Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Growing unusual fruits and sub tropical veggies in the UK for your garden is a grand experiment and can enhance your skills as a gardener. Of course, it would take time but isn’t the idea of growing something new to try and eat exciting? Here are fruits and vegetables to grow!
Tropical Veggies in the UK: Armenian Cucumbers
They are best used for slicing, but they also work well fermented. They can be grown in full sun, just like a cucumber. These plants’ vines can grow up to six to eight feet long. If you have the space, you can either let them run wild or teach them how to grow on a wire trellis. Un-trellised cucumbers will show some funny twists and turns while trellised cucumbers will be straight.
These plants are very drought- and heat-tolerant and have been a success in my high desert garden for years. Your Armenian cucumber plants will take between 50 and 70 days to produce ripe fruits.
The rind of this open-pollinated melon is yellowish-green at maturity. It encloses soft orange flesh, which tastes similar to cantaloupe. Some fruits may have lobes that run lengthwise along the fruit. Others may have light netting.
This cultivar is sometimes also called ‘American Banana Citron’, ‘Banana Citron’, ‘Cuban Banana’, and ‘Mexican Banana. Look out for ripe fruit in 90 days.
Tropical Veggies in the UK: Big Max Pumpkins
“Big Max” is an open-pollinated, heritage Cucurbita maxima variety that produces light orange skin with thick walls of moist, delicious, yellowish-orange flesh. It can also be used to make soups or pumpkin pie fillings.
These annual plants can grow up to 10 to 15 feet in length, so give them lots of space. Also, as with smaller pumpkins, ensure they are grown in full sunlight.
To achieve pumpkin fame, you should only grow one pumpkin per vine. This will ensure that the entire plant’s resources are used for that pumpkin. Attention short-season gardeners: 120 days of frost-free weather is required to bring ‘Big Max to maturity.
These red-skinned beets can be cut horizontally in half to reveal concentric rings in bright reddish pink and white. This gives these roots a candy-striped appearance or bull’s eye look. Chioggia beets are round, slightly flattened at the top, and can be picked when they are approximately two inches across. They are best when placed in rich soil with compost or manure.
These cool-season vegetables have pale green leaves and can grow to approximately ten inches in height. They should be planted in full sunlight. They will be ready for harvest in about 55 days. These beets’ red pigments can cause bleeding when they are boiled. If you want to preserve their beautiful stripes, steam them gently.
Tropical Veggies in the UK: Cosmic Purple Carrots
“Cosmic Purple” has beautiful amethyst-colored skin. It has an orange interior with a yellow core and orange to yellow exterior. These carrots can grow up to six to seven inches in length with tapered ends and are sweet and slightly spicy.
Purple carrots, like other purple vegetables, are high in anthocyanins and may be a benefit to your health, provided that you don’t peel their purple skins. Cool season vegetables should be planted in the garden of ‘Cosmic Purple’. Your carrot crop will be ready for harvest in 70 days.
Poor Man’s bean/lablab bean (Lablab purpureus)
The Poor Man’s Bean loves a tall frame, or a teepee to climb on. They are large-sized beans that are fleshy and broad. To encourage production, pick them young and every day. This plant is more resistant to drought than the common green bean. It can also tolerate soils and water that are slightly acidic.
It is a perennial, short-lived plant that produces beans for 2 to 3. The first year is the best for the most production. The attractive plant has edible young leaves as well as edible sweetpea-like blooms. The leaves can be used in salads as well as cooked dishes. Flowers make a beautiful garnish.
Choko (Sechium edule)
Every part of the choko can be eaten. The young shoots, which are a popular green vegetable and the root of younger plants, are widely consumed.
The plants love organically rich, moisture-retentive soils as well as a sturdy climbing support. You can support your plants with a water tank, shed, or outdoor “dunny”, which will soon be fully covered.
There are many varieties of choko. The most popular is the large-sized green variety. The white choko is a rare cultivar. The white choko fruit is brighter than the green variety and more slimy. The fruit looks stunning when hung from the vine. If you are looking for vegetables at night, you will be able to find them by torchlight or at twilight.
Ethiopian or Kenyan Cabbage (Brassica carinata)
The old cabbages of North and Central Africa are a completely different breed. They happily thrive in the hottest, most humid and wet summers. They produce large heads of sweet, deliciously flavourful leaves.
These plants, like all leafy Brassicas, appreciate well-worked, fertile, moist soils. They also need regular fertilizer applications. These plants quickly become large, leafy rosettes that are attractive in the garden’s summer gardens. This cabbage adds a unique flavor to African dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for cabbage and kale during the summer months.
Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)
Our subtropical climate is ideal for sweet potatoes. Soon, they form dense groundcovers. You can propagate plants from cuttings and sprouted tubers. Plants are best when the weather warms up in spring.
Sometimes, the problem is how to stop these plants from growing. To keep the plants compact, many gardeners cut them back during the growing season. They also use the shoots to propagate other crops or as a green vegetable.
Another problem is the difficulty of finding tubers during harvest. To mark the spot, gardeners place stakes or sticks next to newly-planted cuttings.
Luffa (Luffa cylindrica)
The luffa vine is a vigorous vine that can be trained over a large pergola or trellis. When covered with hanging fruits, this highly productive plant can be quite ornamental. You can substitute zucchini for the fruit in many dishes. It is slightly moister than zucchini, and has an attractive but distinctive flavor.
The growth of Luffa plants is much easier than that of zucchinis. They also suffer from fewer pests and diseases than zucchinis. They are more sensitive to heat and dry conditions because they are a large vine. You will however be rewarded by increased production, as with all vegetables.
You can leave the fruit on the vine to mature and make your own bathroom sponges if you are unable to keep up. This is what you get when you wash off the flesh of a mature fruit.