How to Grow Unusual Vegetables

Overview

Some vegetables may be considered out of the ordinary because of their size, such as tiny summer squash; because of their color, such as striped eggplants; or because they aren't easily found in the produce section of the grocery store, such as yardlong Chinese beans. Giant veggies make up another category of unusual produce. Most giant vegetables require a long growing season, lots of attention and much patience on the part of the gardener.

Step 1

Decide what kind of giant veggie you want to grow. The growing conditions of your climate put a limit on what will successfully grow, as does the type of soil. If you want to grow giant vegetables, a long growing season is necessary to give that vegetable enough time to grow. More light means bigger vegetables as well. Gardeners in Alaska, which receives nearly 24 hours of sunshine per day in the summer but still has cool temperatures, grow huge vegetables, such as cabbages that weigh up to 85 pounds.

Step 2

Select a variety that naturally grows bigger. Carrots, for example, grow from only 2 or 3 inches long to 12 inches long. Tomatoes grow from cherry size to beefsteak, which can be up to 2 pounds. If you want giant vegetables, search through your seed catalog for the biggest variety to begin with.

Step 3

Start the seeds indoors seven weeks before the last date on which you expect frost. Plant the seeds in small pots filled with potting soil, following the directions on the seed packaging for each type of plant. Starting the seeds indoors gives the veggies extra time to grow extra big.

Step 4

Dig an area in the garden that is 3 feet square and deep for each plant. Add soil amendments that your chosen veggie requires. For example, cucumbers are heavy feeders and sometimes grow right in a compost heap, so lots of added organic matter is a plus. On the other hand, carrots split or fork if there's too much organic matter in their soil. Mix the amendments well into the soil you removed from the garden, and refill the hole with the amended soil before planting the seedlings.

Step 5

Fertilize your plants with a fertilizer that is made specifically for the type of veggie you're growing. Use half as much twice as often as the package directions advise. Water-soluble plant food is better for growing big veggies than the time-release variety.

Step 6

Remove all but one or two fruits from the plant if it's a vegetable such as pumpkin, tomato, pepper, eggplant, squash or melon. The plant will put all its energy into the one or two remaining fruits.

Step 7

Inspect the plant every day for bugs. Remove any you find by hand immediately or wash them off with a strong stream of water.

Step 8

Harvest the fruit when it is ripe or when the veggie has stopped growing for a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Support large vegetables with a sling attached to stakes so that the weight of the fruit doesn't cause it to snap off the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed catalog
  • Pots
  • Seeds
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendments
  • Water-soluble fertilizer

References

  • "The Country Garden;" Charlie Ryrie; 2003
  • "Great Ideas for Your Garden;" Jane Courtier et al.; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Gardener
Keywords: extraordinary veggies, grow giant vegetables, growing unusual veggies

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.