Shake up your growing routine with 7 new vegetables to try this year

Shake up your growing routine with 7 new vegetables to try this year

Seasoned gardeners are always on the lookout for new vegetables to try in both their gardens and their kitchens. Consider adding one or two new varieties each growing season, based on what you and your family like to eat. If it turns out the new produce doesn?t tempt your taste buds, talk with other gardeners in your area.

You might be able to trade your veggies for something they have and that you like better. Here are seven possibilities for your vegetable garden.

Turkish orange eggplants

This is an African species of eggplant. It is rich, with a non-bitter flavor and a striped orange exterior. The flesh is sweeter and tenderer than its purple and white Asian counterparts, commonly found in many stores and markets. They are about the size of tennis balls and grow well in a planting bed or a container garden.

While the deep orange color is dramatic, the best flavor for cooking happens when the fruit turns from green to cream.

Rainbow carrots

Atomic red, cosmic purple, solar yellow, lunar white ? all names which perfectly describe the colors of rainbow carrots. The red turns a brilliant hue when it?s cooked, which also deepens the flavor. Cosmic purple is orange under its lovely skin and tastes like a traditional sweet carrot.

Did you know? Home grown carrots are higher in vitamins A and B, as well as calcium and phosphorus.



These babies are all the rage with professional chefs and savvy home cooks. Microgreens are more mature than sprouts, but have not reached the ?baby? green stage.

They burst with flavor, as it is concentrated in the tiny plants. Consider radishes, cress, beets, cilantro, basil and lettuces for your micro garden. Even better still ? there are multiple growing seasons a year since you harvest them when they are young.

Green zebra tomatoes

This intensely flavored, open-pollinated fruit is reminiscent of the kind grandma grew in the old country. Green zebra tomatoes are the ultimate blend of heirloom flavor combined with modern day yields and disease resistance. They are about the size of a Roma and are best when the cream striping begins to turn yellow. If left on the plant too long, it becomes mealy. So pick as soon as it?s ready. 

Costata Romanesca summer squash

A beautiful Italian zucchini, this heirloom fruit remains tender as it grows in size. Flavor is at its peak when the vegetable is about a foot long and is perfect for all your summer squash recipes. Each fruit is heavily ribbed and striped with alternating dark and light green shades. The plants themselves are hardy vines that tend to grow larger than other summer squashes.

Bowling red okra

Grown by the Bowling family of Virginia since the 1920?s, this is one of the most beautiful okra varieties available. Plants produce early, providing long, slim, tender okra pods. The plants sport beautiful red stems and delicate pink flowers with red veins ? much like the hibiscus the species is related to.

The outside of the pods are deep red, while the inner flesh is whitish-green. The flavor profile is also similar to traditional okra and can be cooked in the same manner.

Hungarian paprika peppers

Bright red pods hint at the sweet and spicy flavor they contain. Now you?ll have the freshest available, rather than the flavorless, bottled paprika you find in stores. This pepper is perfect for drying and saving. Grind dried fruits to a powder and use as you would with store-bought paprika.

Look for seeds that originally came from Hungary, where the pepper has been developed to its fullest potential. The plants are prolific and chances are good that you?ll either be drying plenty for your own use or sharing with the neighborhood. 

These are just some of the plants that gardeners are giving a try. Peruse your seed catalogs and online forums to find more vegetables to tempt your palate. Who knows? Local chefs may hear of your endeavors and ask for samples!