Variety most definitely is the spice of life – so it’s time to try some wild and crazy varieties of greens and herbs. Here’s our take on some varieties that you probably won’t see in most grocery stores or even at farmer’s markets. The best way to enjoy these wonders is by growing them yourself. Yes, we grow these with the passive hydroponic “Kratky Method” all year long. Here’s a link to learn more about this marvelous method that makes so much sense, you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t do this. If you are even more curious, be on the lookout for a new book titled Grow Lettuce in Your Living Room – co-authors Dan Chiras and Vic Zaderej provide a comprehensive guide to growing food in your home, cost effectively and successfully. This link tells you more about the book and how to be notified when it’s available.
Where will you find all the seeds for these varieties? We explore varieties from every seed provider we come across. If it looks interesting/unique, it’s going into the test chamber. Of course, we do have some go-to seed sources that we like to recommend, namely Jung Seed and Fruition Seeds, as well as Seed Savers Exchange. These companies are notably generous with their seed packets and their varieties are unique and dependable.
With all the varieties that are out there, which one do we recommend for those new to this game? A Romaine variety called Crisp Mint, from Seed Saver’s Exchange. Multiple great tasting cuttings? Yes. Great texture? Yes. Fresh flavor but not overpowering? Yes. It’s a winner in our book.
Without further ado, here are some varieties to consider and explore. Enjoy!
This Asian red mustard green is as strikingly beautiful as it was easy to grow. It looks amazing in salad mixes due to its deep dark leaves which are as close to black as we have ever seen on a leafy green. The taste is slightly pungent. They germinated in a super quick 2 days.
I love Pak Choi in my stir fry! This variety is upright and skinny vs. wide and sprawling which means that I can fit more jars on my shelf AND it tastes great to boot.
This is a beautiful looking heirloom that quickly filled the jar with its whorls of green goodness.
Another heirloom gem. It is a loose leaf variety with a lot of versatility. It was a very strong performer for us and we had big salads off this one in no time!
Ok. Let’s be honest. I grew this initially because it has cool name. But as it grew, I was equally intrigued by its coloration, vigor and flavor. If you are looking for an interesting romaine variety to grow – look no further.
This crisphead is almost as cool looking as the “FTB” above. It is equal vigor and has slightly more crunch.
Kale Dwarf Vates
This is a great variety. It is super curly and compact, quick to finish, and has good flavor. Of all the kale varieties I have grown, this is a favorite.