A review of new vegetable varieties to try for the season and why, plus a list of the tried-and-true vegetables I grow every year.
You can find more seed starting information in our Seed Starting Guide.
As I like to do every winter, I set aside time last weekend to go through the seeds I had left from last season and order new seeds for this year.
As I've mentioned, some of the reasons I like to order seeds is so that I can:
- Grow varieties that look great, but aren't usually available in stores and nurseries locally.
- Order early to make sure the seeds I want don't run out.
- Try new varieties each year, either new releases or just new to me, because there might me a vegetable that will do better in my garden that I don't know about.
Unsurprisingly, new tomatoes sucked me in again since 5 of my 8 choices are tomatoes!
Update: I added my notes in green after growing them for your information.
Vegetable Varieties to Try:
- Kentucky Wonder Wax Pole Bean. This is been around for awhile, but I'm trying it for the first time because I love growing pole beans and I want to add a yellow bean to my regular Emerite and Fortex beans. Nope, too tough and "beany" for me compared to my favorites, so I'm only growing Emerite and Fortex in the future.
- Atlantic Broccoli (update: no longer available- Try Arcadia with a long harvest season of side shoots). I've found with the right variety I only need to plant broccoli once in the spring and the side shoots will keep us in plenty of broccoli all the way through fall. Atlantic was okay and produced a long time, but it's no longer carried many places, so I'm back to Arcadia.
- Purple Sun Carrot. Unlike two other purple carrots I've grown, this one is purple all the way through to the core. One of the fun things about growing your own food is growing unusual things - like completely purple carrots! Love this and will continue to grow.
- Cabernet Grape Tomato (update: no longer available - try Juliet). Although I only grow one grape tomato (they produce a TON), I want to try a different variety. Again, it produced nicely, but the seeds are no longer available - I grow Juliet Grape Tomatoes now.
- Tigerella Tomato. This is an early heirloom - two things that usually aren't found together -tomato with a pretty striped skin. It was very small and pretty mushy, so not a favorite - though it was early.
- Blue Beauty Indigo Tomato. I've wanted to grow one of the indigo variety tomatoes ever since I saw them a few years ago. This is a slicer and I'm looking forward to growing this interesting colored tomato. It's a novelty and I'm glad I tried it - the flavor is okay, but the production was lacking.
- Cordova Paste Tomato. After losing four paste tomato plants last year to blight, I'm growing mostly the two that made it (Roma and Polish Linguisa), plus this new one that I hope will prove able to withstand the inevitable blight we get in our wet springs. This is a good, reliable paste tomato.
- Sub Arctic Plenty Tomato. I've tried most of the ultra early tomato varieties and non are my absolute favorites, so I'm trying yet another in my effort to get early tomatoes. Nope - poor production and not great flavor.
Tried-and-True Vegetable Varieties
The other varieties I'll be growing this year are my favorites that I grow every year. Of course I think everyone should be growing these, too. (These are all available in the catalogs I linked to above.)
- Emerite Pole Beans (You can read why I like these -and why I grow pole beans -here.)
- Fortex Pole Beans (Perfect compliment to Emerite.)
- Incredible Sweet Corn
- Quickie Corn
- National Pickling Cucumber
- Tom Thumb Butter Lettuce (So cute.)
- Jericho Lettuce (A romaine that stands some of the summer heat.)
- Oregon Giant Snow Pea (After last year's experiment with Carouby de Maussane snow pea - gorgeous blooms but sadly tough pods - I went back to a tried and true variety)
- Brandywine Tomato
- Pineapple Tomato
- Cherokee Purple Tomato
- Black Cherry Tomato
- about seven varieties of cabbage: savoy, small, large, domed, pointed, personal size - we love our cabbage!