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 – 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 […]


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 […]

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 – 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 […]


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 – 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 – 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 – 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 […]


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 […]

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 […]

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 […]


Solanum is a mysterious group of plants that include potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants and a whole lot of strange berries. Although this is a pretty big genus there are only a few of them that will […]


Lavender – Lavandula genus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavender I’m growing a wide range of these plants and have built up a good sized collection. I have a large collection of the most commonly available species and varieties of them. […]

cape gooseberry

Cape gooseberry – Physalis_peruviana – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana Perennial but short lived vine like soft herby plant from Andes in South America The fruit is a small berry that is marble sized [about 1cm+] and bright orange when ripe. It […]


Feijoa – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acca_sellowiana Sometimes called pineapple guava or fruit salad guava due to the taste. This is a really hardy and productive but under rated fruit tree. The bush is an evergreen from the Andes in […]


Currently growing: snow pea – green and yellow – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_pea long pod climbers purple pod peas – http://glallotments.co.uk/Peas.aspx bush snap – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snap_pea chick Pea – actually a bean – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickpea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pea Planted in late July. Producing peas end of september. […]

pleione formosana

pleione formosana in flower in early October- a very nice ground orchid. This is one of 3 pseudobulbs in a pot together that have flowered for the first time this year. It is a fairly […]


Beans – Phaseolus vulgaris & Broadbeans – Vicia Faba http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus_vulgaris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicia_faba I’m growing a wide variety but these are my favourites Green Beans Runner – string Scarlet runner French – Stringless and snap Blue lake Painted Lady […]

mexican flavours

A summary of some Mexican style food flavour plants that I’m growing – or trying to grow… Currently I’m trying to grow as wide a range as possible given the cold temperate climate where even […]


Uses: culinary the purple varieties have less sugar and more starch and higher anti-oxidant levels. orange varieties were originally mainly developed by the Dutch. whites are least nutritious and tasty but look good when mixed […]


Uses: culinary – excellent in salads or in risotto as with Milanese recipe tends to be bitter when younger and greener Propagation & cultivation Seed – only reliable method – plant in sandy mix and […]


Eucalyptus caesia 23/9/2010 Growing on raised gravel bed. This one was a seedling. Uses: Oil from leaves Gum from wounds Oil and Gum both Antiseptic Propagation & cultivation Seed – only reliable method – plant in […]

orchid – maxillaria densa

Here’s a currently flowering orchid that has a really nice classic orchid scent on tiny flowers and an odd growth pattern or shape. It has numerous small flowers growing from the base of the pseudobulb […]


Uses: Eat fresh Preserve Other culinary uses Propagation & cultivation Cutting – best Seed – somewhat unreliable Loves water but needs good drainage too Hates wind Needs full range of minerals and very useful to […]


Uses: Eat fresh Tea – dried and fresh Antiseptic & decongestant Essential oil can cause allergic reaction – especially pennyroyal Propagation & cultivation Division & cutting – best Seed – unreliable and easy to cross […]

Oncidium ornithorhynchum

Oncidium ornithorhynchum [orchid] seems highly variable in it’s flowering shape and colour. This variety I have growing is quite small but really an intense pink and symmetrical in petal and sepal size. This is the […]


An excellent specimen of Lotus – Nelumbo nucifera – growing at the Auckland NZ botanic gardens. A very white variation that was almost up to 2 meters above the water line. The water was only about 60 […]

purple dragon carrot

Purple Dragon carrot. They grow fast and seem to like loose fairly well composted soil. Seeded in early spring and this one was pulled 22 December and was about 12-15cms at this stage.

helicodiceros muscivorus

dead horse arum Helicodiceros muscivorus Only flowered for about 3 days [photo 9th of November] … but took about 2 months for the flower to develop. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicodiceros_muscivorus Here it is developing it’s flower. 27/10/10