Living Homegrown

- The Podcast -

Live farm fresh

without the farm®

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

LH 133: Growing Fun & Unusual Vegetables

Why Grow THIS, When You Can Grow THAT

Who wouldn’t want to grow something like purple sugar magnolia peas, cape gooseberries, cucamelons, or dragon’s egg? These unusual and heirloom varieties of vegetables add an element of fun in the garden and flavor to the table. Plus, they make our veggie gardens more magical…especially if we have kiddos.

So let’s change what we grow this year and dive into the HUGE variety of tasty, exotic looking vegetables that honestly take very little effort.

I’ve invited Niki Jabbour, author of Veggie Garden Remix, to share her tips on getting experimental with our vegetable varieties this year.


You will learn:

  • Why amaranth beautifies your garden while expanding your flavors
  • Which undervalued plant tastes like pineapple with a hint of vanilla
  • Why French gold, dragon’s tongue and red swan beans are all “must haves”
  • Which pea has a purple pod, green peas and tastes amazing
  • When to pick a loofah gourd and how to cook it (yes, they’re edible!)
  • How hand-pollinating will guarantee a more bountiful harvest
  • Which varieties are so beautiful, they are Instagram worthy

Niki Jabbour on

Niki Jabbour:

Niki Jabbour is an author and edibles expert from Halifax, Nova Scotia.  In her backyard veggie garden, Niki has twenty raised beds to grow a wide assortment of different vegetable varieties and experiment with unusual crops like quinoa, peanuts, cucamelons, and burr gherkins.

Her first book, The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, was honored with the 2012 American Horticultural Society’s Book Award. Niki’s second book, Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden aims to inspire gardeners to grow more food – in gardens, on decks, anywhere they can find some growing space.

In Niki’s brand new book, Veggie Garden Remix, she invites us to shake up our food gardens with over 224 new, unusual, heirloom and global crops. From amaranth to Indian cucumbers to zaatar to ground cherries, Niki grows the world in her backyard garden.

For the last 11 years, Niki has been the host of the radio program, The Weekend Gardener which is heard throughout Eastern Canada on News 95.7 FM. Niki’s work can also be found in Fine Gardening, Garden Making, The Heirloom Gardener, Horticulture Magazine and many other gardening publications.


Click below to download Theresa’s Favorite Seed Sources:

Click here to subscribe

Resources & Links Mentioned:

Veggie Garden Remix * – Niki’s bookNiki Jabbour on

The Year Round Vegetable Gardener * – Niki’s book

Groundbreaking Food Gardens * – Niki’s book (Niki’s Blog)


Related Podcast Episodes:

Podcast on Winter Gardening with Niki Jabbour


Click here for the full transcript for Episode #133

*denotes an affiliate link

Enjoy this podcast?

Sign up for updates & receive my free Canning Resource Guide

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.