There are so many amazing edible plants for the backyard. Today I would like to talk about five that are amazing but lesser known. All of them will have feature positions in my new garden. They win a place in my top five because the space to yield ratio is almost impossible to beat.
1) Pepino melon
Ever wanted apple-sized honey dew melons all year round? Welcome to the gorgeous and simple to grow pepino from South America. This tiny 30-40cm plant will deliver 20-30 fruit every year. Mark my words, you will get too many. What a delicious problem to have. The fact that they fruit inside 12 months is impossible to argue with.
2) Choko vine
Sure they are probably more at home in a pig’s dinner tray than a feature vegetable, but I will defend the humble choko. A single vine can give you 50 chokos. They are a great filler for soups, stews, pasta sauces, adding body and a soft earthiness. I love them because they take on and absorb the flavours of the other foods. Boring to grow, get on board. Oh, and they are great for covering an ugly wall or old shed.
I can’t fathom why this ripe red fruit – filled with passionfruit red and orange goodness isn’t prized by more. I think it is one of the most tasty fruits you can grow. You can stew it, make sauces out of it, eat them raw. In fact, knock yourself out. Some days I take a large bowl of them to the shade of summer tree and make myself ill with happiness. They fruit in their first year. Gold.
4) Pineapple guava
Talk about tasty. These little green things pack a powerful perfume flavour. The fact that each small tree gives you about 5kg is an added bonus. They also ripen slowly so you can take your time. My aunt makes a pudding out of them. I eat them from the tree. They also juice up really well. They slip a few spots on the top five because they can take 4-5 years to fruit.
5) Jerusalem artichokes
Another veg for the pig family. A staple crop for farmers I’ll defend these nuggets from the earth. They have a glorious truffle flavour and richness that can be an amazing backbone to many recipes. You can make a great soup, or even better, chips out of them. They can be a solid substitute for potatoes. Just a small warning; they can give you a little bit of wind. Added bonus, the yellow sunflowers these produce when they are getting ready to be dug up are absolutely amazing. Added points.
The other finalists that round up the top 10 : rocoto chilli tree, asparagus, babaco tree, yacon, globe artichoke.