The other week I discovered kalettes. Since then, you’d think I’m on commission – having done my best to ensure all those around me have also experienced them. But seriously, how am I so behind on those sweet little mouthfuls of kale and brussel sprout joy?!
What followed was the well-trodden path of many seed addicts.
Step one: Take to the Internet. Step two: Research growing conditions. Step three: Put seeds in shopping basket. Step four: Realise I have no space at the allotment, mull over the fact I already have enough seeds and triumphantly back away from the computer confident in the belief that yes, I really do already have enough seeds. Step five: Laugh at my conscience’s feeble attempts in step four, and proceed with the order anyway.
A few days later the kalettes landed on the front door mat, along with some other seed packets that had to make the journey with them for company. Classic signs of a seed addiction.
Anyway, it got me thinking about vegetables still to be discovered and what I’m really excited to grow this year. I’ve since realised I have a mild obsession with any vegetables that are a different colour to ‘normal’. Take a new variety of purple kale I’m trying, or red sweetcorn that genuinely made me swoon in delight when the seeds arrived…
However here are my top five other vegetables and flowers I’m excited to grow this year. If you’ve grown them before, all advice greatly received.
‘Azur’ Blue Kohl Rabi.
Confession, I’m also a bit late to the Kohl Rabi party. In truth I think my invite got lost in the post, but this fast-growing variety can be sown in both spring and summer so hopefully there will be a Kohl Rabi party at some point! I’ve spied them on my neighbour’s plot doing well, and think they look beautiful growing above the ground. In general I’m a big fan of all friends of the cabbage – so fingers crossed.
Squash Tromboncino. This describes itself as ‘a squash with an artichoke flavour’. I think squash and artichokes are my two absolute favourites, so I’m really excited to try this. If you follow me on Instagram you might remember we got three arches for Christmas for the allotment, and this was one of the vegetables recommended by some lovely allotment folk on there. Hopefully we can grow some trailing down an arch – even if they are quite curious-looking! Just what will the neighbours say…
Cucumber (gherkin) venlo pickling. I’m the sort of girl who (frequently) eats a gherkin straight from the jar. And while I’ve ventured into chutneys with leftover produce, I haven’t really pickled vegetables before – I find beetroot just gets eaten or juiced in our house. But I’d love to be able to pickle some homegrown gherkins for presents, so this year I’m going to try just that! I’m going to grow some in the greenhouse and some over an allotment arch just as an experiment. A good gherkin is all about the crunch – so time will tell.
Chilli pepper hot lemon. I always try to have a couple of chilli plants on the go, but I find myself more and more drawn to chillies recently – there’s a strong chance I’ve damaged my tastebuds due to the large volumes of gherkins consumed, which could be why. Anyway, this variety was recommended so I’m going to give them a go. It’s described as having a flavour ‘as hot as cayenne’ but with a ‘distinctly tart citrus taste’ which sounds lovely and fresh for use in salsas and fish dishes.
I’m not sure why I self-imposed this limit of only five to share with you (well I am actually, because I could just keep writing about flowers and vegetables all evening!) But while kalettes obviously have spot number five, I’ve probably already gone on about them enough. So instead I’m going to go for camomile. I drink lots of herbal teas and I’d really like to make a homegrown bedtime blend of camomile and lavender. We currently have the lavender just not the camomile, so this is the year to change that! I plan to make some big hanging racks to dry the flowers out, so watch this space…
What are you excited to grow this year? Cross your fingers for me!