Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Six new edibles to try in the garden

Looking for a challenge? Try growing one of these interesting plants for a unique harvest

3. Northern kiwi or…
…Hardy Kiwi, Bower Vine, Dessert Kiwi, Cocktail Kiwi, Tara Vine, Baby Kiwi, Kiwi Grapes. This fruit has many monikers and only a few fans in North America—so far. After all, the fruit has only been grown here commercially for a couple of years. But as Grace Mandarano of 100km Foods Inc. tells us, “It’s one of Ontario's best-kept secrets! They’re delicious and unique. They look like a Kalamata olive and they are smooth, they don't have the furry outer skin that their tropical cousins have. When cut diagonally, they have the same star pattern of black seeds inside and taste is very similar.”

Right now, the Northern Kiwi is only being grown on a small handful of farms—Warners Farm and Barrie Hill Farms are two pioneers. The vine is native to Northern China, Korea and Siberia and is related to the Chinese Egg Gooseberry and the bigger, fuzzy kiwi we’re all accustomed to. This climbing vine would be a fun experiment in Canadian gardens as it can withstand temps as low as –25 F and does well in large containers, though it does need about 150 frost-free days to fruit. Like holly, the Northern Kiwi vine is dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants—so if you do give this a go, make sure you buy a girl and a guy!     

4. Celery Sensations Red
Grown exclusively by Duda Farm Fresh Foods in Florida, it took almost 20 years of research to bring red celery to the marketplace. In 1991, horticulturist Larry Pierce, Duda’s manager of celery seed research, cross-pollinated an existing commercial variety of celery with an old-world heritage, red, celery root (also known as celeriac). Voilà! Red celery. It’s very pretty and is a little more bitter, so it’s great on the grill or in savoury stews. The elegant red stalks first showed up early in 2011, as Duda conducted a test run. There were issues with colour consistency so another test run will be conducted again in the near future. But, if you can’t wait, you can plant your own red celery: seeds for another variety of red celery are available from a few seed supply companies!


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