The edible gardens here at Spirit Hill Farm have a story and the story is this: I’m the kid in elementary school whose desk was always a mess. I tried to keep track of the plants as they went from seeds to sprouts.
It mostly did not work. For a while everything was marked dill.
So, here is your guide—I copied information from the open seed packets I have in a messy pile on a table in the guest house at Spirit Hill. Have fun foraging. I grew these things for you! Enjoy!
Bright yellow carrots will wow the kids and add gourmet flair to your plate. The carrots are long and slender and tapered to a point. Mild flavor is best when cooked.
Very nutritious—lots of vitamins A and C and iron.
Edible flowers are loved by bees, make a tasty chive vinegar (when flower heads begin to fade from bright pink to a rosy color, harvest them with vinegar. Fill a glass jar loosely with flower hearts, then fill with white vinegar. Put the lid on and place the jar on a sunny windowsill. In 1 -2 weeks, strain off flowers. Dilute with more vinegar if the chive taste is too strong), look and taste great in salads, and dry well for arrangements; foliate and/or flowers add a subtle onion flavor to many dishes.
Sugar Daddy Snap Peas
Stringless pods. They can be served fresh by themselves or with a dip, or added to give crunch to a salad. Add to stir-fries and soups or steam for a delicious vegetable.
Carnival Blend Carrots
Brown and eaten in Asia and Europe 1,000 years ago, these colorful carrots are available once again. They can also be harvested when only 3’-4” long for gourmet baby carrots.
Bush Bean Roma II
A favorite in Italy, these flat, wide snap beans aren’t available in most grocery stores. Once you taste their delicious, nutty flavor, you’ll wish you could grow them year ‘round. The 4”-5” long pods are slow to develop fiber and seeds, so they’re very tender. They are delicious eaten fresh and also are an excellent variety for freezing or canning.
Giant Golden Sweet Onions
These jumbo sized, golden-skinned long day onions are known for their wonderful sweet and mild flavor and extra crunchy white flesh. They are delicious when sliced thickly and eaten raw or cooked. (Harvest bulbs when tops begin turning yellow and fall over. Dig up bulbs carefully, then dry and cure on top of soil for 7-10 days. Removed tops and store in a cool, dry location.)
Named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, PA, it is an old heirloom dating back to 1889, passed down from generation to generation. Brandywine is a pinkish/red beefsteak type with thin-skinned, rich-flavored ¾-1 pound fruits.
Di Cicco Broccoli
An Italian classic, Di Cicco produces numerous small to medium-sized heads well into the summer. We recommend harvesting the main head when it is 3” in diameter. This will encourage side shoots. Leaves are edible, cooked like chard. Seeds are excellent for sprouting!
Black Beauty Eggplant
A beautiful vegetable with lovely, lavender blossoms pretty enough to grow in the flower garden, Black Beauty has set the standard since 1902 for large, high-quality fruit. Outstanding when harvested at their peak, the skin is tender, so no need to peel it.
This 2’-3’ tall, versatile herb is exquisite in the garden. In addition to attracting bees and other beneficial insects, it can be used as a cover crop. Edible blue and sometimes pink flowers with a cucumber-like flavor can be used to garnish dips, salads, and summer drinks, or candied with sugar for later use. The leaves and stems are also edible, delicious steamed like spinach or chard.
The refreshing flavor of dill will surely win you over! Tetra is a bushy, late-flowering variety, meaning for leaf production for dill lovers.
Bee Blend Pole Cherry Tomatoes
Pink, Purple, and Sunrise Bumble Bee tomatoes make up this sweet and tangy blend. Each tomato is striped, no two are alike, and mixed together they are stunning. Juicy right off the vine or in a salad. Big plants (provide support) produce big yields throughout the season. Crack resistant. Organically color-coded seeds for identification: red seed for Pink tomatoes, natural seed for Purple, and yellow seed for Sunrise.
Georgia Southern Collards
Georgia Southern has been enjoyed since the 1800s. Their large leaves not only make delicious steamed greens, they also make fantastic wraps (a substitute for tortillas), and when young, hearty salad greens. Fall frosts make them sweeter.
Jubilee Hybrid Sweet Corn
The #1 sweet corn among home gardeners—for good reason. Jubilee is the perfect combination of tenderness and flavor whether eaten fresh or frozen. Harvest when silks turn brown and feel dry, about 3 weeks after silks appear.
Celebration Swiss Chard
Red, magenta, orange, pink, yellow and white stems support glossy, dark green leaves—a beautiful ornamental for the flower garden! New selection with deeper colors, with flavors as bright as ever! Harvest all summer or grow for baby greens.
Tastes deliciously tangy but is slightly less pungent than regular arugula. Very attractive, deeply lobed, oakleaf-shaped leaves.
Substantial heart-shaped leaves, and probably the most tolerant of the greens. Grows year-round, even unprotected in the maritime Northwest.
Serrano Chile Pepper
There is a reason you see so many recipes using Serrano peppers: they have the distinctive, spicy flavor required for many dishes. 10,000-20,000 Scoville heat unites (medium hot to hot).
Purple of Romagna Artichoke
A coveted Italian heirloom. Provide with plenty of room and fertile soil, and you’ll be rewarded with 3-5 delicious artichokes per plant.
Canary Belle Sweet Pepper
Sweet 3”-4” thick-walled, green bell peppers ripen to canary yellow, adding a splash of sunshine to salads, sautéed meals, or grilled dishes.
King Richard Leeks
Leeks’ mild but rich onion flavor make them a favorite in home kitchens and gardens. This onion relative has compact stems that thicken but do not form bulbs like onions. King Richard produces extra-long white stems early. Enjoy fresh, grilled, sautéed, and added to soup and stews.
Progress #9 Heirloom Pea
Heirloom. This is the leading large-pod home garden shelling pea. Its vigorous dark-green plants produce 4″-5″ pods with 6-9 large, wrinkled dark-green peas. It is an early producer with consistently heavy yields. A dwarf variety, Progress #9 needs no staking and is easy to grow. Great flavor and quality
Flat Leaf Parsley
Preferred by cooks for its robust flavor, flat-leaved parsley adds a fresh, tantalizing note to omelets, stews, vegetables, and even soft cheeses and rice. It is considered an aid to digestion.
Olesh Tres Fine Endive
Also called frisée, endive’s beautiful, lacy leaves will turn ordinary lettuce salad into an upscale, bistro mesclun. The mile flavor blends well with other greens and the crisp, finely cut leaves add interesting texture.
Edible petals are bittersweet.
Long Standing Cilantro/Coriander (seeds)
Also called Chinese Parsley, cilantro has a thousand uses in the kitchen. Add a sprig to chicken soup or add chopped leaves to Mexican, Caribbean, or Asian dishes. The crushed seeds add intriguing flavor to stews, beans, and cookies.
Mediterranean Garden Oasis Cucumbers
A deluxe Beit-Alpha style hybrid, renowned for quality throughout the Mediterranean basin but not often seen here because its delicate flesh doesn’t permit easy shipping. The medium green fruits are smooth and glossy, about 5’-8” long, with very thin and tender skins and pale, juicy, crisp flesh.
Honey Boat Delicata Squash
A baked and buttered Honey Boat with or without a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar makes a succulent treat for a chilly autumn day! The rich, golden-orange squash has a delectably sweet, nutty flavor.
French Breakfast Radishes
French Breakfast has endured in gardens for over 100 years because of its wonderful, delicate flavor. This spring radish grows best during the cool periods of spring and fall but will also withstand some summer heat.
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Summer never tasted so good! Sugar Baby is delectably sweet and small enough to easily fit in the refrigerator. This plant produces an abundant crop of 7”-10” 8-10 pound, juicy fruit with red flesh.
Cherry Belle Radishes
The mild flavor and crisp texture of this Holland heirloom make it a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and snack trays.
Handsome heirloom known for its blue-green crinkled leaves, tender texture, and sweet flavor. Delicious in salads, for sautéed greens, soups, or braised with garlic and olive oil.
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Perfectly round blood-red roots are sweet and smooth. Excellent, high-quality heirloom storage variety that has been around since 1892. Leaves are suitable for salad or braising, too.
Round Zucchini Summer Squash
Especially suited for stuffing, or as individual serving bowls, but delicious in any way summer squash is used. Harvest at 3’-4” wide. The blossoms are scrumptious fried!
Italian Genovese Heirloom Basil
The classic pesto variety with fragrant glossy-green leaves and rich flavor. (I also planted some purple basil.)
Jade Gem Heirloom Container Lettuce
A kitchen gardener’s favorite: 6-8 inches tall, dense little rosettes of juicy-sweet, wavy leaves.
Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden
China Aster, Forget-Me-Not, Sweet Sultan, Daisy/Painted Tricolor, Dwarf Cornflower, Giant Imperial Larkspur, Love-In-A-Mist, Yellow Mexican Hat, Cosmos, Pacific Giant Delphinium, Sweet William, Baby’s Breath, Bishop’s Flower, Globe Gilia, Tall Double Godetia, Brown-eyed Susan, Feathered Red Celosia, Plains Bicolor Coreopsis, Plains Red Coreopsis, Corn Poppy, Canturbery Bells, Tall Catchfly.
I also bought some seedlings at local nurseries that are not listed here. They have tags planted in the soil next to them, I hope.
I also stuck some potato pieces that are growing like crazy in the bin closest to the water spigot. Somewhere I stuck a handful of garlic cloves, but I can’t remember where.
During the stay-at-home mandate, I ate quite a few of these vegetables all by myself, so some are inside of me. I hope they aren’t the ones you most desire. They were delicious.
This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold