13 Weird Vegetables and Fruits You Have to See to Believe

You can grow these weird vegetables and fruits yourself – right at home!

Halloween – the day when freaky becomes fun – is right around the corner. Maybe it’s a bit too late to plant something for the holiday and expect it ready for harvest. But get inspired by the holiday, and plant things that are unusual, unsettling, or just plain weird.

Veggie-Creep Out Your Friends – Some Ideas

Wondering just what to grow? We’ll start with some pointers. Do you like lists? Lists are awesome. Let’s make one!

1. Romanesco Broccoli

Raw Green Organic Romanesco
Romanesco is a uniquely weird vegetable – the plant’s entire pattern is repeated in miniature in each of its florets. It makes for a striking sight!

One word: fractals.

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Do you remember math class as a kid? Well, let’s make math class fun! Fractals are patterns that repeat ad infinitum – where the entire pattern is repeated in miniature as each of the components.

And that’s exactly what romanesco broccoli is.

Each floret is a replica of the entire plant – in miniature. And so on ad infinitum, or ad-at-least-as-small-as-you-can-see!

Actually a type of cauliflower, romanesco broccoli tastes like the white stuff. But its spiky green florets will weird out your dinner guests!

  • Sun requirements: it needs a slightly shaded location
  • Temp. requirements: this is a cool-season crop that does best when daytime temperatures are around 60°F
  • Other notes: it needs a lot of water; it’s not a desert plant!
Our Pick
Cauliflower seeds - Veronica Romanesco Hybrid
  • Days to Maturity: 55 - 65 days
  • Planting Depth: ¼” inch deep
  • Plant Spacing: 24” apart
  • Growth Habit: Up to 2 ½’ tall
  • Soil Preference: Well-drained, consistently moist, loamy; pH between 6.5 and 6.8
  • Light Preference: Full Sun
  • Flavor: Sweet, nutty, crisp

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2. Black carrots

black carrots
Black carrots aren’t truly black – they’re more a very deep purple. Still, it’s a striking sight on any dinner table!

They aren’t actually “black” per se, but a deep purple. Either way, it’s still pretty haunting!

Fun Fact

Did you know, before the 17th century, actually almost all carrots that were grown were purple? It took the Dutch to develop the orange variety that we know and love today.

(William of Orange anyone? I guess the Dutch couldn’t get enough of that color!)

Dutch growers actually blended the purple and white varieties and came up with the orange thing that many kids today push to the side of their plates and try to hide under their napkins.

But the purple varieties are still around and an easy crop to grow and harvest – essentially the same to grow as the orange ones, but loaded with antioxidants and other goodies!

  • Sun requirements: Full sun
  • Temp. requirements: This hardy crop can survive as long as the low temperatures are above 20°F!
  • Soil requirements: Because the edible part is underground, till your soil to about 16” deep and mix in some compost! Have soil that drains well, but keep it moist.
Our Pick
Carrot Black Nebula Seeds - True Leaf Market

This highly attractive open-pollinated carrot variety was bred especially for the home gardener. The dark purple roots can be eaten fresh, roasted, steamed, or used for dye.

They are best harvested when the roots are 4 inches or smaller for the best flavor/texture.

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3. Okinawan Sweet Potato

okinawan sweet potato purple hawaiian tuber
Sweet potatoes are some of the most versatile vegetables you can grow. They come in all sorts of shapes and colors, and the Okinawan sweet potato is particularly cool with its purple innards!

We’ve all seen purple potatoes. You cut them open and the flesh is sparkling white – whiter, often, than that of the more common russet variety.

But what if you cut it open, and the inside was purple? Wouldn’t that weird out your guests just a little?

The Okinawan sweet potato isn’t actually from Okinawa (an island in Japan); it’s, like all potatoes, from the Americas. But it arrived in Japan in 1605 and made such a headway there that it picked up the name.

And the best part about growing this bugger? Purple sweet potatoes are loaded with nutritional goodies!

  • Sun requirements: Let’s not mince words; sweet potatoes like sun!
  • Temp. requirements: Optimal is 70-80°F, though it’s a hardy plant.
  • Other notes: Don’t crowd it, please.
Top Pick
Okinawan Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes 3 Lbs.
$24.75 ($0.52 / Ounce)
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10/24/2021 03:21 am GMT

4. Dragonfruit

Pitahaya or dragon fruit
Dragon Fruit is surprisingly easy to grow and exceptionally nutritious!

It fetches quite a price at the supermarket – sometimes up to $10/pound. But did you know you can actually grow this Central American oddity in your own garden?

There are the usual varieties that are white inside, and others that are blood red. It’s full of black seeds that look like tiny bugs. And best of all, rather than rot your kids’ teeth out, it’ll fill them up with antioxidants and all kinds of goodies!

That’s right – it’s the perfect Halloween treat. And be sure to serve it in the peel. That’s the creepy part!

  • Sun requirements: A lotta sun
  • Temp. requirements: 65-80°F is ideal, but it can survive up to 100°F; frost will kill over time but it can recover from a single cold night
  • Other notes: give it space!
Our Pick
Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus Undatus) White Pulp

2 Cuttings 6-8" Long

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10/24/2021 03:17 am GMT

5. Bittermelon

bittermelon weird vegetable
Bittermelon is a rather weird vegetable. Just look at its crumpled, almost warty skin! Besides its strange looks, it’s worth growing – prepared correctly, it’s a great addition to many meals.

As you might guess from the name, this fruit can literally be quite hard to swallow! But if for nothing other than the weird, long, wavy skin like crumpled cardboard, bittermelon is worth growing.

A bittermelon looks like a long, big, splotchy, and quite diseased cucumber – but if it’s prepared correctly (sometimes with ample brown sugar) it can be a great addition to your Halloween feast.

It’s very popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine – so branch out your palette and give it a try.

  • Sun requirements: at least 6 hours/day
  • Temp. requirements: warm: 75-80°F
  • Other notes: each plant’ll give you 10-12 of them!
Our Pick
Bitter Melon Non-GMO Seeds - Mara Long Variety [100]

Momordica charantia. Non-GMO seeds by MySeeds.Co (100 big pack)

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10/24/2021 03:17 am GMT

6. Fiddlehead Ferns

Raw Organic Green Fiddlehead Ferns
Fiddlehead ferns are super trendy at the dinner table! Boil, serve with some butter – yum!

Maybe you’re thinking: ferns? People actually eat ferns?

Yes – and it’s becoming quite hip to do so. So join the trend – and weird out your dinner guests along the way!

You want to harvest the “fiddleheads” (when they look like the head of a fiddle): before they’ve unwound and become bitter. Then boil them and serve them with extra virgin olive oil or butter. Check out this yummy roasted fiddlehead ferns recipe!

One thing to take note of: fiddlehead ferns are actually poisonous before you cook them, due to the presence of a compound called shikimic acid. So boil them well!

  • Sun requirements: This is a shade crop. Just think: where do you see ferns on the trailside?
  • Temp. requirements: 60-70°F is best, though ferns are fairly hardy little buggers
  • Soil requirements: well-draining soil is best, mixed with compost, and moisture is a must
Top Pick
Fiddleheads Fresh Wild Harvested 1 LB (16 oz)

Ships from Maine. Cold packed, handpicked in New Brunswick, Canada. Also known as Ostrich Fern. Fresh fiddleheads, to eat.

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7. Black Tomatoes

Black Growing Organic Tomato. Homegrown Tomatoes In Vegetable Garden
I love growing tomatoes of different colors. One of the main reason for this is that insects (and other tomato-predators) have a harder time finding your fruit! Yellow and black tomatoes are my favorite – insects don’t touch them and birds leave them alone. Grow some red tomatoes near them to really throw them off!

Maybe you weren’t too surprised by black carrots; most people in the USA have seen them in the produce aisle of health food stores. But tomatoes?

That’s right.

There’s a tomato cultivar that’ll freak out your friends – Black Krim, which makes its way to us from the island of Krim in the (appropriately-named) Black Sea in Eastern Europe.

In terms of growing, it’s an heirloom tomato, so the same advice applies to growing any sort of heirloom. Heirlooms are more finicky than commercial varieties, but the Black Krim will reward you with its unique, “smoky” flavor.

  • Sun requirements: a minimum of 8 hours/day, though they love basking in much more!
  • Temp. requirements: night temperatures must be at least 60°F before you start growing them
  • Soil requirements: rich and loamy that allows the roots to penetrate deep
Our Pick
Burpee Black Krim Heirloom Beefsteak Slicing Tomato

100 seeds

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10/24/2021 03:18 am GMT

8. Snake Beans

my girl holding homegrown organic purple snake beans
The editor’s daughter holding homegrown purple snake beans

Doesn’t the name of this veggie just make you want to grow it?

Also known as “yardlong beans,” the beans are similar to green beans  – but sometimes up to two feet in length! They’re very popular in Asian cuisine, but you can use them pretty much anywhere you’d use a green bean.

Though you might want to serve them whole, stir-fried in something dark like soy sauce, and tell your friends that you’ve made them worms!

  • Sun requirements: full sun, please
  • Temp. requirements: these plants love heat; and are completely intolerant of frost
  • Soil requirements: not much – they’re very hardy!
Our Pick
Bean Pole Red Noodle 50 Non-GMO Heirloom Seeds
$6.96 ($6.96 / Count)

David's Garden Seeds. SAL2826 (Red) 

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10/24/2021 03:19 am GMT

9. Horned Melon

Horned melon
The Horned Melon is also known as Kiwano Melon. They’re the size of a mango and have a truly extravagant appearance, covered in alien-like orange spikes!

Also known as a Kiwano melon, these are about the size of a mango, full of radioactive-green jellied seeds, and look like orange, spike-covered alien fruits from Mars.

Actually, they’re from South Africa. But they grow well in the USA too!

  • Sun requirements: full sun
  • Temp. requirements: over 60°F
  • Soil requirements: fertilize well
Our Pick
Horned Jelly Melon / Kiwano (Cucumis Metuliferus) 25 Seeds
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10/24/2021 03:19 am GMT

10. Samphire

Close up of grilled fish fillets with crispy skin on a bed of samphire.
How yummy do these grilled fish fillets look with their crispy skin, served on a bed of samphire!

You might not even have to grow this unusual plant. It grows in salty conditions, and close to the ocean or saline lakes. In many parts of the world, it’s just an ordinary seaside plant!

If you want to plant it, do so in a smaller container that will keep the soil moist. When you water samphire, you want to include some sea salt (not table salt) – one teaspoon per pint of water.

So, what do you do with it?

Harvest it before it flowers – either when it’s a deep, emerald green, or when it turns red just before it flowers if you like it saltier.

Remove the roots and tough stems. And then stir-fry with oil or butter!

  • Sun requirements: Samphire likes sun – so full sun, please.
  • Temp. requirements: Germinate the seeds at 77°F (25°C) but once it’s established, it’s quite hardy.
  • Soil requirements: Sandy, but you don’t actually want to plant it in soil that’s overly salty.
Our Pick
Samphire Seeds (Crithmum maritimum) 10+

Culinary medicinal herbs seeds in frozen seed capsules for the home gardener and rare seeds collector. You can plant them now, or save them for years.

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10/24/2021 03:20 am GMT

11. Banana Squash

pink banana squash and variety of pumpkins and squashes on lawn
A variety of pumpkins and squash, with banana squash clearly visible on the left-hand side – just check out the size of them!

This gourd is remarkable for one main reason which is evident the moment you set eyes on it: its size.

If you have a kid less than ten years old or so, odds are it’s taller than they are. And it’s full of yummy pink flesh with a taste similar to butternut. (Though one banana squash yields the fruit of perhaps fifty or more butternut squashes!)

The seeds are tough and difficult to eat if you roast them, but all of the flesh is edible. Once opened, store it in the fridge if you have room for it.

It’s definitely meant to serve a household and not just one person. (You’ll probably want some tips on how to cook his behemoth.)

Why a “banana” squash? Maybe it looks like a banana from a distance – but when you get up close, maybe “battering ram squash” would be more appropriate!

  • Sun requirements: full sun, at least 6 hours/day
  • Temp. requirements: you want the soil at 60°F when you plant it, with air temperatures above 50°F.
  • Soil requirements: keep it moist
Our Pick
40 Pink Banana Winter Squash Seeds

Everwilde Farms - Gold Vault (provides 3x longer storage than paper or plastic with triple layer Mylar gold foil) Jumbo Seed Packet

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10/24/2021 03:20 am GMT

12. Peter Pepper

peter penis pepper in hand
Weird and naughty is this Peter (or penis!) pepper. This is a vegetable that’ll make you do a double-take!

Maybe this one isn’t so scary, but it’s naughty in another way.

If you have kids, now’s the time to take them out of the garden! Because, if you didn’t know, “Peter” is last-century slang for… well, look at the letters it starts with!

Sure enough, the Peter pepper (or the “hot penis pepper”) delivers what its name promises. Including the “hot” part – it packs the punch of a jalapeño!

If you want it even hotter, hold off on watering until it’s looking wilted.

  • Sun requirements: full sun
  • Temp. requirements: 60-90°F
  • Soil requirements: well-drained and fertile
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Pepper Seeds at True Leaf Market
From $2.99

True Leaf Market has more than 110 different varieties of pepper seeds, starting as low as $2.99 a packet.

From crazy hot to sweet to everything in between, you'll find a pepper that suits you and your garden!

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13. Sunchoke / Jerusalem Artichoke

Raw Jerusalem artichokes
Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, are a weird vegetable but delicious roasted, stir-fried, or added to most meals as a potato substitute!

This tuber is weird-looking but delicious when prepared well – roasted, stir-fried, or mixed into other recipes.

Despite the name, it’s actually native to North America. Which means, if you’re in the USA, you’re reseeding the soil with native plants that’ll grow nicely!

In fact, it needs almost no care to produce a crop!

Also known by several other names, such as “Jerusalem artichoke” and “fartichoke.” So, as you may imagine, it has a reputation for causing some flatulence.

A reputation that isn’t baseless: they contain inulin, which is broken down in the colon into… yes, a gas.

  • Sun requirements: as the name suggests, it loves the sun, so bring it on
  • Temp. requirements: 65-90°F
  • Soil requirements: they prefer to be planted somewhere with loose and sandy soil so that the tubers can expand
Highly Recommended
5 Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers for Planting or Eating

Also known as Sunchoke or Sunroot.

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10/24/2021 03:21 am GMT

Now Let the Weirdness Begin!

Those are just a few ideas of some of the more unusual things you can grow in your garden.

Let’s list them all one more time:

Weird Vegetables Top 13

Yes, they take different amounts of time, and grow in different climatic conditions – so you may not be able to cultivate them all at once! No worries.

Any one of these can make people’s eyes pop – and make a fun and delicious addition to your holiday feast. Whatever the holiday.

Take inspiration from Halloween, and get freaky!

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