Fava Bean – Grano White

Grano White is a spectacular variety of Broad Bean. It has a large long pod with usually about 5-6 luminous white beans in each pod. They have a very fresh silky pea like initial taste […]

Artichoke – Green Globe

Its Spring and the first flower head growths of Green Globe Artichokes are showing and some already able to be harvested. Green Globe is a nice thick fleshy very round all green Artichoke variety that tends […]

Triamble

Triamble is an Australian heritage pumpkin or winter squash from the early years of settlement. It has a very distinct 3 lobed shape. It has  a very twisted internal shape but slices up and roasts well […]

Tagetes minuta – Huacatay

Tagetes minuta is a South American herb that has had a very mixed reception and history. As an example of the conflicting views it has been called ‘Stinking Roger’ and ‘ Black Mint’ in various […]

Banksia coccinea

I have just had the first flowering of a seed grown plant of Banksia coccinea. It is about 4 years old and 1.5 metres high now with several flowering stems branching from low down on […]

Soil

A pile of plant material sits waiting to be composted and broken down by heat and biological activity. This pile is primarily palms that have been removed from a local land site and chipped. If […]

Purple Congo potato

Purple congo is a prolific roughly shaped potato that is a dark deep purple colour with a very slight white marble. The white marble is hard to see when uncooked. The colour changes to a […]

White squash – scallopini

White squash – scallopini or small white ‘patty pan’ are an attractive looking squash that can be harvested either tiny or when fully matured. They taste like a simple zucchini or courgette when small and can […]

Rose Geranium

Rose Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens is a useful plant to have for occasional flavoursome use in a wide range of foods. It has a strong rose petal or rose oil like scent and can be […]

Kamo Kamo

Kamo Kamo or Kumi Kumi – A cultivar in the Cucurbita pepo group –  is a ‘traditional’ Maori heirloom squash. It’s another childhood vegetable I remember well. There are regional variations on it based on careful guarded […]

Maca

Maca – Lepidium meyenii – is a tasty little root vegetable that is very hard to come by. It grows natively in the high Andes on the altiplano. There is all sorts of info available out […]

Yacón

Yacón – Smallanthus sonchifolius – is another Andes perennial plant that produces succulent tuberous storage roots that can be eaten raw and cooked. It’s common name of Earth/Ground Apple gives you an idea of it’s […]

Huauzontle

Huauzontle – Chenopodium nuttalliae – is an interesting vegetable of Mexican origin that is closely related to Quinoa – but with this plant it’s the flower bud cluster that is eaten instead – basically like a […]

Calendula

Calendula – Calendula officinalis – is a hardy and prolific short lived perennial flowering plant. You can eat both the flowers and the leaf – although the leaf can be very astringent. The flower petals […]

Rhubarb

Rhubarb – Rheum rhabarbarum – is sometimes a feast or famine kind of plant. It can be a great season or an ordinary one with both production and/or flavour. They both don’t always coincide and a climate […]

Dill

Dill – Anethum graveolens – is an under rated herb. It’s seed has a quite strong ‘pungent’ flavour and imparts it best into creamy sauces. It is of course also excellent for a quick pickled […]

Wasabi

Wasabia japonica – Wasabi is a tricky plant to grow well but when you get the right conditions it thrives. You have to look at where it originally comes from and where it is grown […]

Red Mustard leaf

Red Mustard leaf – Brassica juncea – is a interesting edible. It has a hot spicy mustard flavour bite to it and is great used as an addition to salads or used in  cooking to […]

Cabell d’àngel – melon jam

Cabell d’àngel is a melon jam originating apparently from Spain and made from the melon/squash fruit of (usually) Cucurbita ficifolia. It’s a simple tasty jam to make and great with pastries especially. Its basically a sugar syrup […]

Skirret – Sium sisarum

Skirret – Sium sisarum – is an interesting ‘old’ vegetable that was apparently grown and eaten throughout europe before the potato took over as a staple in the 1500-1600’s. Pliny the Elder even mentions it in writings as […]

Caigua – stuffing cucumber

Caigua or Achocha – Cyclanthera pedata var. edulis This Andes curcubit has many names and makes most sense to me when called stuffing cucumber. My Caigua is originally from Bolivia and is of a variety that […]

Tahitian Squash

Tahitian Squash – Curcurbita moschata https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita_moschata This is an interesting close relation to butternut pumpkin with a good flavour but more texture. It grows very well in an arid environment as long as it gets […]

Eggplant

Eggplant – Solanum melongena https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggplant I have found eggplants to be a reliable crop as long as they get plenty of sun and a long growing season. My current favourite growers are: white/yellow globular that grow […]

Capsicum

Chocolate Capsicum – Capsicum annuum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsicum_annuum The last few years I have been growing small chocolate capsicums. They ripen up to a dark brown and have an excellent taste. They have a distinct flavour that […]

Feijoa

Feijoa – Acca sellowiana http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acca_sellowiana Sometimes called pineapple guava – this is a very productive long lived cold tolerant large bush or tree. See my earlier post also – http://www.chickenfish.cc/bio/feijoa/ Coming originally from the Peruvian Andes it […]

Basella alba

Ceylon, Tropical or Malabar spinach – Basella alba http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basella_alba This is the tropical spinach that you will likely find in an authentic ‘Palak Paneer‘ dish. This is a nutritious warm climate growing vine and it really […]

Tomatillo

Tomatillo – Physalis philadelphica (ixocarpa) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatillo These are often called husk tomatoes. I have a few varieties including michoacan, verde (usual green), a full purple variety and a large green tennis ball sized variety from […]

Poha berry – Cape Gooseberry

Poha Berry – Physalis peruviana Poha is the Hawaiian name, but they are also called golden berry and possibly most well known as Cape Gooseberry. This little berry is great fresh but tends to degrade […]

Pepino dulce – Solanum muricatum

Pepino dulce – Solanum muricatum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanum_muricatum This is one of my favourites from my childhood. Another Peruvian fruit that tastes great and seems to grow like a weed when you get it going in the right […]

Malabar Gourd – cabell d’àngel

Malabar Gourd (cabell d’àngel) – Cucurbita ficifolia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita_ficifolia This a great producing cucurbit that is a separate species from the usual melons, squash and pumpkins that people often mistake it for. The plant grows fast […]

Strawberry Popcorn

Strawberry Popcorn – Zea Mays This is an open pollenated corn that grows about 1.5 metres high and produces bright red almost translucent kernels on a small cob that is about 10-15cm long. Usually there […]

Garlic

Garlic – allium sativum Garlic growing and varieties is a much discussed, complex and aged topic and many of the variations in variety and taste are really subtle and mostly hard to identify. But then […]

Tomato Black Krim

Tomato Black Krim – Solanum lycopersicum The Black Krim is an old Russian black variety. It is an indeterminate vine and will keep on growing till it gets too cold or decides to stop growing and […]

Red Kuri kabocha

Red Kuri kabocha – Curcubita maxima Duchesne ssp. maxima cv. maxima ‘Red Hokkaido’ This is another tasty Japanese heritage squash or pumpkin that I’m growing. Sometimes it’s also called Baby Hubbard or Potimarron squash. Like most squash it probably originally came […]

Zucchini Costata Romanesco

Zucchini Costata Romanesco – Cucurbita pepo. This is a very tasty Italian heirloom zucchini or courgette. It has  a really nice flavour but has drawbacks in that it tends to be a bit irregular in shape […]

Shishigatani kabocha

Shishigatani – C. moschata Duchesne ‘Shishigatani’. Shaped like an hour glass or maybe ‘infinity’ symbol the Shishigatani is a winter squash or pumpkin that is from the Kyoto area in Japan and used especially in Buddhist priest shojin […]

Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden – http://www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk/ I recently visited this great old physic garden in central London. The sign outside says it was established by the ‘Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London‘ in 1673 and is the […]

potatoes

Potatoes – Solanum tuberosum – [mainly although there are many other species] An interesting easy to grow very nutritious food crop from the Andes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato Currently growing a lot of different varieties [cultivars] in small pots to keep […]

Quince paste

Quinces are an interesting fruit but really need to be cooked to be able to be eaten. The usual way to cook or preserve Quince is to either bake it or simmer down to a paste […]

tomatillo paste

We had a small crop of tomatillos due to the crazy wet and cold weather this year and decided to make a nice simple tasty dipping paste for use in enchiladas and such that highlighted […]

saving seeds using woven bags

A quick tip –  i have found it very effective to use those cheap and abundant woven fabric shopping bags for saving seeds. In these photos I was just processing some Italian Kale seed clusters. The […]

Randwick NSW community gardens

I called in to see the Randwick community organic garden on 19 Jan to see what they were doing with their space. They are funded by the Randwick City Council and the garden is organised along the lines of […]

Gastrodia sesamoides

Gastrodia sesamoides – Australian native potato orchid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastrodia_sesamoides Its leafless and saprophytic, so you only see it when it flowers or you dig it up accidentally. The spikes are quite minimal but attractive when the […]