Friday, December 6, 2013

A (Almost) Secret Source For Rare Vegetables

Do you ever feel like you've "seen it all" at your local home improvement nursery? Are the seed racks looking a little tired? Have you already grown 5 kinds of lettuce, three types of cucumber and thirteen different marigolds?

Then it's time to look a little further afield for planting stock.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I hit an international market called Food Town down in Davie this last week.

This selection of gardening bounty was the result:

I bought sugar cane, water chestnuts, nopale cactus pads, and a green squash, a Korean melon, chestnuts, plus white, purple and Japanese sweet potatoes.

Not all of this haul is from Food Town, though. We hit Whole Foods next and scored purple, white and assorted potatoes for this coming spring's potato patch, as well as a bunch of Jerusalem artichoke tubers, ginger roots and a bag of buckwheat.

All of these items are getting planted. The dark red sugar cane is a type I've never seen before... and the other veggies are all great for starting. I'll pop the water chestnuts in a tub, scoop the seeds from the squash, plant the nopale pads, set the potatoes in a sunny windowsill, get the sweet potatoes sprouting and generally have fun trying all these new plants out.

If anyone needs a little plant ID help, I made a handy labelled key to what I got... check it out:

If you haven't hit your local Oriental or ethnic market for planting stock, you really should. It's a treasure hunt - you never know what you'll find, but chances are, it'll be more interesting than the seed rack at the feed store.

A lot of Asian vegetables thrive in Florida - get hooked up and watch your garden go International.

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At December 6, 2013 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's where I got the galangal and turmeric, too.

At December 6, 2013 at 5:54 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Great score. The turmeric I saw at this market was really sub-par. No good "eyes" on it.

At December 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM , Blogger Dr. Mom said...

I have ordered a number of interesting seeds from Asia from Amazon. They were actually pretty reasonable but took forever to arrive from abroad. I can't wait to see if any germinate.

At March 7, 2014 at 12:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the sugar cane looks like the old variety that I grew up with in Ms. - blue ribbon. Has a fantastic taste. Is getting very hard to find.

At March 7, 2014 at 12:40 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

I'd love to try it. Do you have any?

At March 9, 2014 at 9:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know of a source in Ms. Will see if it is still available.


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