Things we’d like to grow

Things we don’t currently have the resources to grow; time, space, money, climate, energy…or have tried and might be worth another go.

Things we might like to grow in future

  • Snowbell tree
  • Cocoa
  • Wasabi
  • Apple “Winston”
  • Pineapple flavoured apples
  • Other apples with strange features
  • Cooking plums
  • That funny plum from Cornwall whose name escapes me
  • Vanilla (admittedly what Kew can’t achieve with half the perimeter of the Princess of Wales glasshouse may be a bit optimistic for a couple of amateurs in a small bungalow, but you have to have a dream)
  • Peaches, nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Ribes aureum
  • Boysenberry, and all those other hybrid pals of brambley things
  • Ice plant
  • Dye plants – saw-word, madder, Japanese indigo

Things we have grown but need to try again and do better with

  • Edible fuchsias (plus splendens and coccinea)
  • Asparagus pea
  • Salad burnet
  • Soya beans
  • Good King Henry (it never grew)
  • Sea kale (didn’t really have the right conditions to grow it well, but liked what we got)
  • Potato onions
  • Salsify
  • Scorzonera
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Ginger
  • Plums
  • Lemongrass
  • Mango ginger. Hahahahahahaha.

Things we’re growing but haven’t really harvested yet (works in progress)

  • Damsons
  • Cherries
  • Quince
  • Turkish rocket
  • Skirret
  • Cardoon
  • Perennial kales
  • Liquorice
  • Burdock
  • Arctic raspberries
  • Loganberry
  • Tayberry
  • Walnuts
  • Pears
  • Chinese artichoke

Things we have grown to some sort of conclusion (apart from the obvious carrotsparsnipspeasbeanstomatoespepperspotatoesandsoforth)

  • Coffee (fun, attractive houseplant, didn’t exactly cause a rumble in the commodities market from the Home Counties though. OK, we got two beans. Not kilos, not pounds, not cups. Beans. Yes, one fruit ripened. Normal people grow basil on their windowsills you know.)
  • Tea (nice plant, worth giving another go, if they can do it in Cornwall after all)
  • Banana (very attractive plant and not hard to look after but we need to give more space and food if it’s to flower and not just keep having babies)
  • Yacon (great yields, quite nice taste/texture but difficult to find out what to do with it all)
  • Oca (jolly tasty, will grow more in future)
  • Citrus (lemons, limequats and other small/sharp ones worth some effort in the right conditions)
  • Jerusalem artichokes (like the taste, like the plants, like the relative ease of growth)
  • Turmeric (not exactly commercially viable but attractive and really remarkably tasty/different. Also fresh turmeric not widely available in Devon corner shops. I haven’t actually asked, but they were a bit suspicious when I mentioned preserved stem ginger so I think a line has been drawn)

If you’ve got any advice on any of the above – like how to grow it better, or good sources or varieties to make a note of, I would welcome them. Also welcome are other suggestions for exciting edibles to try in the future. If you have several acres of frost free greenhouses and associated land that you’re not using and would like to offer me in exchange for a Victoria sponge and a big smile, then that’s also welcome…


7 thoughts on “Things we’d like to grow

  1. Rhizowen says:

    Kea plum?

    If you like apples – the best bet is Kazakhstan, on the outskirts of Almaty. It’s where our apples originate and contains all the genetic variety you’ll need. Mauka: there’s a very small centre of diversity for this crop in Cornwall which is jealously guarded by a rabidly unapproachable recluse. Other than that, try Belgium.

    Fuchsias – try kotukutuku – Fuchsia exorticata

    How about Amelanchiers – grow well, pretty and berries are tasty.

    Peaches and nectarines without protection in Debon are likely to suffer peach leaf curl. Some vars supposedly more resistant than others, none immune as far as i know.

    Yacon – try yakraut – worked for me.

    I don’t see hopniss on the list – Apios americana, nor talet Amphicarpaea bracteata. Both are tasty and seem to tolerate our climate reasonably well. Plus they fix nitrogen.

    • Bugs from Esculent Etc says:

      Kea, that’s it, thanks! Amelanchiers are one of those I’ve yet to reach a decision on as haven’t known anyone outside of a book who has eaten one but if you say so, then on the list it goes. I expect you are right about the peach and nectarines…there’s always del Monte I suppose. I will investigate your fuschia as well as hopniss and talet – at the moment they are just words I’ve seen other people use and thought I don’t have the space in my brain to understand yet. And fermenting is something I’ve yet to work up the courage for – I’m convinced I’ll poison myself, or everyone I know and love (I really should invite more people I hate to tea).

      As for Kazakhstan and Belgium – I get nervous about customs when I pass an unexpected Kernow border sign…they might have to wait for a while yet 🙂 – on a more sensible note we have mostly chosen local or especially robust varieties of apples so far, and 18 months after planting they aren’t dead yet, so fingers crossed.

      Thanks very much for all the ideas and information, as always you are very helpful.

  2. Beryl says:

    I have v little to offer, except a resounding recommendation for yacon syrup. It was what convinced me to grow it in the first place.Juice & reduce to golden syrup consistency & it’s delicious. Just 3 caveats – to manage expectations, you get a tenth in volume of syrup to juice, reducing the juice may turn your kitchen into a sauna (possibly a plus point as optional beauty regime extra) and remember to wrap your hand in a teatowel before skimming. I didn’t and have the scalds to prove it.

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