Each year, I plant at least one new-to-me “experimental” crop. I see if it grows well, whether I like it, and (if there’s enough to sell) how it does at market. This winter, I got a little carried away when dog-earing the seed catalogs. I’m growing six new crops.

Yep, six: painted hills corn, Cajun jewel okra, Henderson bush lima beans, golden summer crookneck squash, cucamelons, and Chinese pink celery. That’s not to mention the new varieties of crops, like red currant cherry tomatoes. All of these “new” crops are heirloom varieties, meaning they’ve been passed down for generations. The summer squash has been grown here since before 1492!

You’ve already seen the golden summer squash at the market, and the okra, lima beans, and celery might be showing up soon too. The cucamelons – tiny cucumbers that resemble watermelons – are just starting to flower, and the corn, well, we’ll see if the critters leave me any. As with any experimental crop, whether I bring these vegetables to market depends on how big of a harvest I get from them.

Speaking of the market, tomorrow you can expect more beans and summer squash, fresh basil, garlic salt, and handmade items.

I’m selling a mixture of two bean varieties this year: ‘Contender,’ which is a standard green snap bean, and ‘Dragon Tongue,’ a cream-colored Dutch wax bean with striking purple streaks and excellent flavor. Both are stringless, tender, and great for fresh eating, cooking, freezing, or pickling. I highly recommend sautéing a handful with some sliced squash and seasoning it all with chopped basil and a generous sprinkle of garlic salt. Yum!