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New year, new plants… perhaps!

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  New year, new plants… perhaps!

They’re not really “new”…  but I hadn’t thought of planting these plants until I saw them in my Burpee catalog…  So, perhaps they’re worth a shot in my northern climate.  How about you?

Let’s start with the sesame plant.

Sesame plant

Sesame plant

The plant itself is actually prettier than I thought!  It has wonderful white to pink blossoms that flower for a long period, then pods form and break open in mid-September releasing their pear shaped seeds.

sesame pods

sesame pods

sesame-seeds

You can use the seeds in salads, toast them and add to all kinds of dishes.  Sesame seed is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago.  It does take it’s time.  Plant after frost date and then hang on for about 100 days!  Pretty much the growing season for many of us.  Attractive 3-4′ upright annual herb, garlanded with opposing broad lancelike leaves, produces a radiant show of tubular yellow (or sometimes white, blue or purple) flowers.  Health benefits of Sesame seeds

 

Another plant that may be an option is the artichoke.  I make a fabulous crab/artichoke dip every year for Christmas and see that Burpee offers up a hybrid plant called ‘Lulu’, which makes it worth a try in our more midwestern climes where it would be an annual.  A culinary delicacy since ancient Rome, the giant flower buds offer a one of a kind experience.

Artichoke 'Lulu'

Artichoke ‘Lulu’

Lulu gets top market for flavor and productivity.  They are heavy feeders and need plenty of room to grow.  Some places suggest about 5 feet worth!  Frighteningly they’re related to thistle, but we don’t have anything to worry about as it won’t live through our winters!  Artichokes are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, while being a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  They have the highest antioxidant levels out of all vegetables, according to a study done by the USDA, and out of 1,000 plants different types of foods, they ranked #7 in antioxidant content. Antioxidants are one of the primary means of defense for the immune system against the effects of free radicals.

 

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