“Every vegetable plant to me is beautiful. I’m biased,” says Chris Gark as he tells me about interesting veggies that he’s growing.
Chris has introduced me to a number of neat crops over the years in his trial garden at Martin Farms, a wholesale grower of veggie plants for homeowners.
Chris usually has lots of unusual edible plants on his radar. He says that this year he’s really focusing on greens. Here are six crops he’s stoked about:
1. Sea Kale
“It’s a relative of kale that doesn’t peter out like a lot of greens do,” says Chris. The large leaves and fragrant, edible flowers make it a fun addition to the garden. As a perennial, it’s a good fit for permaculture gardening.
2. Oyster leaf
“It’s really quite an ornamental plant,” he says as he talks about the vibrant green-blue foliage. The flowers remind him of borage. The leaves are tender with a slight seaweed flavour. “It’s good for salads and garnishes,” Chris adds.
3. Red Ursa Kale
Unlike Sea Kale, this is a true kale. This beautiful heirloom has leaves with both frilly edges and attractive colour. Like many kales, you can harvest young leaves to eat fresh in salads and cook larger ones.
4. Kosmic Kale
“I had the first plant in Canada,” Chris tells me. Like Red Ursa kale, this is a true kale. But it never goes to seed. See my previous blog post. It’s stunning. https://stevenbiggs.ca/stevebiggs-blog/2018/4/19/a-great-ornamental-edible
5. Dreadlock Amaranth
“I eat the greens, but I ultimately love the flower!” says Chris. This is a plant that he grows year after year.
6. Biquinho peppers
“They are the size of large marbles with a point, like inverted teardrop,” Chris says. The name of this little pepper from Brazil means “little beak.” And the plants themselves are beautiful. Chris says that even in the cold, wet weather last year the plants performed very well.