What unusual vegetables should I grow that I've never heard of?

How easy are Jerusalem artichokes to grow? They have shown up in markets here recently and we are enjoying eating them. But they are expensive so it seems like a good thing to grow your own.

Jerusalem artichokes are super easy to grow. The plants themselves are tall and slender, with slightly rough leaves/stems (think fine sandpaper). They spread and 1 planted tuber can product 10+ in a summer. For me, any left in the ground return the next year.

If not harvested eventually they choke themselves out.

Getting a good variety with smooth skins is important, otherwise cleaning can be difficult.

The yellow, 1.5-2 inch daisy flowers smell a little like chocolate and are held high (8 feet wasn’t uncommon).

Mine are planted between mine and my neighbor’s garages and have survived in an area that isn’t hospitable to many other edibles.


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Scott, easy does not begin to describe them. They are in a class with chinese garlic, smallage and mint. But they are deer candy, so neglect inside the deer fence is fine.

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Replying to my own post: but they are full of inulin, which is as healthy as it is windy. Not a problem if you increase your intake slowly. You can start by roasting them mixed with other tubers/roots.

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Way to easy,

That’s my field. the yellow are sunchoaks.


giant green onions are some of our favorite edible ornamentals. Not just because they are so handy and ready to pick for stir-frying, but also for their speed in filling up dead-spaces with blue-green figures and striking growth patterns.

below is a mini time-lapse of mexican green onions often sold for cheap and which grow so fast straight from the bag. Filled up the elevated planter in just a month. Just as hardy to 115 F in summer as they are hardy at 15F in winter.

in vegas, green onions may be grown as perennials. Often living for 2-3 years and self-seeding. On their first year, the spears will be relatively thin, on the second year onwards, the spears get quite muscular(below)


From seed. They take abut a year to establish.

we couldn’t wait to see our first ones too, as this is the first time we’ll be growing it in the desert.
here’s what the seedling looks like

@k8tpayaso, egyptian spinach is cooked like you would okra for gumbo, except that with e. spinach, all of the above ground plant parts are edible. Mature leaves and stems are edible but may be too fibrous, so simply just harvest the tops(about 3-4 inches of stems leaves, young pods, and flowers).
have posted several pics and will be adding more pics of “unusual vegies” (as the seedlings progress) to our weblog

we’re also trying to grow chayote the second time, but this time at the north side of our property, as it seems tender to direct sun and died on our first try a couple years ago


Ground cherries are wonderful! Like vanilla and pineapple flavored cherry tomatoes. I only like a few at a time fresh, but they are amazing dried! I let them naturalize in my yard and garden and just leave the ones​ that are where I want. I then put a cheap tomato cage around the ones I want to harvest to keep it tidy. Kids under five are the best at harvesting. They love peeling the husks.


Are those the same as tomatillos? We tried to grow them last year, and they didn’t produce. Supposedly they need another variety for pollination?

ground cherries do just fine self-fertile. they are clearly related to tomatillos (leaves, husks, etc.) but in the same way a Roma and a cherry tomato are related, or maybe even more a chiltepin compared with a bell pepper–ground cherries look like a squat tomatillo but taste like some over-ripe but still hard cherry tomato. Maybe one that made sweet, dirty love to a melon. They are sweet and just tangy enough not to be insipid. They are also in stores now as Husk cherries, cape gooseberries, and “golden berries”.

They are very easy, once you get a few in the ground they will re-seed with a vengeance, but while they are fun they don’t yield a ton and they are absolutely not tomatillos in terms of taste.

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Yeah, that! I originally got mine from Baker Creek seeds, but have let them reseed for five or so years. Basically grow like peppers. I would say that while there’s a hint of tomato flavor, they are.way more fruity. There might be a difference between strains though. Dried, they make.the most amazing oatmeal"raisin" cookies. Fiddly to remove all the husks, but I bet they are SWD proof!

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These sound interesting to grow. Some report they taste like pineapples. I tried to find plants locally or on line and couldn’t find any. I’m putting on my list of seeds to order next year.

they are both in the family of Physalis. Same growth habit different flavor profiles.

They are very easy to start from seed, just grow like peppers or tomatoes. They are smaller plants than tomatillos, about two foot.

I grew ground cherries some years back, loved them and ate them like they were going out of style until I bit one in half to see what it looked like inside and there was a maggot in it.
Maybe the maggots were the taste I was craving. Anyone else see this before?


@KYWeaver, @lordkiwi, @markalbob, thanks. My tomatillo grew up to about 2ft tall, it had an interesting look to it. It looked like a big pepper plant based on the stalks and branches. It produced lots of blooms, and it actually did have a few fruit form, but they were very small under the husks. I read that there has to be another plant nearby to pollinate, but I only had one plant. I tried to start some more indoors this year, but none sprouted.

It sounds like ground cherries are similar, except for the flavor.

I have ground cherries now that are beginning to ripen. I had never tasted them but so far I really like them and I haven’t gotten but a half dozen to taste yet. Initial flavor is very sweet but then another taste is thrown in there that seems familiar but out of place. I have a couple of different varieties but one is the pineapple and it does have a bit of pineapple flavor. Some bug is eating some of them inside the husk before they ripen…haven’t seen what yet but I really don’t want to find a maggot!! :flushed:

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Ground cherries are a lot smaller. It takes the tomatillos a long time to fill out the husks and I think heat may have a lot to do with it. Even the small ones can be used for salsa though. They don’t have to “ripen” but will be a bit more tart.

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@jujubemulberry how long does it take to maturity for winged beans? If I planted now would they have time to mature? Our first frost date is ~November15 but temperature starts cooling slightly in September and significantly in October. I understand they take a while to germinate.