Monday, April 29, 2013

New to My Garden

Every year I like to try new plants in my garden.  The more unusual the better!  This year I will be trying Asparagus Peas, Strawberry Spinach, Kakai Hulless Pumpkins, Gold Nugget Squash, Crystal Apple Cucumbers and Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers.  I thought I would give a brief description of each with pictures for all my gardening friends.

Asparagus Peas
Asparagus peas are small winged pods that taste similar to asparagus when cooked.  It is recommended that they are harvested when they are 1 inch long, otherwise they become stringy and tough.  They have very pretty dark red flowers.  The plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall and will produce pods for up to 10 weeks. 
Strawberry Spinach
This plant produces greens that are picked and cooked like spinach, but also produces red berries that taste similar to mulberries. The leaves have a nutty flavor.  Harvest the leaves as you need and the plant will continue to produce new leaves.  The berries form in late summer and fall.  It is native to most parts of North America and Canada.
Kakai Hulless Pumpkin
This is a hulless pumpkin, meaning the seeds don't have an outer shell.  The vines have a semi bush habit and grow 5-8lb. fruit.  The slightly ribbed skin has dark green stripes over orange skin. Each vine will produce 2-3 medium pumpkins. 
Gold Nugget
This variety produces miniature, pumpkin-shaped squash with pale red-orange skin and dry sweet, dark orange flesh.  This winter squash is an early, extremely productive, compact bush variety.  They can be harvested young and used like summer squash.  Each plant will produce as many as 10 squash that weigh 1-2 lbs.  Harvest when the skin is no longer shiny.
Crystal Apple Cucumber
This variety is a prolific and sweet flavored cucumber that is shaped like an apple when mature.  These cucumbers are crisp, juicy, tender, mild flavor with creamy yellow skin.  Best harvested when small.  They are said to be more digestible than other cucumbers.
Mexican Sour Gherkin
This cucumber variety produces abundant crops of 1-2" fruits that look like tiny watermelons that fall off the vines when ripe.  Sweet cucumber flavor with a surprising sourness, as if they are already pickled.  The vines have tiny leaves with tiny yellow flowers.
The varieties I listed above were purchased from Pinetree Garden Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.  I will be doing future posts regarding these new varieties I am trying this year in my garden to let you know the progress and what I think of them.  Thanks for reading and happy gardening!




  1. Hi, nice collection of tropical plants!
    I would like to grow 'sweet flavored cucumber that is shaped like an apple' --it's so unusual, I think I'd like to eat it.

    1. Thanks Nadezda! I am excited about trying these varieties. The crystal apple cucumber is similar to a lemon cucumber, which I have tried before and liked. The key is to pick them small, if you let them get big they have a lot of seeds.

  2. Interesting plants. I would love to try the apple cucumber. Is it an heirloom? Maybe we can do a seed swap.

    1. Crystal Apple cucumber is an heirloom. I would love to seed swap with you. I can give you some from my supply I have, I don't really save seed from cucumbers, because you have to worry about cross pollination too much. I can probably give you 3-5 seeds. Are you a seed saver?

  3. SCAVENGER HUNT contest for a crystal apple cucumber photo! Tag it #gkhpichunt, share & win!