Episode-2142- 21 Unique Things I will be Growing this Year

Japanese Purple Sweet Potato and Cubanelle Peppers in my Aviary.

Time for a fun show looking ahead to when all the ice and danger of heavy frost is gone.  Last year I found some new gems and this year I am planning major grow bed expansion so I have found some new ideas and some old favorites to add to the 2018 planting list.

Basically if you are a Gardner or grower or plant geek, today is a bit of plant porn for the winter cabin fever blues.  I will be providing a link for all seeds, some will be to companies that are MSB partners, some to companies that offer things our partners do not and some even to Amazon or eBay because you just can’t get them any other way.

My view with growing plants for food has always followed this guidelines in no particular order…

  • Grow what you like to eat
  • Grow what is expensive to buy
  • Grow what you can’t buy or is hard to find
  • Grow things that store well with little to no effort
  • Grow things that are perennial or that self seed
  • Grow things with more than one use
  • Grow things that have little disease/pest pressure
  • Grow honey badger plants (plants that just don’t give a shit)
  • Grow things that allow you to interplant in layers
  • Try a few new/weird things each year
  • Grow things that are “super foods”

Look any one of those is enough reason for me to grow something, frankly “because I effing feel like it”, is enough reason but the more check marks something gets, the more interested in growing it I become.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Why grow more than just the usual suspects
  • My plant starting set up for this year
  • Things I plant to grow this year and why
    • Cubanelle Peppers –  link
    • Datil Peppers –  link
    • Lemon Drop Peppers –  link
    • Habnada Pepper –  link
    • Corbaci Pepper –  link
    • Hairy Gourd –  link
    • White Flowered Gourd –  link
    • Bitter Mellon –  link
    • Mouse Mellon –  link
    • Scarlet Runner Beans –  link
    • Red Noodle Beans –  link
    • Japanese Purple Sweet Potato –  link
    • Daikon Radish –  link
    • Tomatillo Verde –  link
    • Achocha –  link
    • Beets – (Baby recycled) –  Just get them in a grocery store
    • Zucchino Rampicante Squash (trombone zucchini) –  link
    • Orach – Mixed –  link
    • Bloody Dock –  link
    • New Zealand Spinach –  link
    • Hopi Red Amaranth – link

Resources for today’s show…

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18 Responses to Episode-2142- 21 Unique Things I will be Growing this Year

  1. nickfromphilly

    Jack great show and timing awesome with all the winter weather it helps get one in a good frame mind.

    thought thou you have mention in several shows that you got X from the market. maybe do a show or maybe two on stuff one can get from a market and use like the beets mentioned in today’s show

    thank you sir for all you do as well as the council

  2. Some of these sound great but I don’t have a clue to their Zone .

    • Modern Survival

      Well since they are all annuals except one, it really isn’t that big of a deal.  What you need is your days of growing season and then look at days to maturity.  It isn’t like planting a tree here.

  3. Great show Jack.  I have one more pepper you may want to add, a chiltepin pepper, it’s native to Texas, is a perennial that lives up to 50 years.

    Down side is they can get a bit warm.

    Much appreciated Jack.

  4. Have you tried Crenshaw Melon?  It was noticeable better than cantaloupe when I was given one last year.

  5. Has anyone grown cucuzza squash? I was reminded of it when listening to the part of the podcast about trombone zucchini.

  6. These melons are not bitter like the name suggests, I think something was lost in translation.  I would consider green persimmons and the pith in pecans to be bitter.  These have a very strong, very fresh “stinging” flavor.  They don’t sting you at all, that is just the best way I can think of to describe the flavor.  Very strong mustard greens before a frost have this same attribute.

    Bitter Melon Stuffed with Ground Pork and Shrimp Recipe: (Canh Kho Qua)

    Mix ground pork and finely chopped shrimp (60/40 to 70/30) with salt, pepper, fish sauce and finely chopped fresh cilantro, green onions and hot peppers, I like the tabascos.  If you want to add some garlic, fresh basil or other fresh herbs, go ahead.

    Cut the melon in about 3″ sections and remove all the seeds leaving a hollow tube.

    Stuff the melons with the pork/shrimp mixture.

    Form the excess mixture into 1″ balls.  We usually end up with about 1 ball for every chunk of stuffed melon.

    Fill a good sized pot with water and add the melon sections and the balls.

    Season the water with Garlic Salt (or regular salt) a little sugar some halved tabascos and some fish sauce.   You don’t want to over season the broth, it should be pretty light.

    Bring to a boil and reduce to a strong simmer for about 15 minutes or until the center of the pork is done.  Skim the foam off while it is simmering.

    At the end, add a hand full of chopped cilantro and green onions.

    Serve it over jasmine rice with PLENTY of broth.

    There are plenty of variations of this.  Some use wood ear mushrooms and mung bean noodles instead of the shrimp so feel free to experiment.

    To make the melons less strong you can blanch and drain them before stuffing.

    • Modern Survival

      First I LOVE bitter melon but if you say they are not bitter, you and I have very different definitions of what bitter means. There are only 5 basic tastes, sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. I’d say bitter is the only one that applies to the distinctive taste of bitter melon.

  7. Maybe, I don’t really taste bitterness and have been substituting astringency for that sensation.  There is a pretty interesting Wiki article about “taste” that gets into the perception of bitterness and genetics along with a companion article about “supertasters”.

    This is really interesting when taken in context with the book The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker.

    I think you would find this book to be a combination of both fascinating and preaching to the choir.  If you read it, it will be an Item of the Day before you finish.

    At least check out the amazon description.

  8. I planted a regular sorrel a few years ago.  Now every year it comes back in a clump in my yard.  We never found a use for it so it just grows and I mow it over in the fall.  We will have to see if it comes back after the sub zero southern Pennsylvania winter we had so far.

  9. Jonatham Rexford

    This is one of my favorite episodes.  We love Datil Peppers.

  10. Great show as always.  I just recently joined the MSB, but I’ve been enjoying your podcasts for a year.  If you’re looking for another source for Sweet Datil peppers check out jim Duffy at Refining Fire Chilies,  http://www.superhotchiles.com.  he has a huge variety of pepper seeds and plants, he runs specials on both, and may be interested in giving discounts to MSB members.  I’ve bought seeds and plants from him for years, all are naturally grown, isolated, and non gmo, he’s a good dude.




    Thanks again!

  11. John Spaulding

    For anyone wanting to grow datils (or just about any other pepper) without the need to start from seed, live plants can be ordered from either Cross Country Nursery (http://www.chileplants.com/) or The Chile Woman (http://www.thechilewoman.com/). Shipping can get pricey depending on where you live, but both sources provide EXCELLENT quality plants. I have used both over the years, and continue to go back.

    • Modern Survival

      Thanks for the resources that said the Chili Woman really needs to move here site into the 21st century if she wants more orders, it is the epitome of a site where I state the owner “hates money”.

  12. Jack,

    I really enjoyed the show and have ordered most of the seeds/plants you talked about. Looking forward to having new items to cook with later this summer.

    Thanks much!