Diversify Your Garden with Endangered Heirloom Grains and Vegetables

You might grow the same vegetables in your garden year after year because you like them, but maybe you should expand your taste with foods you've never tried before. Growing different crops is good for your soil, too. This year, you can try out a collection from the Ark of Taste. They collect heritage varieties of plants from all over the world with the aim of preserving those endangered varieties and introducing you to the kaleidoscope of the world's bounty.

Every year, the Ark of Taste offers a different Plant a Seed collection. For 2024, the collection includes three root crops: Pardailhan Black Turnip, Mangelwurzel Beet, and the the Wisconsin Purple Carrot. It also has four grain crops: Cocke’s Prolific Corn (once thought to be extinct), Coral Sudanese Sorghum, Purple Karma Barley, and Red Fife Wheat. You may think you don't have rooms to grow grains, but you can get 20 pounds of barley from a 10'x10' plot!

Atlas Obscura talked to Mara Welton of Slow Food USA about each of these crops, why should grow them and what to expect from them. Each has a story and offers incredible taste compared to the common hybrid seeds gardeners are used to growing. Read that interview, and you'll want to do something completely different with your garden this year. -via Nag on the Lake

(Image credit: Anathea Utley

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