Some Interesting Facts About Two Common Vegetables

In these uncertain times, many people are embarking on vegetable gardening. It is very satisfying to sit down to a meal in which you have incorporated some freshly picked foods that you grew and nurtured to the harvest stage yourself. For more than 10,000 years farmed vegetables and grains have sustained our ancestors. During this time, plants and seed have been traded across continents, selected and cross pollinated to become bigger and better, and used in medicine and kitchens, creating a world of immense interest.

A common vegetable in your garden may be from the family of beans, which has  had a rocky past. Beans have been blamed for nightmares and lunacy. Don’t fall asleep in a bean field that is in bloom! Your insanity may be permanent. But is some of this bad rap a result of the naturally occurring L-dopa, a form of which is used in treatment of Parkinson’s? Beans were once the cheap “peasant” food, “the poor man’s meat” and although people in general became stronger and healthier from their protein rich fava bean, diets of many were not balanced.

Radishes have an extremely long history as a food and Romans blamed them for wind, resulting in belching. Another phenomena of the radish is that when you bite into it, a chemical reaction between you and the radish allows the radish to bite back in self defense. This results in anything from a tang to a burn (horseradish).

We can just imagine all the experimental ingesting of plant life and trading and breeding of plants that has occurred over thousands of years which has led us to the great variety of tasty foods that we almost take for granted today. If you don’t usually plant veggies, then try a row of beans or a barrel of radishes.  Have some fun and Northumberland Master Gardeners are here to help you.

Many facts were taken from the book “How Carrots won the Trojan War” by Rebecca Rupp.
Article written by Suzi Gabany, Northumberland Master Gardener and The Tomato Lady who sells heirloom tomato plants:

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