Friday, November 1, 2019

A New Taste in Vegetables

Some of the more unusual vegetables - capsicums, eggplant, dwarf tomatoes - not only add variety to the menu but are ornamental enough to use in rockeries, balcony pots, and planter boxes.

Here are some interesting vegetables:

Capsicums (sweet peppers)

One of the most popular varieties is Californian Wonder, a medium-sized green fruit that later turns red. Sweet Yellow is another prolific type, very mild.

Capsicums need just an average, well drained soil and an open, sunny position. A little well-rotted compost and about l-3rd cup to the sq. yd. of complete plant food would help.

Seed can be sown in boxes of crumbly soil or seed-raising mixture, and planted out about 18 inches apart when seedlings are about 3 inches high. As usually only a few plants are needed, they also can be sown in compressed peat pots, and kept on a windowsill or other sheltered position, then moved into full sunlight after germination. Sow two/three seeds per pot, later thin out to one or two.

You can sow direct - three or four seeds every 18 inches, covered with 1/4 inch crumbly soil or compost. Pat down, keep moist. Up to three weeks to germinate. Keep well watered. When flowering commences, feed fortnightly with soluble plant food. If leaves or fruit develop brown spots during wet (or over watering), spray with bordeaux mixture.

Chinese cabbage

The leaves are like lettuce, the stems resemble celery. Cooked like cabbage, it tastes somewhere between cabbage and spinach.

Grown through autumn and winter, they make hearts like large lettuce. In spring and early summer, they tend to run up to seed, but the side leaves are still edible. The sliced leaf stems at this stage are used in Chinese dishes.


This was once grown mainly for the long, parsnip-like root which were dried and added to coffee. Now it is appreciated for the young shoots and leaves. These are blanched by wrapping or covering, and used as a flavorsome addition to salads.

Mature plants have attractive little flowers like pale blue cornflowers. Chicory is easily grown, requiring similar conditions to carrots - a moderate soil, with a little complete plant food added. Leaf growth may be encouraged by watering occasionally with soluble plant foods.


The plants are attractive when carrying the large, shiny, purple-black fruits. Of various ways to eat these, the most popular one seems to be slicing, sprinkling with salt, and frying.

They are grown similarly to capsicums, but need longer to mature, so are not suitable for cool climates with short summers, without glasshouses.


The chopped foliage and young stems add appetizing flavor to potato salads or white sauces. Dill seeds give flavor to gherkins. The fleshy root is also used as a vegetable or flavoring for stews, etc. Dill grows in average soil.

Add a little complete plant food and scatter seeds thinly along a row, cover about 1/8 inch deep. Firm down and keep moist. Seedlings come through in about ten days. Thin out to about 6 inches apart. Use the foliage from the time they are about 1 feet high.


Leeks are tasty as a boiled vegetable. They are sown in summer to mature in winter. Seedlings are raised in seed beds or boxes. Firm into good contact with the soil. When 4 or 5 inches high, transplant about 4 inches apart in the bottom of 4 inches trenches in good, well fertilized soil. Only the green foliage is left showing.

As growth progresses, the trenches are filled in, and eventually the soil is hilled around them, encouraging maximum length of blanched bulb.

Snake beans

Snake beans are a pleasant change from the ordinary french beans, and easily grown. Being climbers, they are sown along a trellis or a wire-netting covered sunny fence. The long, thin, string-like beans are chopped into sections and lightly cooked.

Dwarf tomatoes

Dwarf tomatoes such as Tiny Tim or Epoch are heavy croppers and pleasantly flavored. The first is only cherry size, and adds a decorative touch and pleasant flavor to salads. They are small enough to grow in large pots.

Egg tomatoes are easy to grow, fairly disease resistant. Modern types have pleasant flavor and are very meaty. Treat tomatoes like capsicums. Parsley prefers the same lime-free soil, can be grown at base of plants.


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