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Something Different for Your Vegetable Garden

Updated on June 18, 2012

somethings tropical

When it comes to a steady food supply, you ideally want perennial plants that will nearly take care of themselves. Rhubarb is one we are generally familiar with but there are others lesser known to our dinner tables and gardens that, depending upon your location may work for you.

Let uis start with chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Miller) I. M. Johnston subsp. Aconitifolius) Chaya is a green that has been found to contain more nutrients in its leaves than spinach.

The plant is simple to grow; has some drought tolerance and can deal with heavy downpours.

You can propagate chaye by woody stem cuttings that are between 6 and 12 inches long; chaya is slow to produce seeds.

The leaves can be harvested frequently which makes it a great come and cut again plant; just be sure to remove no more than 50% of the leaves from the plant which will enable it to keep on providing you with food.

Chaya is a valuable source of calcium, iron and protein. Do not eat the raw leaves. Chaya must be cooked. The raw leaves are toxic as they contain a gluocidethat can release toxic cyanide.

Cooking inactivates the toxic components.

From Borneo we have katuk (Sauropus androgynus) which can be grown as an edible hedge. Katuk can be cooked or eaten raw and the raw leaves have a nutty flavour.

Katuk leaves are easily harvested simply by pulling them from the stem with your fingers. You can eat the tender tips, leaves, flowers, and small fruits.

Katuk enjoys a hot, humid climate and will grow in shade or full sun. A plus is that it likes acidic soils and will tolerate flooding.

Katuk needs to be regularly trimmed for optimal production of new shoots as it is a rapid grower but does not develop a sturdy stem and will tip over. So keep it pruned to between 3-6 feet (1-2 m) high.

. Katuk is easily propagated by moderately woody cuttings (20-30 cm long, with at least two nodes). They can be slow to establish. Be sure to plant the cuttings about 2-3 feet apart in full sun or partial shade

jerusalem artichoke

courtesyflickr. Andyrob
courtesyflickr. Andyrob

jerusalem artichoke

The Jerusalem artichoke also known as the sunchoke is native to the eastern United States from main west to North Dakota and south to northern Florida and Texas.

The tuber of the sunchoke can be used like potatoes and the choke is a prolific breeder so yield is not the problem controlling the plant’s spread is. It may be best to grow sunchokes in large containers in order to keep them from taking over your garden.

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  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    time. thanks for stopping by.

  • pahko profile image

    pahko 9 years ago from The Voices In My Head

    You write some great articles man. What I need to know is, how do I go about growing a cool beard like that?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    When children are around, caution is wise. Thanks for coming by and the kind words.

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    Well this is something new that for sure. although no too keen on the toxic plant in case the grandkids decided to add to the salad. then we be in BIG trouble I believe. Thanks again good hub as usual. thanks

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    The climate in Jamacia may be good for these.

  • Juliet Christie profile image

    Juliet Christie Murray 9 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

    you know I have never had any of the vegetables you wrote about.

    They are not grown in Jamaica.Jamaica is now in a race against time to produce

    because we are expecting a food crisis. I think we need to try growing some

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • Priceless Sam profile image

    Priceless Sam 9 years ago

    Great information! I will definitely come back as soon as I get that coveted veggie garden...these are so different from the typical tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. - although I do love those things as well. Thanks for the tips.