lot of benefits from such “exotic guests”.
In this article we will talk about the peculiarities of growing some of the less common vegetables in our country, their benefits and a little about the methods of preparation.
A typical set of the most popular vegetables – cabbage, onions, peppers, tomatoes … But there are still so many healthy and tasty things in the world! Why not try to grow a harvest of exotic vegetables in your country house?
Already from the very name of this vegetable, it breathes with something unusual and delicious. The artichoke is really considered one of the most “aristocratic”, its popularity in Europe was promoted by the French queen Catherine de ‘Medici, who adored a variety of dishes from delicate “bottoms”.
This vegetable contains carotene, inulin, vitamin C, the tender pulp of its bottom (receptacle) and not yet blossoming inflorescences, which are often called baskets, has a pleasant taste.
The artichoke is a perennial plant, in warm regions it is able to bring a good harvest in one place for ten years. However, even in colder climates, it manages to ripen to frost if you first grow seedlings at home.
In open ground, the artichoke can also be planted with seeds, but this will have to be done in late May or early June, when the danger of frost has definitely passed. Therefore, it is worthwhile to grow seedlings in advance at home, in ordinary boxes. This process is practically the same as planting and growing tomatoes or peppers..
When planting artichokes in the beds, one must not forget that this plant takes up quite a lot of space – about one square meter. Unfortunately, most of the area will be occupied by spreading leaves, which will not bring any benefit, but will simply serve as a decoration of the site. Perhaps this is why the artichoke is not popular – it takes up a lot of space, and the yield of delicious baskets is not as large as we would like.
The artichoke, like all other vegetables, must be regularly watered and fed with fertilizers, and in order to get larger inflorescences, it is better to leave only two or three on the bush, the rest should be removed. The crop is harvested at the very beginning of flowering, when only the scales in the central part are revealed. The artichoke heads must be cut along with part of the peduncle.
The delicate bottom of the artichoke is surrounded by tougher scales, so, unfortunately, there is not much tasty pulp in the baskets. The artichoke can be steamed, boiled, used in salads and as a side dish. The scales, except for the topmost layer, are also edible, in contrast to the white fibers inside
In fact, despite such an exotic name, chard is a close relative of the beet that is well known to every Russian. But unlike its relative, it is not a root vegetable that is edible, but leaves and stems.
Swiss chard contains a large amount of provitamin A and vitamin C, many mineral and protein substances that have a beneficial effect on the human cardiovascular system and are incredibly useful for the prevention of sclerosis. In addition, chard is cold-resistant, seedlings can be planted in May, and the harvest begins in 40-60 days..
Chard is unpretentious to the soil, its spreading leaves suppress weeds, so you often don’t have to weed. Water as needed.
Seeds for seedlings are planted in early April, in ordinary pots of three to four plants. Seedling care is simple, but you should choose a larger pot for it, since Swiss chard forms a powerful root system.
In the central region, chard can be grown directly from seeds. For planting, it is necessary to prepare shallow grooves, the distance between which is about 30 centimeters. It is worth leaving a space of at least seven centimeters between the plants themselves. Several plants grow from one seed, so after germination you will have to thin out the rows.
You can sow Swiss chard seeds in winter, but you will have to protect the garden from frost by hilling and covering it with straw or spruce paws. In the same way, you can save the roots of this vegetable, leaving them to winter in the beds..
Interestingly, Swiss chard tastes more like young milk corn than beetroot. Its leaves and petioles will be the ideal ingredient in salads; you can cook this vegetable and steam it, just boil it. Used as a side dish for meat dishes
Another, unfortunately, a rare guest in our gardens. Meanwhile, this vegetable contains vitamins A and C, as well as a large amount of vitamins K, B1, B2 and PP. Rich in celery and iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, carotene, folic acid, phytoncides and flavonoids. Celery has few calories and a lot of fiber, it is recommended to eat it because you decided to quickly and usefully lose weight.
Celery is quite whimsical, in order to grow this plant in our latitudes, you will have to start seedlings in advance. There are three main types of celery – leaf, petiole, and radicular. Accordingly, in the first case, leaves are used, in the second, rather thick, appetizing petioles, and in the third, a root crop, which can be stored after harvesting for two to three months.
It is necessary to plant seeds for seedlings in February, since celery sprouts for a long time. Its shoots are very delicate, thin, watering must be done carefully. You can land on the beds only after the danger of frost has completely passed. By the way, leaf celery perfectly tolerates the neighborhood with cabbage, so seedlings can be planted between cabbage beds so as not to take up much space on the site.
After planting on the beds, celery needs regular watering, the rows need to be loosened to ensure the flow of air to the delicate roots. Root celery ripens only in September, petioles can be harvested in August, and leaves in mid-July.
Celery leaves and petioles are, of course, used in salads. A classic recipe for vitamin French salad – fresh celery stalks and finely chopped apple, dressed with mustard and sour cream
Celery roots can be fried, stewed, boiled, or eaten raw. They are used as a main course, in side dishes and soups. Pairs well with seafood
This type of cabbage is successfully grown even in the Far North and Kamchatka, and for the huge amount of vitamin C and other nutrients, kohlrabi is called “northern lemon”.
Growing kohlrabi is no more difficult than the usual white cabbage – early varieties are planted on beds with seedlings, which need to be planted in mid-March at home, in ordinary boxes or special containers.
Kohlrabi can be transplanted into the beds in late April or early May. This variety of cabbage ripens very quickly – within 50–55 days after germination, ripe stems can be harvested, so that it is quite possible to get three harvests a year. For example, plant early kohlrabi seedlings, it will ripen in the first month of summer, in early May, sow seeds on the beds that will ripen by July, and in June, plant new seedlings in the place freed from the first planting. Thus, the third harvest of this cabbage can be obtained in September, even before the first frost..
It is such a short ripening period that allows kohlrabi to be grown even in the northern regions..
This cabbage loves moisture, you will have to water it regularly, otherwise the fruits will be tough, cracked and tasteless. However, you cannot overdo it – excess moisture will lead to the fact that the roots of the plant will simply rot.
Usually the crop is harvested when the “heads” have reached a diameter of seven to eight centimeters. There are different varieties of this cabbage – with smaller or larger stems, so the timing of harvesting must be determined based on the type of kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi stems can be of different shades – from dark purple to pale green. Kohlrabi can be boiled, stuffed, used in salads and as a side dish for meat and fish. It tastes more like turnips than white cabbage.
This plant in our country is often called “Volga turnip” or “earthen pear”, abroad Jerusalem artichoke is called “Jerusalem artichoke”, “wild sunflower” or “sun root”.
Jerusalem artichoke is rich in dietary fiber, iron, glucose, potassium, inulin (a plant analogue of insulin), phosphorus, vitamin C and other vitamins and nutrients.
The “earthen pear” came to Europe from North America only in the 17th century. Jerusalem artichoke was quickly appreciated by gardeners in various countries – it is very unpretentious, grows on any type of soil, its roots tolerate frosts of up to 40 degrees, it easily resists drought and excess moisture.
In the middle lane, Jerusalem artichoke is propagated by tubers, since in the case of planting from seeds, it will not have time to ripen. Prepared roots are planted earlier than potatoes – already at the end of April. You can plant the tubers “earthen pear” on the beds in the fall, before the start of frost.
Jerusalem artichoke is planted to a depth of 6-12 centimeters, the distance between the rows is 60-70 centimeters, between plants – 40-50 centimeters.
The “Jerusalem artichoke” does not require special care – in dry summers it needs to be watered periodically to get juicy and tender tubers, and before and immediately after germination it is necessary to loosen the soil and remove weeds.
Jerusalem artichoke gives high yields in the first four to five years after planting in one place, then it is advisable to transplant the plants, as the tubers will begin to shrink.
Tubers of “wild sunflower” are harvested after the first autumn frosts, they are stored until spring, together with potatoes in the basement or on the lower shelf of the refrigerator, used in salads, side dishes and soups.
By the way, the Jerusalem artichoke tubers overwintered in the garden acquire a sweetish taste and are especially appreciated by gourmets. Collected in the fall sometimes taste a little bitter.
Jerusalem artichoke tubers can be boiled, baked, fried, steamed, in much the same way as potato tubers. By the way, the flowers of the “earthen pear” are very similar to a sunflower and will become a real decoration of the site. Jerusalem artichoke tops are excellent food for rabbits, sheep and horses.
Today, this vegetable is rarely found in vegetable gardens, but in Russia it was actively grown and was considered the main useful crop, along with turnips and turnips, which were indispensable in those days. Parsnips are similar in appearance to white carrots in root vegetables, and to parsley in their chemical composition. It contains more carotene than regular carrots, and parsnips are also rich in B vitamins, mineral salts and fiber. In terms of the content of easily digestible carbohydrates, it is considered one of the recognized leaders among vegetables.
Parsnip is very unpretentious, grows on different soils, but prefers neutral and loamy soil.
This vegetable is planted with seeds, which germinate after an average of 20 days. You can start sowing parsnips in early spring – the seeds germinate already at plus three degrees. The rows must be thinned out, leaving a distance of five to seven centimeters between the shoots. By the way, parsnip seeds can be harvested on their own in the fall, but they quickly lose their germination, so it is better to use harvesting in spring exclusively from last year.
Experts advise to soak parsnip seeds for three days before planting – this will speed up the process of sprouting and improve germination.
In the future, parsnips practically do not require maintenance – they need to be watered only in the driest months, it safely drowns out the weeds, and does not suffer from pests.
Parsnips are harvested late, already in October. Root vegetables are perfectly stored all winter in the basement. You can leave the parsnips for the winter in the garden, since the plant is two years old and tolerates frost. You just need to first remove the foliage and spud the garden.
Parsnips are added to borscht and soups, used as a side dish, added raw to salads, stewed like potatoes with tomato and onion – it all depends on the culinary imagination, since the vegetable is universal and extremely useful in any form
Tiny, like toy heads of this cabbage have a delicate taste and contain a huge amount of nutrients and vitamins: B1, B2, B6, B9, PP and carotene. And vitamin C in this type of cabbage is much more than in ordinary white cabbage.
Brussels sprouts are an unpretentious plant, but long-growing, therefore, in the middle lane it reproduces only by seedlings.
You can plant the seeds of this type of cabbage in early April, they germinate quickly – in four to five days. The seeds are planted to a depth of two centimeters, the distance between plants is three to four centimeters. While the seedlings are growing, they need a lot of light and moisture. Watering should be done regularly and very carefully so as not to damage the still weak roots..
Seedlings are planted on the beds 40-60 days after planting. Remember that Brussels sprouts require a lot of space, so the seedlings should be placed at least 60 centimeters apart..
This type of cabbage is picky about soil fertility, so the beds must be fertilized with humus or mineral additives.
High – up to 80 centimeters – the plants will have to be regularly spud and watered. On one bush, up to 70 small heads of cabbage are usually tied, which are located in the axils of the leaves, so that the harvest with proper care will be rich. To stop the growth of the plant upward and speed up the process of ripening of the crop, the top should be cut off when the lowest heads of cabbage have reached the size of a pea.
Heads of cabbage are cut off after they have become dense enough. In general, adult Brussels sprouts tolerate frosts down to minus ten degrees, so you can harvest in October as well. Heads of cabbage are stored frozen.
Brussels sprouts are prepared very easily and quickly. This vegetable can be stewed, fried, baked, added to soup. This is a wonderful and very healthy side dish for fish and meat dishes.
Try at least once to conduct an experiment and select a garden bed for exotic vegetables on your site. Most likely, the result will pleasantly surprise you, and next year parsnips, kohlrabi or celery will take their “rightful place” next to the usual tomatoes and cucumbers..