Exciting Plants for You This Spring!

Babaco Papaya - "Mountain" Papaya
How about growing something new this year? Of course, we're all gardeners and we always try something new each year, right? But this sounds like fun. I learned about this from Randy Schultz's Garden Cuttings newsletter. It's a papaya that is hardy down to almost freezing. It grows from 4-8 ft. tall. Unlike most papayas that suffer if temperatures drop below 60 degrees F., this one can remain outdoors in moderate areas, or is small enough to bring indoors in winter. It starts fruiting at about 2 ft. in height, and the seedless fruits are 8-10 inches long with intense, delightful fragrance and flavor. It's not cheap - $29.95 for one 4 inch potted plant, but hey, you could be the only one in the neighborhood harvesting your own papayas! Here's the link at Logee's.

Did you know you can grow micro-greens on the kitchen counter? Sort of like growing sprouts, but leafier. Botanical Interests have special greens mixtures that you can grow in a shallow tray on a windowsill or kitchen counter. Grow your own salads, greens for sandwiches and more. There may be nothing more healthy and delicious than freshly grown sprouts, and they can easily be grown on a kitchen counter. The Micro Greens Savory Mix from Botanical Interests includes a tasty mix of nine different types of sprouting seeds including beet, Swiss chard, cress, mustard and kohlrabi. All of the seed varieties in the Micro Greens mix are non-GMO seeds, because Botanical Interests is committed to natural and organic seeds. Use these sprouts to liven up sandwiches and salads. There are 10 easy serving ideas and a recipe for Tomato, Micro Greens and Mozzarella Salad on the inside of the seed packet. A large packet of Micro Greens Savory Mix seeds sells for $3.99.

Rosella Purple Tomato
For a new take on a great heirloom tomato variety, consider growing Rosella Purple. This is a new dwarf tomato variety that produces fruits similar to Cherokee Purple but on short plants, making this variety ideal for container gardening. (Cherokee Purple is one of my favorite tomatoes to grow). This dwarfed variety was bred by the Dwarf Tomato Project, an international group of tomato enthusiasts devoted to breeding short tomato varieties with great flavor, Rosella Purple fruits weigh 6-10 ounces and feature a delightful deep purple color. The productive plants grow to about 36 inches tall and benefit from some staking to keep them upright and to protect the fruits from sun-scald. These determinate plants produce fruit 65 days after transplanting. A packet of seeds sells for $3.25 from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

And if you hadn't noticed, my newest book is on our website. Several of our wholesale customers are already stocking it, as well and I've been pleased at how fast the book is selling. It's full of my favorite hot sauce recipes. If you grow hot peppers, love hot sauce, or like to make things for gifts, you will like this book. Last fall I made gallons of my different recipes, testing and adjusting, sending out samples to friends for critiquing. This book is the result. It's a little book (40 pages) with a lot of heat!

You'll learn how to can hot sauce, freeze it, tips for making it hotter, or less-so, a guide to the various kinds of peppers that work best in hot sauces and a whole lot more. You can order it here on my website. $6.95 plus $2 shipping. It's in its second printing already!


Ghost Pepper said...

Never heard of a hardy papaya. I will have to look into this.

Sammie said...

I have always loved papaya and have wished it was available locally, since I am in a very small town and our grocery store is limited. Doesn't get much more local than my own house! Pricey, yes, but how cool if it works ! Thanks Jim !