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.
So along with my usual favorites that I'm sharing at the end, I'm trying these eight new and new-to-me vegetables from two sources, Pinetree Garden Seeds and Territorial Seed Company.
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!
Sue R. says
Do you ever have any extra starts you'd like to sell to readers in your area....please???
Jackie in Canada says
I have grown Tigerella tomatoes and find them to be quite a nice tomato. They are a typical globe size tomato & mine kept quite well.
I will have to try to find the new purple carrot. I have grown Purple Haze as well as Rainbow Carrots for the last few years with great success. I wonder if the purple carrot will bleed like beets do?
That's good to know about the Tigerella's storage capabilities - thanks, Jackie! I didn't notice too much bleed from the other purple carrots I've grown, but they weren't purple all the way through like these, so who knows? But I hope to find out 😉
I so need a new broccoli to grow. I haven't had much luck the last two years. I'll have to see how your does and maybe give it a try. 🙂
We grow bush wax beans. We really love them. I should get the pole variety too and grow it alongside the blue lake pole beans I grow. We grew a purple bush bean variety one year but I was super disappointed when they turned green after cooking. 🙁
I've grown the Tigeralla tomato the last two years and it preformed really well. And is very pretty too. I received a couple of those tomatoes from a friend and then saved the seeds to give it a try.
The purple carrot is beautiful, we have so many seeds for baby carrots that I seed saved three years ago, we don't really need more carrot seeds but I'm tempted to give those beauties a try.
I'm going to grow the same veggies as last year, since I have so many seeds left, but I'm really tempted to order some of those broccoli seeds to give a try. I hope these new varieties turn out good for you!
Oh, I'm SO impressed that you save all your seeds, Shelly! Even the carrots? That is not easy. 😉 I basically do tomatoes, peppers, beans, and squashes - you know the easy ones! What broccoli have you grown? I've been happy with both Gypsy and Umpqua in the past, but wanted to see if I could do better this year after just so-so with Arcadia last year. Let's hope I'm not 'the grass is always greener' here...
Yes, I seed save almost all of my seeds. The carrots were sorta a mishap after a few carrots were left behind in the garden over the winter. I went ahead and let them bloom and then collected the seeds. I harvested enough seeds off of three blooms to last quite a while. 🙂
I've only tried to grow Waltham Broccoli before. Broccoli was a new crop I was trying and the last two years, it hasn't done well at all. I will have to try the Gypsy or Umpqua and see how they do before I give up on growing broccoli.