Adventures in Ethics and Science

It would appear that our rainy season is really over until next winter (which is not to say that it won’t rain at all between now and then, just that things will be more dry than wet). So, it seemed like a good time to document some recent developments in the Free-Ride garden.

Today, I’m presenting six photos from the garden for you to identify:

  • Common name is fine — no need to provide the Linnaean binomial unless you really feel like it.
  • No, I’m not asking you to identify these plants because I’ve forgotten what I’ve planted. (Not this time, anyway.)
  • Your identifications will germinate (harden-off? compost?) in comment moderation until Monday night (9 PM PST, to be precise), so there’s no need to worry that your comment will spoil the fun for others who want to guess.
  • If you have a favorite recipe that uses one or more of these mystery crops and you’d like to share, that would be awesome.

And now for the photos:

Mystery crop #1:


Mystery crop #2:


Mystery crop #3:


Mystery crop #4:


Mystery crop #5:


Mystery crop #6:


Good luck, home botanists!

UPDATE: Some very good identifications, but some of these crops seem to be more challenging to identify than others.

In case it helps, here’s a clue: In terms of the climate zones in the Sunset Western Garden Book, I think we’re about 16 (“Central and Northern California Coast Thermal Belts”).


  1. #1 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 29, 2009

    #1 = strawberry
    #3 = artichokes
    #4 = peas or sweet peas

  2. #2 Tsu Dho Nimh
    March 29, 2009

    #5 is blueberries (I didn’t know they grew in San Jose)

  3. #3 Larry Ayers
    March 29, 2009

    #1 is some strawberry variety (Fragaria)

    #2 is some mustard family member; maybe turnip or parsnip?

    #3 is some form of Chinese cabbage, perhaps a Bok Choy variety.

    #4 is a variety of English Pea.

    #5 –I have no idea

    #6 Probably mustard family, but I know not what it might be.

  4. #4 Courtney
    March 29, 2009


  5. #5 Abby
    March 29, 2009

    #1 is strawberries.
    #2 might be a carrot?
    #3 I’m going to guess is a brassica of some flavor, but I don’t recognise it at all.
    # 4 is peas (my favorite fresh-from-the-garden veggie!).
    #5 might be a hot pepper?
    #6 is maybe potatoes.

  6. #6 chezjake
    March 29, 2009

    Hmmmm. I’m totally ignorant about anything that’s West Coast specific or warm climate only.

    1. Strawberries
    2. Looks vaguely familiar, but I can’t bring it to mind.
    3. No idea
    4. Peas
    5. No idea
    6. Not sure, but leaves look potato-ish.

    It’s about time I should be getting some of the early seeds in the ground here, but my garden is still a sea of mud.

  7. #7 Heddi
    March 30, 2009

    1: strawberries (recipe: Sure Gel lower sugar freezer jam!)
    2: ?? (guessing squash or maybe eggplant….)
    3: artichoke
    4: peas
    5: ??? (weed?)
    6: potatoes

  8. #8 Laurent
    March 30, 2009


    2.A member of the Asteraceae, an Apium species? Need to see at a more developped stage

    3.Artichoke or Cardoon

    4.A member of the Fabaceae, an Vicia species? Need to see at a more developped stage

    5. Blue or Mil-berry? The pict is slightly blurred…

    6.Solanum tuberosum

  9. #9 Andrea
    March 30, 2009

    Looks like:

    1. Fragaria (strawberries)
    2. Rheum (Rhubarb)
    3. Maybe artichokes?
    4. sweet peas
    5. Not a very good picture but looks like an Ericaceae so I’d say blueberry?
    6. Potatoes

  10. #10 ambivalent academic
    March 30, 2009

    1 – strawberries
    3 – artichokes
    4 – peas

    the rest I have no idea

  11. #11 fizzchick
    March 30, 2009

    Mmm. 1 is strawberries, 4 is peas, 5 is blueberries, and 6 is potatoes. I initially wanted to say 2 is rhubarb, but it doesn’t look quite right. Celery, perhaps? 3 looks totally exotic to my east-coast training. Maybe it’s a root vegetable that I don’t know the foliage for, like jicama?

  12. #12 Brook
    March 30, 2009

    #1 strawberry!

    #2 celery/rhubarb

    #3 broccoli (or some other variety of Brassica oleracea)

    #4 peas (or perhaps another bean)

    #5 blueberries (blurry photo…)

    #6 potato?

  13. #13 Super Sally
    March 30, 2009

    1. yummy strawberries in blossom (fruit to follow)
    2. leaf looks like celery, but stem looks reddish, so you got me
    3. artichokes
    4. peas (in NJ plant on 3/19-St. Joseph’s feast day)
    5. pretty flowery bush about to bloom … stems too tender for azaleas, so I’m still guessing. Is it new since I’ve been in the yard?
    6. looks like radish leaves, but not quite red globe that I’ve grown, maybe daikon or some such?

    Daffs and forsythia out here but someone at my mini iris blooms–rabbit more likely than deer; tulip trees, cherries and Bradford pears just opening. All holding well since temps still at or below normal. Nose beginning to run.

    Back to work; thanks for the break.

  14. #14 Martin
    March 30, 2009

    Mystery crop #1: Barren strawberry
    Mystery crop #4: peas

  15. #15 Peanut
    March 30, 2009

    My identifications:

    Mystery crop #1: strawberry

    Mystery crop #2: Parsley

    Mystery crop #3: Artichoke

    Mystery crop #4: Peas

    Mystery crop #5: Blueberries

    Mystery crop #6: Tomatoes

  16. #16 sam
    March 30, 2009

    I’m envious of your spring – I’m a Bay Area native now in cold eastern WA. Not much growing here yet – my bulbs are a few inches tall, but no color showing, and it’s a while before we can even think of planting the garden.
    I am pretty sure of these:
    #1: strawberries
    #3: artichokes
    #4: sweet peas (could be peas for eating, but I’ll go with the flowers)
    #6: radishes
    but I’m stuck on the other two…

  17. #17 Uncle Fishy
    March 30, 2009

    artichoke, unless it’s cardoon which would be cool
    I’m not really sure but I’ll guess blueberries
    potato. It’s entirely possible it’s potato leafed tomato but then you’re growing them so close.

  18. #18 Janet D. Stemwedel
    March 30, 2009

    Y’all are pretty good with the plant identification! If we end up with any unidentified “volunteer” plants, I know who to turn to to sort them out.

    The identities of the mystery crops, revealed …

    #1 Strawberry
    #2 Parsnip
    #3 Artichoke
    #4 Pea
    #5 Blueberry
    #6 Potato

  19. #19 Eriastrum
    April 2, 2009

    1. strawberry
    2. celery
    3. artichoke
    4. peas
    5. blueberry
    6. potato

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