Florence fennel ‘Perfection’ is an aptly-named cultivar, that I would recommend for its large sized bulbs, which have an excellent flavour. Florence fennel that produces delicious-tasting, swollen leaf bases that we usually refer to as ‘bulbs’. It’s not just the base of Florence fennel that we eat – the whole of this plant is edible; Florence fennel has gorgeous ferny leaves that can be used as garnishes or as wonderful additions to salads, soups, stir-fries, herbal teas, and smoothies.
I love to write about really easy to grow, great-tasting vegetables, so I’m truly excited to tell you about this type of Texsel Greens! Texsel Greens ‘Garlic Kale’ (also known by its botanical name Brassica carinata) is an incredibly useful, edible plant that produces delicious tasting, garlic-flavoured leaves. ‘Garlic Kale’ makes a lovely addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, and other dishes.
Florence fennel is a lovely vegetable that originates from Italy. Plants produce delicious tasting, swollen leaf bases that we usually refer to as ‘bulbs’. It’s not just the base of Florence fennel that we eat – the whole of this plant is edible; Florence fennel has gorgeous ferny leaves that can be used for herbal teas, as garnishes, or as wonderful additions to salads, soups, stir-fries, and smoothies.
Turnip ‘Oasis’, known officially by its botanical name of Brassica rapa (Rapifera Group) ‘Oasis’, is an ivory coloured turnip with a sweet and delicious flavour. This turnip is particularly flavourful when young and is ideal to harvest as a baby vegetable. Turnip ‘Oasis’ has a bulbous root that can be eaten raw or cooked, but don’t forget that young turnip leaves can also be eaten as turnip tops or greens.
‘Mild Cultivated’ rocket is a cultivated form of rocket that produces green leaves with a lovely fresh, yet mild flavour. Rocket ‘Mild Cultivated’ foliage still has that lovely peppery rocket taste but the leaves don’t have any heat; these leaves are without the intensity of flavour possessed by other more commonly found rocket cultivars. This is the ideal variety of rocket to grow for children or anyone who doesn’t enjoy hot, spicy flavours.
Pea ‘Rosakrone’ (Pisum sativum ‘Rosakrone’) is super pea variety that produces these dainty, rose-pink and ivory coloured flowers. Plants produce small to medium sized green pea pods that can be eaten young (as mangetout), or allowed to develop into deliciously sweet green peas. This is a decorative and reliable vegetable that will succeed in a sunny and open site, in almost any moist, but well-drained soil.
Yacon (also known by the botanical name Smallanthus sonchifolius) is a South American vegetable that produces large soft leaves and yellow flowers; it’s the large underground tubers that are formed at the base of the plant, which we harvest during autumn and wintertime. The tubers have an astoundingly firm and crisp texture. When they’re peeled and sliced, yacon tubers are semi transparent and have a very firm composition, at this stage they remind me a little of ice!
Kale (also known by the botanical name Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) is an absolutely wonderful vegetable to grow and eat! This is a decorative, and I think, a very beautiful plant; there are a wide range of kale varieties that gardeners can grow from seeds. Not all kales are the same; we can sow seeds that will develop into kale plants that display a range of leaf shapes and textures, produce a selection of contrasting, yet attractively coloured leaves, as well as plants that deliver subtle differences in flavour.
The Asparagus Pea (also known by the botanical name Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) is a small, decorative plant with a naturally low growing habit. When I first heard of the Asparagus Pea, I was so excited by the very idea of this plant. I can remember reading the description over and over: ‘a vegetable with a delicious taste that was somewhere between asparagus and pea’.
Landcress tastes almost exactly like Watercress, except this vegetable is grown on dry land. If you’re a Watercress fan, or you favour peppery, spicy flavours, then you really must try growing Landcress; I am quite certain you’ll adore it! Landcress (also known as American Cress or by the botanical name, Barbarea verna) is a super-easy vegetable to grow; Landcress grows happily in less than ideal growing conditions and it’s both productive and tasty, too!
Spinach (also known by the botanical name Spinacia oleracea) is a tasty and fast growing, edible plant that is easily grown from seed. This is a very versatile vegetable with an extended harvest period. Spinach can be grown from seeds sown directly into large containers of good quality compost or seeds can be sown directly in the soil. Spinach plants have a tendency to bolt; plants are most likely to go to seed if the weather is hot or if the plants’ soil or growing medium becomes too dry.
Kalettes are an exciting, new and very tasty vegetable, created by Dr Jamie Claxton at Tozer Seeds, through a 15 year period of selective breeding, repeatedly crossing British Kale and Brussels Sprouts to produce Kalettes. Kalettes were first launched with the name Brukale and they’re also sold as Flower Sprouts. These attractive vegetables form tall stems, very much like Brussels Sprouts plants’ do.
For some reason, turnips are often under-rated, both by cooks and gardeners. I adore growing turnips and I absolutely relish the taste of these deliciously sweet vegetables. I enjoy eating raw and cooked cooked turnips, both are delightful! In my home, we use turnips in risottos, stir fries, soups, salads, or as a side dish. Turnips taste great raw, roasted, stir fried, steamed, boiled, or sautéed.
Swiss Chard (also known by the botanical name Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens) is a magnificent vegetable that brings a touch of its own exquisite beauty to the gardens and allotments where it’s grown. This is another vegetable with an array of common names, it’s also called: Leaf Beet, Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. For ease of reference, I try my best to stick to calling this vegetable Swiss Chard; although I do also call it Chard from time to time – sorry about that.
Celeriac (also known by the botanical name Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is not the easiest vegetable to grow; these plants have a long growing season and the seeds need to be started off in the warmth, fairly early in the season. Celeriac seedlings will need to be protected inside a glasshouse, polytunnel, or conservatory, until all risk of frost has passed.
Skirret (also known by the botanical name Sium sisarum) is a perennial root vegetable, which enjoyed great popularity in the medieval and Tudor periods, but sadly is rarely grown nowadays. I expect Skirret’s fall from favour is due to this vegetable producing thinner roots than carrots and parsnips and therefore being far more fiddly and difficult to clean and prepare than these more popular root vegetables.
Huauzontle (also known by its botanical name Chenopodium berlandieri) is an easy to grow annual from Mexico. Due to their similar appearances, this vegetable is easily identifiable as being a relation of the common weed, Fat Hen (which itself is another edible plant). Huauzontle plants produce edible leaves and teeny tiny flowers, which are eaten as newly formed buds, in a similar way to Broccoli.
Parsnips (also known by their botanical name Pastinaca sativa) are supremely sweet tasting, delicious vegetables. Parsnips are easy to grow, but their seeds often take a number of weeks to germinate and these vegetables require a long growing season to develop their full size and potential; therefore parsnips benefit from being started early in the season.
If you’re looking to grow parsnips, choose a sunny or partially shaded site, with moist but well-drained soil.
Leeks (also known by their botanical name Allium porrum) are tasty vegetables that have short sowing window and a long growing season; as a result, many gardeners miss the leek’s narrow seed sowing period and accordingly fail to grow these delicious and versatile vegetables. Like the majority of edible plants, leeks grow best in a sunny or partially shaded area.
Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ is a new type of rocket that produces these handsome leaves that are attractively veined with maroon; the red veining creates a rather nice contrast against the leafy-green of the outer part of the leaves. Rocket ‘Dragons Tongue®’ leaves have a fairly strong, spicy and delicious, peppery flavour. This is a superb rocket cultivar that is reliable, long-lived, and slow to bolt.