Every growing season I try to choose at least one new-to-me plant to grow – it helps test my skills, keeps things interesting, and stretches my knowledge. My choice last year was papaloquelite, an herb described as similar cilantro, and used in Central and South American foods. My family and I love the flavor of cilantro – an herb I grow every year and will speak more on in a future Herb Highlights post – so trying papaloquelite seemed a logical next step. But I was not successful when sowing the seeds outdoors, so this year I tried sowing the seeds remaining from the 2008 packet in flats inside, and so far they have sprouted. I’ll likely transplant some of the seedlings to the vegetable garden, some in a perennial bed, and some in pots, just to get an idea of where they will grow best. Papaloquelite is said to grow 4 to 6 feet tall, and produce many bluish green leaves when planted in full sun conditions similar to those preferred by tomatoes and peppers. I’m looking forward to comparing the flavor of papaloquelite with that of cilantro … I’ll report back what I find.
This year I opted to try two greens I’ve not planted previously. One is salad burnet, described as an easy, low growing plant with leaves that taste like cucumbers. I’ll start salad burnet in pots so I can observe its growth and shape before I decide whether to place some directly into the garden or keep it in pots.
My other ‘new’ choice is tatsoi, a Chinese mustard used in salads and stir fry dishes. Since tatsoi is a cool-weather plant, I’ll sow the seeds directly along the edge of a perennial bed. The dark green, low, rosette-shaped plant is said to make an attractive border. If we like its flavor I’ll be able to sow tatsoi again in late summer to give us fresh greens again in the fall.
Check back for updates on how each of these varieties grow and produce. I’d love to hear from other gardeners who have tried any of the above.