Really, what is the point? In the past we’ve loved and nurtured tomatoes through months, only for them to fail to ripen. I don’t like growing tomatoes, let me establish right now. We keep growing them because people keep giving us them.
But, then, we’ve also grown things that have given us so much pleasure. There was the shock of discovering that jerusalem artichokes grow to seven foot. Or the amazing ease of raising rocket – one of the most expensive salad veg growing like a weed and fresher and more convenient than any supermarket veg bag. Or the pleasurable time spent frying courgette flowers in hot oil until I finally learned the secret of tempura (and no, I’m not going to give that one away, no sirree).
So we resolved we would grow things that look great – we have to, our vegetable beds are our flower beds. But also things that we can’t easily buy: delicate fruit; heritage varieties; exotic veg that (even in London) you need to make a special trip to buy.
Here, in no particular order, is a list I’ve come up with so far. I’ll be adding to it:
- Szechuan pepper
- Swiss chard
- Japanese wineberry
- Pak choi
- Edible honeysuckle berries
Some of these, like shiso, I love. Others, like mulberries or salsify, I’ve never even tasted. Others, like lovage and jack-by-the-hedge, I’ve spotted in a particularly difficult cook book. Whatever the reason, we’d like the garden to produce the unexpected and never ever a granny smith or bog standard potato.