We all have become accustomed to our baby spinach salads, however try and grow it over summer in warm temperate and subtropical regions and you’ll probably give up gardening for good. My pick particularly for use in salads is Brazilian Spinach, it has a crisp texture unlike the leathery (malabar) or slimy (warrigal greens) texture of other alternatives that are often recommended over the warmer months.
Some other varieties you may want to try include Okinawa Spinach or Egyptian Spinach.
My favourite dried bean – borlotti alternative is the perennial madagascar bean. This is so prolific over the warmer months you’ll wonder why you even bothered with the alternative bush beans.
We are big fans of the humble snake bean for our summer supply. They still manage to get bean fly but they avoid the rust that comes with humid and wet weather. THey are best picked on the smaller size – slightly smaller in diameter than your regular french bean.
If you’re not a fan of snake beans – they do have a slightly tougher texture you might want to check out poor man’s bean or lablab. These beans do have a strong bean flavour so best suited for soups and curries but a great one to have on hand.
If you’re prone to diseases or fruit fly, swap to a resilient cherry tomato. The high acid content in them often deters fruit fly and our picks are the cherry cocktail and mini roma that have so far escaped any fruit fly damage.
No it’s not a sea sponge, it’s a gourd. And if you think oh I don’t need to grow sponges, well let me introduce this to you as a zucchini alternative! Picked when small these guys are a tasty alternative to your standard zucchini, if you leave them too long they will become fibrous. The angled variety is said to be the best eating variety.
If you’re not keen on giving up a garden bed for a haul of garlic then society garlic will give you the flavour you’re seeking. To me it’s very similar to garlic chives, resilient and happy to live in a perennial garden.
Eyptian walking onions or tree onions are curious plants, where the part you eat actually appears at the top of the foliage. I have been trying to source one of these for many years but it’s on my list to keep an eye out for onion alternatives.
We are big fans of butternuts in this house, but they are susceptible to powdery mildew and don’t seem to thrive when it gets super hot. Our go to over the summer months is the Jap. It is resilient to fruit fly stings and produces large sweet fruit if stored correctly will last until the next growing season. They do tend to sprawl a little more than your butternut or golden nugget varieties so if you’re short on space that’s something to keep in mind.