Rare and Unique Fruits for your Garden
Create Variety in your Garden with Rare and Unique Fruit Plants!
Once the weather begins to get cold, I start to get the itch to plan next years garden. This year I wanted to look into a few new fruit plants to add to my regular garden rotation.
I won't be able to plant them all this year, but maybe someday soon I will buy that farm I always dreamed of and plant to my hearts content.
However, in the mean time, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite unique plants that I have found while researching. I hope you enjoy them and can take advantage of some of these great options to add drama to this years garden.
This pretty little vine is an heirloom treasure often forgotten in modern day gardens. In days long ago, the melons were carried in the pockets of those who may not have had the facilities needed for proper hygiene. The melons would help to mask body odors when one was not able to bathe, thus the term 'pocket pomander' was born. Stories of old tell that Queen Anne herself carried one, which would explain why common names such as Her Majesty's Melon have been used.
Spiky or wrinkly
The Sungold Casaba Melon is a short season casaba that ripens well even in northern areas. The oval fruits have a smooth, golden yellow skin with deep creases and sweet,juicy, greenish-white flesh.
The African Kiwano Melon is a bright orange, oval fruit growing from 6 to 9", with numerous spines and hairy stems and leaves. Flesh is bright green, smells like banana and tastes like a mix of lime and cucumber. It can be eaten raw or, preferably, made into a juice or used in sorbets. This Native African Plant can produce up to 100 fruits on a single vine!
Bittermelon is one of the most popular vegetables in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, India and the Philippines. This unique plant is grown mainly for the immature fruits although the young leaves and tips are also edible. The plant produces cucumber-like fruits that are pale white with pronounced bumps. The flavor is slightly bitter and is an interesting addition to soups and stir-fries.
This newly rediscovered heirloom produces abundant crops of 1-2" fruits that have the appearance of miniature watermelons, and fall off the vines when ripe. Actually a sweet cucumber flavor, contrasted by a surprising sourness, as if they are already pickled!
Golden Honey Watermelon an early, medium-sized watermelon with dark green skin produces fruits that are 10- 20 pounds and 10-12" in. in diameter. Flesh is yellow-orange, sugary and crisp with large, light tan seeds. Harvest when the tendril closest to fruit has withered and the melon sounds hollow when tapped.
This legendary melon, the "Moon and Stars Watermelon", rediscovered in rural Missouri, has helped rekindle the current interest in heirloom fruits and vegetables. The leaves of the vines are yellow speckled while the dark-green skin of the melons has a unique patterning of bright-yellow splashes resembling moons and stars. Growing as large as 40 lbs., these fruits have bright-red flesh and are memorably sweet.
This Strawberry is a wonderful variety if you have trouble with birds eating all your strawberries. The yellow fruit do not attract birds, thus bird damage is much less of a problem than with traditional red strawberries. These are very easy to grow in full or part sun.
The White Woodland Strawberry is a small-fruited, woodland strawberry that is grown both for its ornamental value and its tasty berries. Numerous, small, 5-petaled white flowers with yellow centers appear throughout summer Flowers are followed by small pure white strawberries which may also be harvested throughout summer. Flowers and fruit are usually simultaneously present on plants in summer.
This evergreen shrub is in leaf all year, in flower from August to October and will grow to about 4 feet. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked however, it must be thoroughly ripe because the unripe fruit is poisonous. It is best harvested once it has fallen from the plant. In cooler regions this plant makes a great house or patio plant.
Passion Flower - What's in a name?
Have you ever wondered how the Passion Flower got it's name? The early Spanish missionaries in South America saw in the flower the instruments of Christs Passion, the central column represented the scourging post, the three stigmas the three nails, the five stamens the five wounds, the corona filaments the crown of thorns, the calyx the nimbus or halo of glory, and the ten petals the Apostles Peter and Judas being absent. They are very easy to raise from seed and very vigorous given half a chance, they will take over your greenhouse. They grow well in pots and flowers are often produced in succession throughout the summer.
This wonderfully interesting variety of the Passion Flower, looks almost like a spider ready to strike, when the flower first begins to open. It produces the same wonderful tasting fruit that is great for juicing.
This plant features unusual but beautiful 3 inch flowers, followed by edible fruits after a hot summer. It is a self clinging climber from Brazil that grows well in a greenhouse or conservatory as a houseplant, or outside against a sheltered wall. Flowers begin in early summer and last till autumn. It is Hardy in zones 8-10, but in cooler areas it can be brought inside as a houseplant in the winter.