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Garden Novelty Plants
Want to grow unique and ususual plants in your garden? Then
this page is for you! Here are a few of the interesting garden
plants we grow in our gardens.
TST001 Bears Paw Popcorn
A unique and popular popcorn developed by Glenn Thompson of Vermont and kept available by SSE. Glenn grew and distributed "Bear Paw" throughout New England from the 1930s until the mid-1960s. This popular variety was served in New England homes and movie theaters and was featured in the Vermont exhibit at the World's Fair.
Plants grow 4-5' tall with attractive purple coloring on husks and stems and pearly off-white kernels. The 4-5" ears are often flattened and split at the silk end, giving them the appearance of a bear's paw.
JF527 Three Sisters Tomato
3 types of tomato from one plant. Uniquely produces 3 shapes: Roma, large salad type, flattened globe type, 4-6 oz red, potato leaf, great fresh or in salad, indeterminate, 75 days.
RTP452 Babycakes Hybrid
Need to cut back on your salt intake? Baby Cakes tomatoes are a beautiful large red cherry tomato variety that has eye-appeal and a fantastic eating quality. Determinate plants produce big yields or 1.5" diameter fruit that have a deep red color, good holding ability and a natural salty flavor. Baby Cakes can be grown in either open field culture or on short stakes. This is the larger red cherry type that you've been waiting for. 70 Days.
TRFRID004 Miracle Berry ( Synsepalum dulcificum )
A tropical shrub in the Sapotaceae with glossy, dark green foliage and smallish, bright red fruits that have a strange effect when eaten, a substance they contain binds to the taste buds on your tongue and causes all acidic foods (such as lemons and limes) eaten for up to an hour afterwards to taste wonderfully sweet.
The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).
The fruit is used as a natural sweetener in Japan and Africa, but attempts to bring it to wider use in the West seem to have been thwarted by the sugar industry. Although native to tropical lowland areas in western Africa, the plant is adaptable to a range of frost-free climates.
It requires acid soil and will not thrive on limestone. It can also be grown as a house plant.
Use an acid plant food such as Miracle Gro Miracid to keep the soil acidic.
PEP406 Italian Nocera Giant Bell( Sweet Bell Pepper )
Absolutely enormous peppers on adaptable plants with great flavor. They grow well for home gardeners and greenhouse growers. The peppers are 7" long and 3" wide with a blocky shape. They are green ripening to yellow and weigh up to 1 lb. The plants protect the fruit from sunscald.
TRM800 White Albino Beets
Dutch heirloom beet with white roots.
An heirloom from Holland, this non-staining beet is a stand out because of its completely white roots and its delicious, sweet, mild taste.
Beets are ideal for boiling, roasting or pickling; they also freeze well. You can pick these even when the roots are large without compromising their firm texture and high flavor.
To avoid green tops, blanch the roots by hilling up the soil.
PEP390 Pardon Pepper ( Warm to hot Pepper )
Unique Spanish novelty, pimento shape, 5 percent of fruits are hot, rest mild if picked at 1-1/2", but all hot if grown to 2-3", great sauteed, 60 days.
3523 Prickly Caterpillars ( Scorpiurus muricatus)
Unusual legume native to southern Europe; listed by Vilmorin in the 1800s. Pods are narrow and twisted like a caterpillar rolled up on itself. Low growing plants with tiny yellow flowers make a beautiful ground cover. Caterpillars may be added to salads to surprise unexpected diners, but are generally not meant to be eaten because they are so spiky. Can be grown in containers if space is tight. Great historic novelty. Annual.
Note: Low germinator by nature, normally only around 60%.
IP122 Caigua ( Exploding Cucumber ) Cyclanthera pedata
This is one of the most interesting plants we have found. It is a climbing member of the cucumber family that can be used as a vegetable in salads, or steamed, it has a nice sweet flavor. It is also an herbal plant, the fruit has anti-inflammatory, weight reducing ( it is often sold in capsule form as a natural weight loss product ), lipid-absorbing, cholesterol and blood sugar regulating affects.
Can easily be grown in the garden, on a fence or trellis. It is an annual plant. One of the most interesting aspects of the plants is that when ripe, the fruits become spring-loaded missile devices, splitting and turning themselves inside-out to launch their seeds up to 5-6 feet away into the garden. This is quite the conversation plant.
IP099 Peppermint Stick Celery
Striped, candy-pink stalks shade to green leaves. A lovely plant in the garden or on a dipping tray, has a nice spicy flavor. Tends to keep its color when cooked. Use leaves and stalks for fresh seasoning, 80 days, slow to bolt.
2525 Giant Walking Stick Cabbage
Brassica oleracea longata. 180-300 days to a walking stick.
Huge edible cabbage leaves top a vertical stem strong enough to use as a cane. These unique plants have produced walking sticks for centuries. Plant 40 inches apart early in the spring. With good growing practices, the slender stem grows straight and strong. Allow it to harden in the garden. In late January or February pull the plants, cut off the roots and crown, and hang indoors to dry. When it feels solid like a baseball bat it is ready. Cannot ship to IA
FT04 Cheddar Hybrid Cauliflower
A very unique cauliflower! Contains 7.57 ppm beta carotene.
If you grow this new cauliflower, it will likely be the topic
of conversation at your dinner table the first time you serve
it. The orange curds have great taste whether cooked or raw.
Brightens up a relish tray, and does not lose it's orange
color when cooked. For maximum color intensity, do not tie-
up the leaves. Suggest it be transplanted to the garden in
August for fall harvest in areas where summers are hot.
Limited seeds, we can only sell 10 per customer at this
2930 Rat-Tailed Radish ( Raphanus sativus )
Native to South Asia. Plants are literally
covered with crisp fleshy edible tapered seedpods that are
thicker than a pencil and 4-6" long. Pods should be gathered
before fully grown. Pods can be eaten raw, or good when
chopped in salads. Not grown for the roots. 50 days.
This item is currently out of stock, if you would like to be notified by E-mail when it becomes available again, simply enter your E-mail address in the field below and hit "Submit".
TRM201 Guadeloupe Creeping Cucumber Melothria pendula
A perennial, dainty vine in the pumpkin family with slender, creeping or climbing shoots, lobed leaves and tiny yellow flowers that are followed by cute little fruits, about the size of an olive and black at maturity. When still light green, the tiny cucumbers are edible and can be used in salads or the like, they do have a wonderful full cucumber flavor, however, when black and ripe they turn strongly purgative, so DO NOT EAT THEM WHEN BLACK, or you will be introduced to one of mother nature's strongest laxatives. It is widely distributed in both North and South America.
I recommend growing this in a tub with a bit of trellis, it is an attractive vine, but if left to grow in the garden, it will deposit a lot of seeds and could become a nuisance if you do not till regularly.
TRM437 Japanese Pickling Melon
The rich, green and white striped fruits resemble large cucumbers and mature to 18" long. The flesh is white, very thick and has been used for kazu-zuke or nara-zuke-a pickling recipe over a thousand years old. 70 days.
FT07 Mexican Sour Gherkin
Say adios to vinegar - this little 'pickle'
doesn't need a jar! 60 - 70 days. Generous yields of 1 to 2"
fruits look like miniature watermelons, and even actually
fall off the vines when ripe. Sweet cucumber flavor, followed
by a surprising sourness, lead you to believe they are
already pickled! Excellent variety for trellises.
2928 Miniature White Cucumber
Great miniature yellowish-white eating cucumber. Sweet
flavor, no need to peel. Very productive, vines rarely exceed
3' in length. Fruits are best eaten raw when they are under
3" long. Extremely popular. 50-55 days.
2066 Baby Round Zucchini Summer Squash
This is one zucchini squash that won't produce enough for a
small army. This delightful French heirloom is not available
in stores, but well worth the trouble to grow. The 1" to 5"
round fruit can be stuffed, steamed, and eaten as any summer
squash. The flowers are a real culinary treat.
JF425 Green Griller Squash
Green Griller summer squash is rectangular in shape and when sliced the long way, is perfect to put on the grill and will not be difficult to turn over. It's unique shape and delicious flavor makes it a wonderful addition for the back yard griller. Green Griller features a low, open bush habit with low spine count. Intermediate resistance to Zucchini Yellows Mosaic Virus. 38 days from germination. Can be grown in patio tubs ( beside the grill? ) if preferred.
2067 German Beer Radish
Munchner Bier. A favorite snack radish in Germany. Crisp
white flesh, oval shaped radish. 52 days.
This item is currently out of stock, if you would like to be notified by E-mail when it becomes available again, simply enter your E-mail address in the field below and hit "Submit".
G018 Coffee Chickory ( Chichorium intybus )
Chicory has been in cultivation since the days of ancient Egypt. The oldest publication about herbs in existence, authored by Greek physician Dioscorides, includes information about chicory.
Thomas Jefferson planted chicory in his gardens, recommending it in a letter to his friend George Washington as "one of the greatest acquisitions a farmer can have." Chicory's most well known culinary use is the use of the root as a coffee substitute or additive, since it has a soothing and relaxing effect that balances out the stimulation of coffee.
As a wildflower, this plant springs up everywhere with its bright blue dandelion-like flowers that open and close with the sun.
To use Chicory: Cut young, tender leaves for fresh greens; do not freeze or dry them, since this deprives them of all flavor. They can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. The root can be harvested any time after four months of growth, but before the ground freezes. How to make chicory coffee
Cannot ship to CO or SD.
3491 Giant Poha Berry ( Physalis peruviana )
This is a popular berry in Hawaii, the fuzzy-leaved bush (aka Poha Berry) produces about 1" berries with smooth, waxy orange skin. This tangy sweet fruit tastes like a mixture of pineapple and strawberry and is covered with a lantern-shaped husk. It grows well in containers. 75 days.
G029 Luffa ( Washrag Gourd )
We offer this quaint plant because of the many requests we
have had for it. The dried insides of the fruit do make good
G035 Catura Coffee Arabica catura
A coffee plant that requires no tree shading and is a very
heavy producer. Should be raised for houseplants even if you
don't like coffee. For warm climates outside.
Z2805 Golden Sweet Pea
A new variety made available by SSE. Make your garden really stand out early with these delicious peas from India. Collected at a market in India, these plants grow a whopping six feet tall, with beautiful twotoned purple flowers and bright lemon-yellow pods. Best eaten when small, excellent for stir-fry. Seeds are tan with purple flecks, can be dried and added to soups. The only yellow-colored edible podded pea in SSE’s collection of 1,200 peas. Edible podded, 60-70 days.
W191 Lady Nipples Fruit Solanum
This is an erect tropical shrub growing up to 4" tall. The
deeply lobed leaves have long spikes on its surface; the
flowers are white to violet.The fruit is a round yellow berry
with numerous brownish-red seeds in it. The
fruits are poisonous!
G037 Improved Red Pod Okra
Finally, a great tasting red pod okra that is fast growing
and bountiful. The foliage and fruit have a lush, tropical
3508 Jelly Melon
(Cucumis metuliferus) (aka Kiwano, African Horned Cucumber) Originated in semi arid Africa near the Kalahari desert. Thorny oval fruits are filled with greenish-gold gel and lots of seeds; very high in vitamin C. The flavor is reminiscent of pomegranate and citrus. The primary market niche is for garnishes and decorative fruits. 120 days.
G040 Pickling Dill
Dill is very easy to grow and is used to flavor pickles,
salads, soups and more. To harvest Dill, cut flowering stems
when in full bloom. Spread out to dry on trays. When dry, rub
off flowers and stems and discard the stems. Store the
flowers and stems in an airtight container until ready to
1A050 Catalogna Special Italian Dandelion ( Cichorium intybus )
A new type of green that is taking green lovers by storm. The
large leaves are more tasty and nutritious than any green
you've ever tried.
GO55 Banana Cantaloupe
A new type of garden melon with an exotic banana shape, pink
colored flesh and a very sweet taste!
BM61 Spacemaster 80 Cucumber
60 days. These dwarf plants produce heavily and are resistant
to cucumber mosaic virus, scab, and moderately resistant to
downy and powdery mildews. The eight inch fruit are good
flavored and not bitter, even when grown in full sun.
D8566 Cassabanana ( Sicana odorifera )
An annual that needs hot weather to set fruit, best grown in higher zones 7 and above. The vine is perennial, herbaceous, fast-growing, heavy, requiring a strong trellis; climbing trees to 50 feet or more by means of 4-parted tendrils equipped with adhesive discs that can adhere tightly to the smoothest surface.
Young stems are hairy. The leaves are gray-hairy, rounded-cordate or rounded kidney-shaped, to 1 foot wide, deeply indented at the base, 3-lobed, with wavy or toothed margins.
Flowers are white or yellow, urn-shaped, 5-lobed, solitary, the male 3/4 inch long, the female about 2 inches long.
Renowned for its strong, sweet, agreeable, melon-like odor, the striking fruit is ellipsoid or nearly cylindrical, sometimes slightly curved; 12 to 24 inches in length, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, hard-shelled, orange-red, maroon, dark-purple with tinges of violet, or entirely jet-black; smooth and glossy when ripe, with firm, orange-yellow or yellow, cantaloupe-like, tough, juicy flesh.
The cassabanana is believed native to Brazil but it has been spread throughout tropical America.
Venezuelans and Brazilians are partial to the vine as an ornamental, but in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico it is grown for the usefulness of the fruit.
A high temperature during the fruiting season is needed to assure perfect ripening. Brazilians train the vine to grow over arbors or they may plant it close to a tree. However, if it is allowed to climb too high up the tree there is the risk that it may smother and kill it.
The cassabanana remains in good condition for several months if kept dry and out of the sun.
The fruit has high market value in Puerto Rico. It is cut up and sold by the piece, the price being determined by weight.
The ripe flesh, sliced thin, is eaten raw, especially in the summer when it is appreciated as cooling and refreshing. However, it is mainly used in the kitchen for making jam or other preserves. The immature fruit is cooked as a vegetable or in soup and stews.
People like to keep the fruit around the house, and especially in linen- and clothes-closets, because of its long-lasting fragrance, and they believe that it repels moths. It is also placed on church altars during Holy Week.
Medicinal Uses: In Puerto Rico, the flesh is cut up and steeped in water, with added sugar, overnight at room temperature so that it will ferment slightly. The resultant liquor is sipped frequently and strips of the flesh are eaten, too, to relieve sore throat. It is believed beneficial also to, at the same time, wear a necklace of the seeds around the neck.
The seed infusion is taken in Brazil as a febrifuge, vermifuge, purgative and emmenagogue. The leaves are employed in treating uterine hemorrhages and venereal diseases. In Yucatan, a decoction of leaves and flowers (2 g in 180cc water) is prescribed as a laxative, emmenagogue and vermifuge, with a warning not to make a stronger preparation inasmuch as the seeds and flowers yield a certain amount of hydrocyanic acid.
GO72 Mosquito Plant Agastache cana
This hardy perennial will provide you with sweetly scented
foliage and large 1" rosy-purple flowers. It attracts
hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. The crushed foliage
rubbed on the skin is said to repel mosquitoes.
G150 Bright Red French Pumpkin
Most unusual!. A reddish orange pumpkin that is shaped
flat and resembles a bright red cheese wheel more than a
pumpkin. The 12-16 lb. fruits produce a sweet orange flesh
that is great for pumpkin pies. A definite must for fall
G160 Spaghetti Squash
A fast maturing winter squash producing 4-5 lb fruits. Bake
in oven, split open and remove the "spaghetti" and top with
your favorite sauce, delicious!
Note: The price of this item has been slashed to Ninety Five cents per pack! To order this and fifty other vegetable seed selections for only 95 cents per pack, please visit our GoodCentsVegetables Seed List.
G185 Fancy French Pickling Cucumber
A different type of cuke that is longer and slimmer than the
ones we normally grow. Although they can be pickled when
mature, they are fantastic when pickled finger size as "baby
cukes". Also very good for salads and snacks raw.
BM74 Strawberry Spinach ( Chenopodium foliosum )
Highly novel, easy to grow plant, ideal for the border or patio containers or in the garden. Base branching with spiky foliage and stems which bear many edible, bright-red strawberry-like fruits through to early autumn.
A green that is grown and eaten like spinach before the small strawberry like fruits appear on the
stems of the plant. This plant has been around for over 400 years and was a favorite of English Monks long ago. Smaller,thinner leaves than ordinary spinach, with abundance of thumbnail size fruits which are tasty.
Useful cut material, grows 15" tall, ready in 12 weeks from seed. Annual.
TPF208 Sugar Cane ( Sorghum Variety, Rox Orange )
Not to be confused with sugar cane grass grown in Florida (
Saccharum ) for sugar production. The "sugar" refers to the
sweet variety of this cane compared to types grown only for
forage. Grow this old time sorghum favorite for forage or
syrup, pieces of mature cane heart can be chewed like candy.
Grow same culture as corn, but prefers well drained sandy
loam. Grows to 8 ft. tall and matures in about 110 days.
Can be cut for silage after 70-80 days, or be used for
livestock grain if left to full maturity. Best adapted to
well drained loam. Will mature in any area with a long enough
growing season for corn.
TCB004 Koshikikari Rice ( Oryza sativa japonica )
This is a premium Japanese short grain rice that is distinguished by its aroma, sweet flavor and texture. It is an early maturing semi-dwarf variety that has been grown successfully in the United States since 1991. Dried stalks are beautiful displayed in flower arrangements. Leaves and hulls are rough.
Maturity: Approx. 128 days.
Planting season: Late spring to early summer.
2294 Valentine Radish ( Watermelon Radish )
A large, round, Japanese, white-skinned radish
with dark green shoulders and bright pink/red flesh.
Valentine/Watermelon radish grows to be 3º" in diameter
and is best harvested in Fall or Winter. When cut top to
bottom, each slice resembles a Valentine.
TRM249 Bushman's Toliet Paper Plant ( Brachyglottis repanda Rangiora )
Quite the conversation plant, this is a small bushy tree or large shrub to 15 feet tall in the daisy and sunflower family (Asteraceae) native to New Zealand that produces very large leaves about 20 inches long and 12 inches wide with furry undersides.
It has a number of applications in traditional New Zealand medicine but the plant is considered toxic to some degree so we do not recommend it for any such use.
The soft furry underside of the leaves are apparently also effective as a natural bathroom tissue, thus the name and is usually grown as more of a conversation piece than for any other purpose.
It is fast and easy to grow from seed and best suited to warm temperate climates in USDA Zones 9 and 10. This form has particularly large leaves. Fragrant creamy flowers are abundant in spring.
This also makes a wonderful pot plant for the patio.