Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica

Stinging Nettle

Botanical name: Urtica dioica

How to grow it: Stinging nettle is considered a weed around much of the world and so it’s safe to say it’s very easy to grow in a wide climatic range. In fact the main challenge is to keep it contained as it will spread via underground runners as well as seed. Consider using barriers or growing in pots or containers- particularly if you’re growing for the first time.

I’ve found it will grow in very poor soils with virtually no care, but also responds well to regular watering and fertilising. Best to grow in an out of the way position as the stings can be painful – especially for children or the unsuspecting.

Propogation is by division of underground runners or from tip cuttings.

Will do well in pots and responds well to regular harvesting.

Nutrition: You may well ask – why on earth would you intentionally grow a weed like that?

Stinging nettle is a nutritional powerhouse containing vitamins A,B,C,D,E & K and high levels of Iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and many other trace elements.

Medicinal uses are too many for this space – I would consider Nettle one of the best general tonic herbs you can take. It’s very high in chlorophyl which is good for your blood & for your body’s ability to cleanse itself. Also thought to be very good for your digestive system.

Bizarrely, the Nettle sting has been traditionally used for pain relief – the sting is thought to be good in attracting circulation to your pain areas, though some will say the pain of the sting just diverts your attention! (I haven’t tried this yet)

Using it in the Kitchen: Obviously you wouldn’t eat Nettles raw, but as soon as you apply heat the stings are neutralised – that means you can add it to any cooked dishes – often soups and long cooked meals like casseroles. I usually throw it in to dishes stems and all & just remove the hard stems prior to serving.

If you want to include Nettle in your diet, consider using the leaves in your herbal teas. They can be added to almost any tea combination and you’ll know you’re supercharging your tea’s nutrients.

Nettle is a brilliant survival food for it’s hardiness and amazing nutrition.

 

 

Plantain

Botanical name: Plantago major and lanceolata

How to grow it: There’s two main varieties of Plantain – broad leafed & narrow leafed and they’re both very common weeds around the world. I usually have both to give me choices when harvesting.

narrow-leafed-plantain
Narrow-Leafed Plantain – same qualities as the broad-leafed variety.

If you have dandelions growing wild in your garden, there’s a very good chance plantain is growing too – they both like the same conditions and are extremely hardy.

Plantain is perennial and survives the toughest conditions – roadsides, cracks in pavement etc. but does respond very well to a sunny, well drained position – 1 plant may be all that’s needed for a regular supply of leaves.

Propogating is by seed only – which you can collect from the flower spikes as soon as they turn brown. Wouldn’t recommend allowing it to self seed as you’ll have it everywhere and be forever weeding it out.

Good plant for pots and containers

Nutrition: High in vitamins A,C & K, calcium, iron, silica and many other minerals which make it a great addition to your diet.

Medicinally, Plantain can be used as a poultice on open wounds to aid blood clotting & healing. I think it’s most valuable use is as a general tonic for the digestive system where it performs healing & cleansing actions that can work wonders for disease.

Using it in the kitchen: Very young leaves can be used in salads and older leaves in cooked dishes, but I don’t find it particularly palatable.

I prefer to use it in my morning smoothie knowing what a good job it’s doing in maintaining my digestive system, and it can be taken as tea with your other favourite herbs.

The seeds are also edible and nutritious – I sometimes add them to my smoothies too.

 

Plantain is an awesome survival plant as it’s so hardy and provides us with really high nutrition. You can generally find Plantain without even having a garden – most people know it as a weed and would be happy for you to harvest/remove it.

 

Parsley

Parsley

Botanical name: Petroselinum crispum

How to grow it:

Parsley is a biennial herb to about 50cm. There are two very common cultivars – Curly leaf & Flat leaf which have very similar properties. The Flat leaf variety may grow a little larger and faster and handle slightly warmer conditions.

Prefers full sun but will handle a little shade, moist, well drained soil. Doesn’t like conditions that are too wet or hot – so maybe a semi-shade position in the heat of summer. Grows really well in pots with regular liquid fertiliser.

Regular harvesting of outside leaves & snipping off the flower buds will keep the plant healthy and abundant.

Propogation is generally by seed, though I prefer to buy seedlings in spring or autumn. In the second year it will readily self seed and you’ll get lots of new plants.

Flat leaf parsley

Nutrition:

Parsley is high in vitamins A, B, C & K.  Also high in calcium, Iron, Potassium & zinc.

Consume plenty of parsley to clean your blood & strengthen your immune system.

In the kitchen

Parsley is used around the world both fresh and cooked and it’s nutrition is well known.

Add to soups, casseroles, stir fries, omelettes for it’s mild celery flavour and to salads or to garnish just about anything. What would life be like without Tabbouleh?

 

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum

Some other names: Anise basil, liquorice basil, horapha

How to grow it:

Thai Basil basil is a perennial in warmer areas though is probably better planted as an annual. The bush can get quite large and leaves become a less tender if the plant isn’t regularly pruned and flowers removed.

Prefers full sun but will handle a little shade, moist, well drained soil. Doesn’t handle drought or frost well – keep it well watered for best results.

Great plant to grow in a pot – you can move it to shelter it in the cooler months and get a longer harvest.

Propogation is generally by seed, though I prefer to buy seedlings in spring. If you allow a plant to go to seed, you’ll find it popping up all around your garden.

Nutrition:

Thai basil contains vitamins A, B & C and volatile oils that have many herbal actions. High in calcium, magnesium, zinc & copper.

Regular consumption of basil is thought to strengthen your immune system.

In the kitchen

Thai basil is used widely in asian cooking for it’s anise/licorice flavour. Can be used as flavouring or garnish.

This flavour can make it unsuitable for mediterranean dishes, pesto etc., but I will use it in place of sweet basil sometimes.

Also makes a delicious and nutritious tea – combines well with many other tea herbs.

Sambung Gynura procumbens

Sambung

Botanical name: Gynura procumbens

Some other names: Longevity spinach, Sambung Nyawa, Leaf ginseng

How to grow it: Sambung is one of those really easy perennial plants that tolerates a wide range of soil types and grows well in sun or shade. It will do better in moist & fertile soils producing larger and more succulent leaf.

Grows all year round in warm climates, and will die back in winter in the cooler climates – generally will reshoot in spring.

Spreads rampantly in it’s growing season – one plant can provide an enormous amount of fresh leaf. Fortunately it’s really easy to cut back and control and is quite an attractive plant.

Really simple to propagate – any piece of stem seems to strike, and if you allow it to spread, you can usually find a rooted piece of stem to replant.

One of the better plants for container growing- you can really get a good supply of leaves going if you keep the water & fertiliser up to it

Medicinal value: There’s not a lot of scientific information around for Sambung though it is being researched for for it’s medicinal value. Being widely known as “life extender” and “Longevity spinach” gives a clue to it’s value, and traditionally it’s been used fresh or as tea for diabetes, cancer, prostate health, and arthritis. Just 3 leaves a day is thought to prolong life.

Using it in the kitchen: Fresh leaves make a tasty addition to salads, sandwiches, juices or smoothies.

Also used as spinach, in stir fries or omelettes. I like to add it to stocks to increase flavour and minerals.

Really versatile vegetable – I tend to throw a few leaves into just about any dish that requires some greenery.

 

Easily qualifies as a survival plant as it’s so easy to grow and incorporate into your diet.

 

warrigal greens tetragonia tetragonioides

Warrigal greens

Botanical Name: Tetragonia tetragonioides

Some other names: NZ spinach, Sea spinach, Botany Bay spinach, Cook’s cabbage.

How to grow it:

Warrigal greens is a low growing perrenial which is very hardy & produces good spinach leaf crops in the warmest of weather It’s also very salt tolerant and can be grown close to the beach – in fact I’ve often spotted it growing on sand dunes at my local beaches.

It doesn’t tolerate frost, so may needed to be planted as a annual in cooler climates, but in frost free climates it will grow all year round.

It will handle full sun or shade equally well and prefers free draining soils, but it still grows in my subtropical climate’s wet season. Will hang in there with less plant growth in drought periods.

It responds well to fertilising and mulching – the leaves will get much bigger if well fed. Can tend to get a bit invasive if it’s happy, but it is also very easy to remove.

Propogation is very simple – just pull up some plants roots and all & replant them into their new position or pots, water them in and they’ll be on their way with very little care. Warrigal spinach also flowers & sets seed late in summer, and if left to, will self seed rapidly.

Grows well in pots – regular pruning prevents the plant spilling over & setting seeds in nearby pots.

I like to have a couple of patches growing in different conditions, and pick from the best one.

Nutrition:

Leaves a good source of protein with vitamins A, B, & C, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous & potassium.

Using it in the kitchen:

Warrigal greens leaves are thought to be relatively high in oxalates, which means if you’re going to be eating a lot of them, they should be blanched & rinsed in cold water. If you go to this trouble, the leaves can be used in salads or cold dishes – very nice.

I tend to eat it without blanching in combination with lots of other leaves, and use it mostly in stir fries & omelettes – at the last minute as they wilt very readily. Could also be added to soups, curries & casseroles for it’s nutrition rather than adding any body or flavour to the meal.

warrigal greens tetragonia tetragonioides
Warrigal greens – should be cooked first

A great survival food for it’s hardiness & regular supply of nutritious leaves – especially in summer when many other “spinach” plants are struggling.

vietnamese mint persicaria odorata

Vietnamese mint

Botanical Name: Persicaria odorata

Some other names: Vietnamese coriander, Laksa leaves, Hot mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Rau ram

How to grow it:

Vietnamese mint is of those “hard to kill” plants – it will grow anywhere, and if it likes it’s spot will become invasive. It is easy to remove though and quite a pretty plant.

In warmer areas it will grow all year round and in colder areas it will rebound quickly after frost. I find the summer heat will cause it to lose some vigour, so suggest planting in a shady position that gets a bit of morning sun.

Vietnamese mint will grow in shallow water or bog situations, and in fact it’s more likely to get invasive with unlimited access to water. You could try it in a closed container to prevent it spreading.

I find it grows well without addition of fertilizer – perhaps an occasional foliar spray is all that’s needed.

Propogation is very simple – just root some cuttings in water. Once they’ve rooted, plant them in the garden & keep watered for a few days. You could skip all this by just putting cuttings in the ground as rain is expected – they so easily strike.

vietnamese mint persicaria odorata
Vietnamese mint stems root easily in water

Great plant for the greenhouse – it will love the water & heat. Will also grow great in pots – just keep it well watered.

Nutrition:

Leaves high in protein & potassium and other vitamin & minerals. Many herbal actions.

 

Using it in the kitchen:

How you use Vietnamese mint depends on how much you like the flavour. If you don’t like coriander – then forget it – you won’t like vietnamese mint. It has a strong flavour similar to coriander – but hot. The leaves can be eaten in combination with other greens in a salad or on a sandwich.

If on the other hand you do like coriander, you’ll most likely enjoy these leaves added to oriental dishes at the end of cooking. They can be a real bonus for your cooking as they’ll grow in the heat whereas coriander usually won’t – all year coriander if you like!

As one of it’s common names suggest, these leaves are great in a laksa or hot soup – added at the end like a garnish.

vietnamese mint persicaria odorata
Vietnamese mint – remove the stems before use

A good survival food as the the plant is so hardy and the leaves so useful in asian cooking.

Turmeric Curcuma longa

Turmeric

Botanical Name: Curcuma longa

How to grow it: Turmeric is a hardy perennial plant to about 1 metre that is grown for it’s underground rhizomes and used extensively in cooking and in medicine.

It grows well in sun or shade – tuber growth is better in full sun. It does best in humid sub-tropical to tropical climates but could probably be planted every spring in cooler areas. Will not tolerate frost.

Likes a lot of water, but doesn’t grow tubers if it’s too waterlogged. The looser & deeper the dirt, the bigger tubers you’ll grow. Best time to harvest is when the leaves die down for winter, but I’ll ferret for tubers at any time of year. Basically I just let them grow as a patch & harvest what I want, when required.

Propogation is by root division in spring – simply dig up some roots and put them in their new position. In warm areas, you can plant them right up until summer & still get good crops. You’ll regularly see turmeric tubers at markets and organic shops nowadays – just grab a few pieces and put them in the ground in warmer weather.

Turmeric Curcuma longa
Turmeric plant dug up for dividing.

Will do well in pots for a year or two until it becomes potbound & you have to dig it all up & start again.

Nutrition:

High in potassium, calcium, iron & chromium, and vitamins A & C. Many beneficial herbal actions.

Turmeric is thought to be very good for digestive complaints and as an anti-inflammatory. It is also claimed to be helpful with cancer, alzheimers, and arthritis and is being investigated by medical science as we speak.

Using it in the kitchen:

Turmeric is used as a spice in cooking and as a colouring agent. Most of us are accustomed to using it as a powder, but you can also use freshly harvested tubers. Slice them thinly into stir fries, curries & soups or any meat or vegetable dishes. It goes well in the vegetable juicer to add colour and flavour to your favourite juice.

Turmeric Curcuma longa
Turmeric is a very versatile & healthy spice.

I suspect that turmeric is one of those “super-herbs” that keep us healthy through many actions, and so try and add it to cooking whenever I can.

Stores fairly well in a cool dry spot in the pantry, or can be sliced thinly, dried and reconstituted in water as required (or just added to hot dishes as is).

Turmeric is a great survival food for it’s hardiness, it’s long harvesting time, it’s usefulness in cooking & for it’s health benefits.

Tree spinach Abelmoschus manihot

Tree spinach

Botanical Name: Abelmoschus manihot

Some other names: Tree lettuce, Hibiscus Spinach, Slipper Cabbage, Aibika, Ibika

How to grow it:

Tree spinach is a perennial shrub that grows to about 2 metres. Does best in full sun with a well drained soil, but I’ve found it does well in a wide range of conditions including drought.

In cooler areas you might have to treat it as an annual as it is frost tender, but in warmer areas it will grow all year round.

Grows well in large pots but does need good moisture and feeding in its growing season.

Propogates fairly easily by tip or stem cuttings. I find the easiest way is to cut 10-20cm stems, snip off all the leaves & put them in pots or the ground on a rainy day.

There are many different varieties of tree spinach and it may be a bit of work to obtain it in your locality, but it’s well worth the effort!

Spinach tree Abelmoschus manihot
A second variety of Tree Spinach growing in my garden

Nutrition:

Tree spinach is extremely nutritious being very high in protein, and also high in vitamins A, B & C, and calcium, potassium, iron & magnesium. It’s high mucilage content is great for detoxifying the body. Eat it regularly and often!

Using it in the kitchen:

The young raw leaves are tasty and kind of crunchy – use them freely in salads & sandwiches.

Older leaves can be added to hot dishes like quiches, soups & casseroles at any time – the high mucilage will help thicken the meal. If using in stir fries, omelettes or as a cooked vegetable, only cook for a minute or so or you might find they become slimy.

Spinach tree Abelmoschus manihot
Cook Spinach tree leaves quickly

Tree spinach is one of the better survival foods due to it’s hardiness & regular supply of nutritious greens which can be used in almost any type of meal.

sweet potato Ipomoea batatas

Sweet Potato

Botanical Name: Ipomoea batatas

Some other names: Kumara, Yam, Kamote

How to grow it:

Sweet Potato is a sprawling perennial vine that will spread over a large area if left unchecked. For best tuber production, it’s probably best treated as an annual where the soil can be prepared with fresh manure each season – otherwise the crops in the second year of production will be much smaller.

Prefers full sun, but will happily ramble into part shade areas and still produce tubers.

Essentially Sweet potato is a sub-tropical/tropical crop, but is worth trying in cooler areas after all chance of frost has passed.

For best results, a well drained deep soil is preferred and plenty of water in it’s growing season, but in my climate (summer rain/winter drought) it grows in just about any soil conditions – the tubers will be smaller in inferior soils, but leaf production is still good.

Propogation is usually by tubers, which can be cut into pieces with at least one eye for growing. It also can be propogated by tip cuttings which strike well in warmer weather.

Not really suited well to pots, unless you’re growing just for the leaves and tips, in which case they’d grow quite well I’d think.

Nutrition:

Leaves and shoots are a good source of vitamins A, B & C and protein.

Tubers are high in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A & C, iron and calcium. Considered amongst the most nutritious vegetables available to us.

Using it in the kitchen:

There’s many different varieties of sweet potato and even more methods of cooking them from around the world.

sweet potato Ipomoea batatas
Delicious and nutritious harvest of Sweet potato

In my home we mostly bake them in small chunks, and eat them hot, or add them to salads after they’ve cooled. We also add them to soups, curries, and casseroles. They don’t take as long to cook as most root vegetables. They can also be steamed/boiled or mashed with other root vegetables.

In western culture, it’s often overlooked that the growing tips and young leaves make a tasty & nutritious spinach. Delicious added to stir fries, soups or even omelettes. Would be one of the most reliable sources of greens outside the coldest part of winter.

Sweet potato is a terrific survival food if it grows well in your area just by allowing it to perennialise – it’s actually hard to get rid of once it’s established.

Other uses:

All parts of sweet potato make nutritious animal fodder.

Above ground parts can be used as mulch, and the plant serves very well as a living mulch around and under fruit trees or any orchard.

sweet leaf sauropus androgynous-1

Sweet Leaf

Botanical Name: Sauropus androgynous

Some other names: Katuk, Star gooseberry, Tropical asparagus

How to grow it:

Sweet Leaf is a hardy perennial shrub that has a wide tolerance for growing conditions.

It will do best in moist well drained soils, but I’ve found it will grow well in poor soils too. Seems to grow equally well in sun or shade.

In warmer areas it will slow down leaf production when the weather cools off and in cooler areas it will die back only to reshoot in spring.

Regular watering is preferred to keep it growing, but it will also handle periods of drought – it’ll just stop growing. Regular fertilising will make a big difference to leaf production.

I grow lots of it as it’s an attractive plant and would be right at home amongst other ornamental plants.

Propogation is by seed (if you can get them) but easier by tip cuttings. In rainy season you can just take tip cuttings  and put them in the ground or in pots. Make sure they are well watered for a week or two.

Sweet Leaf will also grow quite happily in pots – keep them near the kitchen, well watered & fed for a regular supply of tips & leaf.

 

Nutrition:

A really good source of protein, calcium, potassium & phosphorous plus vitamins A, B, & C.

Using it in the kitchen:

Leaves have a taste similar to peas and are a favorite for anyone who visits my garden. Great fresh in salads and sandwiches on their own or in combination with other greens.

Leaves can also be added to stir fries, soups, curries & casseroles for their nutrition moreso than their taste which is somewhat lost through cooking. Adding at the last minute to stirfries & omelettes will preserve their flavour.

sweet leaf sauropus androgynous
Freshly harvested Sweet leaf leaves – add to salads or cooking

Tip cuttings can be steamed or stir fried on their own as a vegetable & are sometimes known as tropical asparagus. They are much better this way in the growing season – a bit tough when the weather cools down.

A great survival plant for it’s long season of highly nutritious leaves.

salad mallow Corchorus olitorius

Salad Mallow

Botanical Name: Corchorus olitorius

Some other names: Egyptian spinach, Tossa jute, Jew’s Mallow

How to grow it:

Salad Mallow is an annual shrub-like plant that will grow to 2 metres in Summer/Autumn. In the sub-tropics/tropics, it is at it’s best in wet season and is outstanding for producing lots of leaves when other greens are struggling with the rain.

It thrives in all soil types even boggy conditions, and does better in full sun, but will still produce in partial shade. Being an annual, it will die down in winter and need to be resown the following spring.

Will do very well in pots if well watered, mulched & fed – a great plant to have near the kitchen for a big supply of tasty salad leaves.

Propogation is by seed in spring, and for years I painsakingly saved as much seed as I could as this is one of my favorite plants. After a while though, I realised that the plant self-seeds very easily – in fact it seemed to come up all over the place like a weed as soon as the rains came. So now I don’t bother saving seed – I just let it come up wherever it wants, whenever it’s ready.

If you only have one plant, it can be propogated easily by tip cuttings.

A great plant for pots – keep a few near the kitchen and look after them & they’ll definitely look after you!

salad mallow Corchorus olitorius
Seed pods of Salad mallow – get them early enough & you can eat them.

Nutrition:

Excellent source of protein, vitamins, A, B, & C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous plus many other minerals. This is one of the most valuable sources of nutrients we can grow in our backyards. If I could choose just one plant for the best combination of nutrition and taste – this would be it!

 

Using it in the kitchen:

The tasty, juicy leaves are great in salads and sandwiches and are often plentiful when other leaf vegetables are struggling with the rain.

salad mallow Corchorus olitorius
Salad mallow leaves – use fresh or lightly cooked.

Can also be added to soups, stews & quiches as can the young seed pods which are used similar to Okra. Make sure you pick the pods young though – as soon as they start getting stringy, no amount of cooking will make them tender.

I also like to use the growing tips in stirfries, omelettes or just on it’s own as a steamed vegetable, which will encourage the plant to branch out & produce even more leaves, tips & seeds pods.

Leaves can be dried when they’re plentiful & added to winter soups & casseroles to provide a protein & nutrient boost – a great survival plant that will reward you year in and year out with very little care.

mushroom plant Rungia Klossii

Mushroom plant

Botanical Name: Rungia Klossii

Some other names: Rungia, Kenkaba, Moku, Tani

How to grow it:

Mushroom plant is a perennial clumping shrub to about 60cm.

It’s fairly hardy overall, but will do much better in moist well drained soils. Prefers a partly shaded position, but will handle full sun too if kept moist. Mulching and fertilising improves leaf production a lot.

In warmer areas it will grow all year round and in colder areas it needs protection from frost

Once established, it’s a very attractive plant and wouldn’t look out of place in an ornamental garden or under trees as a living mulch.

Propogation is by separating the plant from the base or you can just take tip cuttings (shown below) and put them in the ground or in pots. Make sure they are kept well watered.

mushroom-plant-rungia-klossii-2
Mushroom plant tip cuttings

Will also do well in pots – keep them mulched, watered and fertilised for a regular supply of leaves.

Nutrition:

A highly nutritious plant – Vitamins A, B, & C, protein, calcium, iron in particular

Using it in the kitchen:

As it’s name suggests, the plant supposedly has a mild mushroom flavour – I’m not sure I can make that distinction but the leaves are delicious nonetheless.

Freely add the leaves to salads and sanwiches for their flavour & crunchy texture.

Leaves can also be added to stir fries, soups, curries, omelettes & casseroles but only at the last minute if you’re keen to preserve their flavour which is generally lost through cooking.

mushroom-plant-rungia-klossii-3
Freshly harvested Mushroom plant leaves – delicious!

When harvesting, I usually take the 5-10cm stems and pick the leaves off in the kitchen – this encourages leaf production.

A great survival plant as it tolerates shade and gives it’s harvest of leaves for most of the year.

Multiplier leeks allium porrum

Multiplier leeks

Botanical Name: Allium porrum

How to grow it:

The problem with “normal” bienniel leek varieties is the long time to harvest – usually 6 months or more. In the tropics/subtropics this is further complicated by the fact that the wet season can either damage or completely destroy your crop.

If you face either of these problems, try multiplier leeks. You’ll be unlikely to grow them to the same size as you see in the supermarket, but they are very tasty, and if you can get used to the smaller size, you can have leeks  just about all year round – they do get ratty or even die down in the hottest months

As far as I can tell, multiplier leeks will grow in any climate & any soil type. They are super hardy and generally super-productive. The only job to attend to is to pull them up and separate them every few months so they can grow to a decent size. If you don’t you’ll still get tons of leeks they’ll just be smaller.

perennial-leeks-allium-porrum-2
When multiplier leeks get crowded, pull them up,separate them and replant a few inches apart.
perennial-leeks-allium-porrum-3
One leek turns into many!

As leeks are one of my favorite vegetables, I have them dotted all over my garden. I’m happy eating them once they’re about 10mm in thickness, but they are better when they reach 20+mm.

Nutrition:

Vitamins A, B, & C, calcium, potassium, phosphorpus, Iron, silica & protein – virtually the same properties as all plants in the onion family.

Using it in the kitchen:

Use them the same as you would for normal leeks – in curries, soups and casseroles, but due to the fact they’re tender & mild, they’ll also go well in omelletes & stir fries – just cook them a little bit.

Multipliers Leeks are an excellent survival food as you get all the benefits of the onion family, stems are available all year round and the plant is virtually unkillable!.

basella alba malabar spinach

Malabar spinach

Botanical Name: Basella Alba

Some other names: Ceylon Spinach, Indian Spinach, climbing spinach, Basella

How to grow it: Malabar Spinach is a perennial twining, sprawling vine that is at it’s best in the heat of summer. It does well in full sun, but will produce larger juicier leaves if grown in partial shade.

It will thrive in moist, fertile and well drained soils, tending to develop tough leaves or bolt to seed if conditions are too dry.

When it’s happy, it is a very attractive plant quickly growing up trellises and other plants for most of the warm season. It’s best suited to sub-tropical to tropical conditions where the rain & heat of summer suit it perfectly but will also grow with a shorter season in cooler climates.

Will do well in pots if well watered, mulched & fed – for best results make sure it has a trellis to climb.

I’ve grown two varieties – one with a green stem the other with red. I don’t think there’s much different in terms of flavour or productivity, but the red stems look great!

Malabar Spinach is a very easy plant to propogate, in fact I usually just let it self seed and pick out the surplus seedlings like they’re weeds. If you allow it to go to seed, next spring you’ll find it sprouting up all over the place!.

Collecting seed is easy. In Autumn, the plant develops red berries which I usually let dry on the vine. Just collect them up and replant them the following spring. For better germination, soak them in water overnight the day before planting. If you can’t get the plants locally, you should have no problems getting seeds online.

basella-alba-malabar-spinach-2
Malabar spinach fruits containing the seed.

Nutrition:

Malabar spinach had high levels of vitamins A,B, & C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and decent amounts of Iron and copper. It has good levels of mucilage which is a valuable aid in detoxifying the body.

A highly nutritious plant.

Using it in the kitchen:

The young, juicy leaves make a great addition to salads and sandwiches and are often plentiful when other leaf vegetables are struggling with the hot midsummer sun.

All leaves & shoots can be added to soups, stews & quiches where the mucilagin will help thicken the meal.

basella-alba-malabar-spinach-4
Malabar spinach – both the shoots and leaves are delicious & tender.

Also great in stirfries, omelettes or just on it’s own as a steamed vegetable, but don’t cook it for too long as the mucilage can have the effect of giving it a slimy texture. Usually I add them only at the very last minute.

My personal favourite way to use it is to plant it thickly in tubs in spring, and when it’s growth takes off, pick the young shoots off daily for stirfries & omelettes. Eventually it will get away from you by climbing or sprawling, but usually I can keep it contained for a couple of months this way. The shoots are delicious & tender!

basella-alba-malabar-spinach-3
Malabar Spinach grown in tubs for daily picking of the shoots

Malabar spinach is a great survival food in warmer areas because it so readily self-seeds & has high nutrient value. Once you grow 1 plant successfully you’ll pretty much always have it.

Other info:

The red juice of the berries is used as a non-toxic food dye, and as ink in some countries. My kids have used it for body painting too.

lemon balm lime balm Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm and Lime Balm

Botanical Name: Melissa officinalis

Some other names: Balm, Bee Balm, Honey plant, Cure all, Melissa

How to grow it:

Lemon Balm is a perennial herb to about 50cm which is so easy to grow it can become invasive. It does well and has a stronger flavour in full sun, but will produce larger, more tender leaves for a longer period if grown in partial shade. I grow it in several patches with varied sunlight and moisture & find that I have it available all year round.

In the subtropics and tropics (where I live) it does better in Autumn to spring, in cooler climates it might die back & resprout in spring.

Will do well in pots if well watered, mulched & fed – again, preferring a partially shaded position.

The simplest way to propogate is by root division- just grab a handful of roots and all from the middle of your patch, separate the pieces and plant directly into the ground. Keep watered for a couple of days and they’ll strike easily. Will also strike well from cuttings or grown from seed.

Nowadays it’s also very easy to obtain in garden outlets or online.

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Lemon balm is easily propagated by root division

Nutrition:

Lemon balm contains vitamins A, B & C and volatile oils that have many herbal actions. It is well known to be calming and sedative – just try grabbing a handful of leaves and take a deep breath with the aroma! Also thought to ba a natural antioxidant.

Using it in the kitchen:

The leaves by themselves are not particularly palatable – a little bit chewy for my liking. Combined with other greens though, they go very well in salads & sandwiches and attract many comments from guests in my home. The lemon flavour is very striking & pleasant.

Leaves can also be added to hot dishes, but you’ll need to add a good handful or two to have much impact flavour-wise.

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Leaves used fresh in salads or make a soothing tea.

Probably Lemon Balm’s best known use is as a calming herbal tea. Simply grab two handfuls of leaves and stems per cup of boiled water. Allow to steep for several minutes. Personally, I like to add a variety of different leaves to the lemon balm too.

Other info:

Although I’ve written here about lemon balm, I actually prefer Lime Balm for it’s flavour. It’s an identical plant in apearance & uses, but has a refreshing lime flavour instead of lemon. It might be a little harder to obtain in your local area though.

 

kang kong Ipomoea aquatica

Kang kong

Botanical Name: Ipomoea Aquatica

Some other names: Water Spinach, Swamp Cabbage, Ong Choy, Chinese Watercress and many other local names throughout Asia.

How to grow it:

Kang Kong is a terrifically hardy perernnial that will grow anywhere at anytime it’s growing conditions are met – that is, when it’s hot & wet. It grows like mad in these conditions, and will meander or die back when it’s cold and/or dry. Seems just as happy in sun or shade.

In the tropics, it will grow all year if it has regular water, but is best planted as the wet season begins and will require no maintenance. If there’s a problem with it, it can get out of control – a great reason to harvest it regularly.

In cooler areas, it will die back in winter and reshoot in spring. In cold areas it’s growing season might be quite short.

Given it’s water requirements, it does best in a boggy area or on the edges of ponds. It’s just as happy in shallow water as it is in wet mud. It does well in a shadehouse or hothouse and it’s growing period might be extended due to the extra warmth.

Kang Kong will certainly benefit from the addition of manure, compost, worm juice or seaweed, but will also do pretty well without any maintenance at all. Once I put a cutting in a vase of water to root, and it grew & produced leaves for months without any help at all – quite amazing!

Very easy to propogate from stem or tip cuttings – they’ll readily shoot in water or just put them in the ground on a rainy day or when rain is imminent. The plant will start flowering as the weather cools down and seeds can soon be collected for planting in the following seaason.

I’ve had great success growing Kang Kong in closed containers – simply fill any closed container (20 litre bucket, pots with no drainage, styrofoam boxes etc) with soil leaving 5-10 cms from the top. Fill with water to a level just above the soil, and put your cuttings or seeds in. As soon as the plants start growing you can start harvesting. This growing method can be very productive and is great for drier climates – just add a bit a bit of water when needed – the foliage will reduce much of the water loss.

It’s best to start a new container every spring though – one season is plenty for it to become rootbound and the following year will produce rather straggly leaf & stems.

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Kang Kong happily grows in containers without drainage.

Nutrition: Despite the fact that it requires very little care, Kang Kong is a highly nutritious plant with high levels of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, & vitamins A B & C. A valuable addition to the diet.

Using it in the kitchen:

Young leaves are fairly bland taste-wise and easily substitute for lettuce in green salads. The best thing is they are so prolific when it’s too hot or wet for other salad greens. In season I eat the greens fresh on a daily basis both in salads & sandwiches.

As a spinach, leaves can be used in almost anything – quiches, omelettes, soups, casseroles anything that would benefit from some nutritious greens. I prefer to add them at the last minute as they wilt very quickly, but they also do well in slow, long cooking dishes.

The stems can be chopped finely & used in salads, but are at their best when chopped quite thickly & used in stir fries. Very tender & tasty.

Kang Kong is a brilliant survival food as it’s so nutritious, it grows like mad and keeps coming back every summer.

Other uses:

Kang Kong makes great animal fodder due to it’s high protein content. Just feed it fresh to your livestock and grow it in boggy areas of paddocks.

Due to it’s prodigious growth it could also make good mulch or compost in the garden, but I’d sun dry it for a week first – it will sprout very easily in moist warm conditions.

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Freshly harvested Kang Kong leaf & stem

Cynara scolymus globe artichoke

Globe artichoke

Botanical Name: Cynara scolymus

How to grow it:

Globe artichoke is a perennial thistle to about 1.5 metres that it is grown for it’s immature flower buds. It is a very attractive plant for it’s large blue green leaves. if the plant is allowed to flower (that’s not going to happen if you like the buds for food), it has very pretty bright purple flower heads.

It has a fairly wide climactic range, though might need to be grown as an annual in cooler climates. Needs protection from frost. Does well in sun or part shade.

It’s best to give globe artichoke well drained, fertile soil. It will handle some dry periods, but doesn’t like heavy soils or bogs. Mulch and fertilise well.

Get seeds or seedlings for globe artichoke – they’re very easy to start like this and you’ll have access to a greater variety. You can also take root divisions and root cuttings from mature plants, but seeds are easier.

Will grow in pots, but the flowers are somewhat stunted. I think Globe artichoke prefers a bit of room to move.

Nutrition:

A highly nutritious vegetable – high in potassium, calcium and iron and good levels of vitamins A, B, C, magnesium & phosphorous.

Using it in the kitchen:

Young shoots of the plant can be eaten as a vegetable either boiled or steamed on their own, or added to curries & casseroles.

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Thistle like foliage of Globe Artichoke

The delicious part though, is the heart of the flower bud. Often it is trimmed and then boiled or steamed (it is nice to then use the hearts on pizzas!), but I think it’s best prepared as a roasted vegetable.

Don’t worry about trimming it, just put the whole buds on an oven tray, and drizzle some oil (infused with garlic and rosemary is good), and slow roast them for about 1-1.5 hours. Then when you eat it, you’ll get plenty of “meat” from the petals and the heart is deliciously tender.

Globe artichoke is a great survival plant for it’s delicious vegetable and for it’s hardiness. As it’s such a pretty plant, it could easily be grown amongst your ornamental plants for it’s foliage, and then the flower buds can be harvested, or left for a gorgeous flower display.

Ginger

How to grow it:

Ginger is a hardy perennial plant that is grown for it’s underground rhizomes and used in cooking, medicine and as a tea.

In nature, Ginger is an understorey plant, and so I tend to plant it under other trees. In commercial cultivation though, it’s grown usually in full sun and no doubt has higher yields.

The main ingredient needed for ginger is warmth. it will do well planted in spring in both subtropical and tropical areas. In cooler areas, you’ll have a shorter growing season and may suffer from smaller rhizomes – still worth growing if you can.

Although tolerant of drought due to the underground rhizome system, ginger does best in moist, well drained situations where it will produce large crops of swollen rhizomes. Best harvest time is when the foliage dies down for winter, but I just harvest it as needed – the rhizomes are smaller, milder & more tender early in the season, and will be much larger & more pungent later in Autumn & winter.

Propogation is by root division in spring – simply dig up some roots and put them in their new position. In warm areas, you can plant them right up until summer & still get good crops. Just get a piece of root from an organic source, break it up into pieces & plant into position. It strikes very easily.

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Ginger rhizomes dug up for division and replanting.

Will do well in pots for a year or two until it becomes potbound & you have to dig it all up & start again.

Nutrition:

High in potassium, manganese, copper & magnesium, and vitmans A & B. Many beneficial herbal actions.

Ginger is thought to be very good for your digestive & circulatory systems and will reduce nausea from morning sickness & motion sickness. Helps ward off colds & flu. Add a few slices to you tea or on it’s own.

 

Using it in the kitchen:

Ginger is mainly used as a spice in both savoury & sweet dishes.

You can grate, chop, mince or slice it into stirfries, curries, soups usually with some garlic & chilli. I find it has a special synergy with sweet potato & pumpkin – try it in your next pumpkin soup for a flavour treat. Also worth trying grated into your favorite meat marinade.

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Ginger root straight from the garden

I try and add it to food as much as possible for it’s health benefits, but beware – it can have a dominating flavour or actually taste quite hot.

Stores fairly well in a dark dry spot in the pantry, or can be sliced thinly, dried and reconstituted in water as required (or just added to hot dishes as is).

Ginger is a great survival food for it’s hardiness, it’s long harvesting time, it’s usefulness in cooking & for it’s health benefits.

Garlic chives Allium Tuberosum

Garlic chives

Botanical Name: Allium Tuberosum

Some other names: Thai leeks, Chinese Chives, Gow choy, Oriental garlic.

How to grow it:

Garlic chives are a perennial herb to about 50cm with strap like leaves that distinguish it from it’s close cousin Onion chives. I’ve found it to be much more hardy & prolific than onion chives. Handles all soils well & does best in full sun.

In warmer climates it will grow & can be harvested all year round, in colder climates it might die down in winter, but resprout pretty quickly when the weather warms up.

Will benefit from the addition of fertiliser and regular watering, but seems to grow happily without much care

Will do very well in pots but will need to be pulled up & thinned out every couple of years.

Garlic chives have a very strong root system and will handle neglect where most other plants won’t. Often when I’ve seen a run-down vegetable patch, the only plant outcompeting the weeds & handling drought are the garlic chives. Seems to grow faster if it’s harvested regularly.

It grows easily from seed, but once you have plants established, the best way to propogate is to dig the whole plant up, divide the bulbs and roots into small sections & replant. Within a week or two, the plants are on their way again.

You won’t have to look very hard to find seeds or plants at your local nursery.

Nutrition:

High in Vitamin C also rich in vitamins A & B, iron, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. Good tonic herb to take regularly.

Using it in the kitchen:

Garlic chives can be used in all dishes – cooked & uncooked where the delicate flavour of onions & garlic are required.

The upper green parts can be used in salads & sandwiches to great effect. They can be chopped finely, but I prefer them cut in 2-3cm sections as shown below – the flavour seems a little more noticeable.

When used in cooking, the upper parts can be added to soups, casseroles, omelettes & stir fries but I suggest adding them only at the last minute or the flavour will be lost. The lower white parts can be treated just like you would leeks, or my favourite is to add them to stir fries for a delicious garlic flavour burst.

Rarely a meal goes by that I’m not using garlic chives both for the flavour & health giving properties.

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Garlic chives are a great survival food as they seem to survive any conditions and have great nutrition. If I was in a survival situation, I’d cherish them for the flavour they would add to my food.

drumstick tree Moringa oleifera

Drumstick Tree

Botanical Name: Moringa oleifera

Some other names: Horseradish Tree, Moringa, Ben oil tree, Benzolive

How to grow it: Drumstick tree is a leguminous tree to 10 m which originates in Asia but is grown around the world in subtropical/tropical climates.

It is very hardy – particularly to drought and grows in a wide range of soil types. Does far better in full sun.

It is tender to frost, so may need to be planted every year in cooler climates. Except in tropical areas, expect the plant to die down in winter & re shoot in spring.

Will also do OK in pots, but you’ll need to repot it every year or so, trimming the roots, or you can just grow new ones from seed every spring.

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Small Drumstick Tree in a container for harvesting leaves

 

Propogation is by seed or limb cutting – just cut a 1-2m limb off when the plant goes dormant in winter & put it upright into the ground. Once the weather warms up the limb will shoot and you’re on your way to another tree.

Nutrition: Advocates of the Drumstick Tree claim that it has 7 times the Vitamin C in oranges, 4 times the calcium in milk, 4 times the Vitamin A in carrots, 2 times the protein in milk, and 3 times the potassium in bananas! I’m not sure how accurate those claims are, but science does confirm this is one of the most nutritious plants on the planet and a potential treatment for many, many human ailments.

Using it in the kitchen:

The raw leaves aren’t especially tasty (nor are they disagreeable), but given their extraordinary nutrition, they could be added to salads & sandwiches with other greens on a regular basis.

They can be added to cooked dishes the same you would any spinach, but remember you’ll probably destroy the vitamin C content – so perhaps adding them at the last minute would be best.

The young seedpods can be cooked like green beans – the flavour’s quite simliar actually, and the dried beans can be cooked into stews and casseroles or fried or roasted like nuts.

If you search the plant on the internet, you’ll find many other uses in many cultures. A truly versatile and hardy plant and surely one of the best survival plants available to us!

Comfrey

Botanical Name: symphytum officinale

Some other names: Knitbone, Boneset, Woundwort, Bruisewort

How to grow it: Comfrey is amongst the easiest & most hardy of all plants I know. Once established, it is virtually “unkillable” and it would be wise to carefully consider where to plant it – as it will always be there!

Like many perennials, comfrey will do best in a deep, well drained, fertile soil, but it has a wide tolerance for all conditions. Will tolerate drought, sunlight, lack of sunlight, will outcompete all weeds and can be continually harvested for most of the year.

It has deep roots which will mine nutrients and moisture from deep in the soil. Other than maybe a bit of seaweed spray, I’ve never directly fertilised my comfrey plants and they always seem to thrive.

The best way to propogate is break off a root, further break it down to 2cm pieces, and plant it sideways in the soil. It seems that any piece of root will strike, so one established plant will make many, many new ones.

Will grow very happily in pots, though it won’t reach anywhere near the size & productivity of the ground grown ones.

The comfrey controversy:Comfrey is a very nutrient dense plant with high levels of vitamin A, B, C & E, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium + many more minerals. It also has constituents that lead to a range of herbal actions.

Medical science however, has determined that the plant includes alkaloids that are dangerous to humans – “proven” through laboratory testing in rats. There is very little evidence to suggest that humans or livestock have actually been poisoned by the herb, but nevertheless, it is now banned for internal (mostly) and/or external use in many countries. It is surely ironic that you can buy a pack of cigarettes from the local corner store which has been proven to kill millions, but you cannot use comfrey no matter how beneficial it might be!

In history, it has a long record of use and there are many, many anecdotal accounts of it’s effectiveness in dealing with many different diseases including chronic ones like cancer, arthritis, asthma and digestive disorders. And that’s only by taking it internally. Externally, it’s been used for dealing with broken bones, bruising and even healing open wounds.

So given that authorities have banned it’s use, I can’t recommend that you use the herb, only that you research it’s potential benefits/drawbacks for yourself.

My own experience using Comfrey externally leads me to value the herb medicinally more than any other in my garden. I’ve used it on a variety of complaints in my family and found it to very effective, if not amazing! Open wounds healing in a fraction of the normal time, rashes disappearing overnight, even pain relief and quick healing of sprained ankles etc.

Other uses: Fortunately, even though comfrey is banned in many countries for use as food or medicine, there a still numerous uses for it in the garden.

Due to it’s deep roots, it mines nutrients from deep in the soil that aren’t available to other plants, and the leaves can be harvested very regularly and used as mulch on the garden. Containing good levels of Nitrogen, potassium & phosphorous + trace elements makes it almost a complete plant fertiliser. It can be soaked in water for a week, and then used as a rich liquid fertiliser. Comfrey is a known compost activator, and can be added regularly to the compost to “speed things up”.

If you’re concerned about taking comfrey internally, try chopping it up and giving it to your chickens – then eat the eggs. In fact all livestock will benefit from it’s regular use.

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Freshly harvested Comfrey root

Choko

Botanical Name: Sechium edule

Some other names: Chayote, Alligator pear, vegetable pear, christophene, citrayota

How to grow it: Choko is a sprawling, hardy perennial vine to several metres that will happily climb fences, trellises & other vegetation. It is usually grown for it’s fruit, but all parts of the plant are edible making it a very useful plant.

It’s grown very successfully in the sub-tropics/tropics where it’s warm season growth can be quite massive – invasive if it isn’t given the room. In cooler climates, it will die back in cooler weather and won’t tolerate heavy frosts. May need to be treated as an annual in these climates.

It’s fairly hardy overall, but will do much better in moist well drained soils. It’s roots might rot in heavier soils. Needs full sun for best results.

The easiest way to propogate Choko is to bury a fruit in the ground in spring. It strikes very easily as you’ll notice from any fruit that falls to ground – they’ll start growing with almost 100% success. Tip cuttings in spring also work well.

Not a great plant for pots – unless you want growing tips and tendrils for your stir-fries. Plant 2-3 fruits in a pot and cover with mulch. Then harvest the shoots & tendrils very regularly to keep the plants under control.

Nutrition: Choko is an excellent source of Vitamin C, and has good levels of Vitamin B, zinc, copper, manganese, and potassium.

Using it in the kitchen:

Choko is an amazing food plant. Most people are aware that fruits can be eaten, which in season are abundant. Try eating the smaller fruits chopped in salads and stirfries. Larger fruits are great quartereed and baked, as well as added to curries, soups, and casseroles.

What people aren’t so aware of is that the plant is a bountiful source of shoots and tendrils which are highly nutritious in salads and stir fries or even sandwiches. Any shoots that snap off will be tender and added at the last minute, have a great texture in stir fries.

Tubers can also be harvested in the dormant season and used the same as yam or potatoes.

Seeds have a nutty flavour and can be eaten fresh or roasted.

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Full size choko fruit


Other uses

Chokos are a great plant to grow over the chooks run to provide shade, protection and a regular supply of fresh greens.

The prolific leaf growth can be cut back several times during the growing season and used as mulch – this will encourage growth of new shoots for use in cooking.

Choko is an excellent survival plant as it’s easy to grow, prolific, and the entire plant can be used as food.

chilli tree Capsicum frutescens

Chilli Tree

Botanical Name: Capsicum frutescens

Some other names: Pepper, hot pepper, chili

How to grow it: The Chilli tree is a perennial bush to about two metres that provides generous supplies of consistently flavoured chillies.

I’m unsure of the botanical name for the species I grow (I bought it many years ago at a market stall), but it differs from all other chillies I’ve grown by the fact that it develops into a larger plant & rebounds more strongly in spring. Many of the other chilli varieties I’ve grown tend to struggle with winter & then regrow at less vigour than the first year.

It handles a wide range of conditions – from drought to quite wet (not boggy) but will respond with better fruiting it grown in well drained soils that receive regular water. It prefers heat, but would grow in cooler climates with a shorter fruiting season. In my cool sub-tropical climate it gives fruit for at least 6 months of the year.

Responds well to fertilising and mulching – go easy on high nitrogen fertilisers – you want fruit not leaf!

Propogation works from tip cuttings, but is much easier by seed. Just pick some ripe fruits in late Autumn, dry them out over winter, and plant them when the weather warms up. You’ll get good crops in the first year.

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Chilli tree fruit – seeds of the ripe fruit will sprout in warmer weather.

It does well in large pots – You might have to trim it’s roots every 2-3 years for best results.

 

Nutrition: Fruit is high in protein & contain vitamins A, B, & C, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc.

It has many herbal actions and is considered very good for the circulatory system and the blood. It is thought that regular consumption reduces the risk of heart attack.

 

Using it in the kitchen:

Chillies can be harvested at anytime they are fully grown, whether they are green, red, or any colour in between.

Anyone who cooks would be familiar with their use, but if you’d like to get more chilli into your diet, try adding them to the omelettes, scrambled eggs, soups, pasta sauces, and basically any dish that could handle a bit of spicing up.

At the end of their season, I harvest all the red ones I can, dry them out, crush them slightly and then put them in a bottle with cold pressed olive oil. After a couple of months this infusion tastes very good (and hot!) and can be added cold at the end of cooking (stirred in after the heat is turned off), or even drizzled onto pizzas for a bit of bite.

I can also vouch for chilli’s ability to ward off & reduce symptoms of colds and flus. Make a strong tea of dried chilli, fresh ginger slices, crushed garlic and lemon juice – add honey if you’d like the tea sweetened.. During the day or days you’re fighting off the cold, dilute this tea with hot water & sip regularly throughout the day. It works!

Chilli tree is a great survival plant as it grows for many years in a wide range of conditions, gives an abundance of fruit which is great for cooking and for your health.

Asparagus spears just waiting to be picked!

Asparagus

Botanical Name: Asparagus officinalis

How to grow it:

Asparagus is a flowering perennial plant which dies back in winter and is harvested in spring for it’s emerging spears. It’s a fascinating plant to grow and harvest.

An easy to grow plant, but you’ll need to have patience. It might take a few years before you get serious harvests. One of the best things about asparagus is that it will grow in most climates so it’s very likely it will grow in yours.

The better position you can give it, the better the results. Full sun, deep, fertile soil, regular addition of fertiliser. It is a very hardy plant though – in tougher conditions it will just give less spears.

You can start asparagus from seed if you can wait until the 3rd year for your crops. You’ll get better crops in the 2nd year by sourcing crowns (below ground parts) or dividing your own. I’ve always just gone the seed option and waited the extra year.

Nutrition: Asparagus is a seriously nutritious plant. Spears have high levels of Vitamins A, B, & C, E, & K, potassium, iron, phosphorous, copper, manganese & many other nutrients. Also thought to be high in antioxidants

Using it in the kitchen:

You’ve never really tasted asparagus until you’ve picked some fresh & eaten it raw. It’s a much more subtle flavour and the spears are so tender they almost melt in your mouth. In my home, the spears don’t usually make it to the table as competition is so high for them straight from the garden.

If you do manage to get some to the kitchen, try eating it raw in salads

In cooking, it should be lightly steamed or stir fried – 1-2 minutes is plenty

asparagus-officinalis
Autumn foliage of Asparagus

They’ll store for a week or so in the fridge, but the basic idea is to eat them as soon as you can after picking.

Asparagus is a great addition to your edible garden as it’s so easy to grow & rewards with repeated crops of nutritious vegetables year in year out.