My husband, Rob, enjoys gardening. He grows lots of flowers and some vegetables and fruit each year. Nearly every year he tries planting something new just for the fun of it. Often these fun, new crops can create a dilemma. Shortly after we were married he planted six Italian eggplant plants. We ended up with nearly 100 eggplants that summer. To be truthful, I didn't want to face another eggplant for several years.
One summer the new crop was tomatillas. They are a small vegetable sort of like a little green tomato in a husk. You can find them at many markets today, especially those with a Hispanic foods section. The first summer he planted them we had a bumper crop and I had no clue what to do with them. I eventually discovered a tomatillo salsa recipe and an enchilada recipe that we all enjoyed. I found I could freeze the salsa and this was one way we could utilize our crop. Rob has tried planting them again in our garden here at this house but we have never had a good crop.
One summer the day before we were leaving on an eight week mission trip he planted butternut squash in our garden. When we returned home we had about 25 squash and the vines had taken over part of the back yard and gone through the fence across our little neighbor lady's driveway. Fortunately she did not drive and did not have a car!
Last summer's new vegetable was Asian Long Beans. We had eaten these at Chinese restaurants here and we had them the two summers that we were in China and really enjoyed eating them. I saw some seeds at an Asian market here in town and Rob planted them. He discovered that they do well here in our climate (the area of China where we were had soil every bit as red as we have here in SC!). This summer he planted them a little too close together so it is a little difficult to get between the rows to find them all. Here's a picture of some of the bushes:
Rob planted two varieties of the long beans this summer: red seeded and black seeded. They both are doing well and we have been enjoying them. I just cut them into bite size lengths and then stir fry them in a little oil with garlic and maybe some sesame oil to season them. They also freeze well.
Here's a picture of some of the beans:
The longest one pictured was 27". Some get even longer than that.
If you are an adventurous gardener you will have to consider planting them next spring. Have you ever grown anything unusual or had a bumper crop of something?