The part I enjoy most about gardening, is trying new varieties and growing something I’ve never attempted before. Last year it was celery and strawberries….with mixed results…the strawberries were pretty good but the celery wasn’t (it grew but thanks to an incredibly hot dry summer it was indescribably bitter) it was fun nonetheless. This year, I’m thinking of trying a different variety of strawberry (possibly Sarian F1 Hybrid), cauliflower (a previous attempt failed to produce any proper heads), and some interesting varieties of herbs (such as lime basil, parsley “Laura” to name a few). Of course, the usual suspects (carrots var. nebula/sweetness, peas var. Mr. Big, lettuce etc) will be returning as well.

If you’re also looking to plant something different this year here are a few ideas that might inspire you….

Pumpkins are always a fun addition to the garden and if you don’t plan on growing one for the record books, they take less space than you might imagine. One year, I decided to plant a white pumpkin in my SFG and gave it about three squares to roam (alternatively, you can easily grow them vertically). Although, it did take the occasional pruning…I managed to produce two carvable pumpkins by the end of summer. There are lots of white pumpkin varieties out there including: Casper (my personal favorite), Moonshine, Jarrahdale (a bit on the grey side), and Polar Bear just to name a few.  In keeping with the pumpkin theme, “warty” pumpkins (eg. Knucklehead, Goosebumps) are also very popular with kids.

Casper Pumpkin

Casper pumpkins are a fun alternative to traditional pumpkin

Pumpkins are not the only plant to have variations on the traditional color… for example purple carrots (eg. purple haze), purple asparagus and purplish-black tomatoes are also becoming increasingly popular. Just remember that sometimes the fruit/veg color can be lost during cooking (as is the case with purple carrots).

Unusual flavors of traditional herbs can also be a great way to shake things up in the garden. Lime, spicy, or licorice are some of the subtle flavors that are available as an alternative to the usual basil flavor. There are also numerous interesting varieties of parsley, dill, etc.

What are you most looking forward to growing this year?