Power Plants

Just like diet and ex­er­cise, ev­ery once in a while it’s good to break from rou­tine, even in your gar­den. This spring, sow a few new seeds

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Sow a few new seeds for op­ti­mum health plus beauty by the book k

THE GAR­DEN. Our back­yard oa­sis, our re­treat, our place in the (some­times) sun. Even a few con­tain­ers scat­tered on a bal­cony can make us happy. Why not add to this feel­ing of well-be­ing by mix­ing it up a bit? Sure, we all love our lit­tle cherry tomato plant, but how about a wa­ter­melon radish? Its cheery fuch­sia cen­tre matches its vi­ta­min-packed flavour.

“Like most North Amer­i­can gar­den­ers, my veg­etable plots had al­ways been planted with ‘nor­mal’ crops like to­ma­toes, pota­toes, car­rots, peas and beans,” writes Hal­i­fax-based gar­dener and au­thor Nikki Jab­bour in her new book, Veg­gie Gar­den Remix: 224 New Plants to Shake Up Your Gar­den and Add Va­ri­ety, Fla­vor and Fun, “and although I played around with dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties, I cer­tainly didn’t ven­ture too far from the tra­di­tional

veg­gies.” Enter Jab­bour’s Le­banese mother-in-law, who rec­og­nized what Jab­bour thought to be or­na­men­tal gourds as ed­i­ble sum­mer squash – quite com­mon in Le­banon. This got Jab­bour think­ing, and the idea of a “remix” of what we can grow in our gar­dens came to be.

Here, Jab­bour shares three easyto-grow veg­eta­bles that will add an ad­di­tional healthy dose of colour and flavour to your gar­den and your ta­ble.

Cu­camel­ons “What’s the most pop­u­lar veg­etable in my gar­den? It’s cu­camel­ons! Th­ese cu­cum­ber rel­a­tives are seeded in­doors in spring and moved to the gar­den af­ter the risk of frost has passed. The plants form slen­der vines that spread in ev­ery di­rec­tion but can be planted in a pot and al­lowed to climb trel­lises or bal­cony rail­ings. They pro­duce grape-sized fruits that look like tiny wa­ter­mel­ons but taste like cucumbers with a hint of citrus. De­li­cious!”

Broc­coli leaf “Also called Spi­gariello Lis­cia, broc­coli leaf is an Ital­ian veg­etable that yields large quan­ti­ties of tender, nu­tri­ent-rich leaves that have a mild broc­coli flavour. It’s easy to grow in con­tain­ers or gar­den beds and should be started in­doors in early spring or di­rect seeded out­doors in mid-spring ... Use the leaves raw in sal­ads, sautéed with gar­lic or chopped in soup, lasagna and other pasta dishes.”

Wa­ter­melon radish “Al­most too pretty to eat, wa­ter­melon radishes are a type of daikon radish but have rounded beige-green roots that hide an elec­tric pink in­te­rior. Slice one of th­ese open and wait for the ‘oohs and ahhs.’ Sow seeds early in spring and again in late sum­mer for a fall har­vest. The roots grow up to four inches across and can be thinly sliced in sal­ads, pick­led, stir-fried or roasted in the oven for a tasty treat.” —Vi­vian Vas­sos

GARDENING

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