Edible Crops

Aji (Capsicum annuum)

Perennial bush. Grows to 1 meter or more. Purple flowers. Fruits prolifically. Red fruits are quite hot and can be utilized for culinary & medicinal purposes. A very versatile pepper. Popular in Ecuador as an addition to a spicy salsa called “aji.” Adds spice to sauces, vinegars, candies, fudge, coffee drinks, marinades, and more. A little goes a long way! Can be used internally in tea or tincture to promote healthy circulation and digestion. Also used externally to help ease arthritis & rheumatisum.

Arugula (Eruca sativa)

This annual edible plant is also commonly called rocket. It is popular for it’s delicious peppery leaves. Add them to salads, pizzas, pasta sauce, sandwiches, pesto, omelettes and more. The flowers are also edible. Transplant or direct seed in full to part sun. Grows to 20-100 cm.

Chocho (Lupinus mutabilis)

Also widely known as tarwi. Edible & ornamental Andean crop. Originally domesticated by pre-Inca people more than 1,500 years ago. Grows 1–2.5m tall. Showy purple to blue flowers have a honey like aroma to help attract pollinators. Produces a protein rich seed that has an oil content similar to soybeans. A hardy & adaptable “pioneer” plant that can be grown in marginal soils. Tolerates frost, drought, a variety of pests, and a wide range of soils. Will benefit the land where it is grown due to nitrogen fixing surface roots & a strong taproot that loosens soil. Seeds should be soaked & rinsed before eating to remove bitterness. Cooked seeds are often enjoyed in soups, stews, & salads or eaten as a snack, like peanuts.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Easy to grow annual. The tasty leaves are utilized in salsas, salads, & sauces as the herb, cilantro. The seeds are the delicious spice, coriander, and are often used in curries, pickles & spice blends. Direct seed in full sun to part shade about 4-6″ apart. Does best with consistent moderate moisture.

Ethiopian Kale (Brassica carinata)

This mild tasting leafy green is technically a mustard. In East Africa, where the plant orginated, it is grown primarily as an oil seed crop. Leaves are nutritious and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Younger leaves are more tender & better suited to being enjoyed in salad. Plant is cold tolerant and can be grown at higher altitudes than most leafy crops (up to 2600m). It has a long tap root and extensive root system compared to other brassicas. Can produce leaf & seed with only a moderate amount of rainfall, though irrigation will improve leaf crop. Amending soil with manure will increase protein content & leaf production. Plant will produce in most soils, except saline or water-logged. Seeds germinate rapidly in moist soil in pots or in the garden. Space plants 40-50 cm.

Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense)

A popular Andean fruit also known as lulo. Perennial, herbaceous shrub. An attractive plant with large, thick dark-green and purple leaves. grows to 1-1.5 meters high with spreading stems. does best on fertile, well-drained slopes. Produces round orange fruits with edible sour-sweet pulp. Enjoy when fully ripe. Delicious & versatile fruit. can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Used to make juice, fruit pies, sweets, jellies, jams & syrups. Also used to top cakes, ice cream, yogurt, & fruit salad.

Scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus)

Large, vigorous vining plant that grows to 10+ ft. Flowers are very ornamental scarlet clusters. A great plant to plant to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and pollinators.
The large seeds are multicolored and can be eaten fresh or dried. The whole young pods are edible, before they become too fibrous. Cook beans well before enjoying.

Tomato, Montaña (Solanum lycopersicum)

Indeterminate plants that prefer sturdy trellising. Prune mature plants regularly to promote good air flow. Water at the roots & soil, avoiding leaves. Provide consistent moisture for the best yields. Plant seed 1/4″ deep in 3-4″ pots. Transplant plants outdoors or into green house, 18-24″ apart. When planting, sink plants 12-18″ deep, right up to the base of the first leaves to promote good root development.

Produces round, medium-sized, bright red edible fruits that are delicious fresh or cooked. Pick fruits when fully red for best flavor.

Medicinal Plants

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Annual. Grows to 2 ft tall. Easy to propagate from seed and thrives in most soils. Ornamental and medicinal herb. Plants produce vivid orange and yellow flowers thought to brighten mood & encourage cheerfulness. Flowers can be used in topical preparations to promote healing of burns & wounds, to stop bleeding, & to ease pain of irritated or injured skin. Used internally for fevers, menstrual cramps, ulcers, and skin disorders, like acne & eczema.

Plantain (Plantago major)

Annual. Grows readily and will self-seed. Requires little love to thrive. An important first aid herb. Leaves can be applied externally to ease bites & stings of insects or animals, stop bleeding, and improve healing of wounds. Can be taken internally to treat inflammation and urinary tract infection. Seeds are used as a laxative and to improve digestive health.

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

A valuable healing herb to have on hand. Root has various medicinal uses. Beneficial for liver health, digestion, and various gastrointestinal problems. Helpful for chronic skin issues, including psoriasis, eczema, acne. Good source of iron that can be used to treat anemia. Grows easily, without much love, and self seeds fairly readily.

Flowers & Ornamentals

Castor (Ricinus Communis Impala)

A particularly beautiful variety with red foliage & flowers. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in pots or in the garden. Keep soil moist until germination occurs, usually around 7-14 days. Seeds are poisonous. DO NOT EAT.

Fish bean (Tephrosia vogelii)

A pretty shrub that grows quickly and is easy to establish. Valuble insecticide that can be used to control pests in the garden, on pets & livestock, in the home, and in stored grains. Has delicate, white flowers that are appreciated by pollinators & hummingbirds. Plant on the edge of hills or terraces to help control errosion and produce green manure. Harvest leaves for insecticidal extract or mulch. DO NOT use as animal fodder or throw into fish ponds. Termites will not eat the leaves, so can be very useful as a mulch where they are present. Soak seeds for 24 hours to improve germination. Plant 60-90 cm apart. Will grow 1.8 to 3m tall.

Sunflower — Hopi Black Dye

(Helianthus annuus) Annual. Grows up to 9 ft tall. Direct seed into the garden, 1 inch deep. Space plants 6 inches apart. Plant prefers moist soil and full sun. Germination takes 1-2 weeks. Thin to 1 foot apart. Seeds can be utilized for oil and dye.

Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

Annual. Easy to grow. Produces many vibrant, multi-colored blooms. Perfect for cut flowers or enjoying in the garden. Direct sow seeds, spacing plants about 1 foot apart.