The Vegetable Garden

July harvest, including 'Costata Romanesca' squash, parsley, 'Maxibel' haricots verts, piracicaba broccoli, cucumber, tomatoes 'Jaune Flammee' and 'Black Trifele'
A fair amount of space in my garden is dedicated to growing edibles, both fruits and vegetables. I'm pretty new to the fruit game, but have been growing veggies organically for over 10 years. What I love about growing vegetables from seed is the ability to experiment with new things every year, and of course the delicious eating! It's also a fun and healthy activity to do with a young child. My grade schooler will roam through the garden grazing on raw veggies she would not dream of eating if they came from a refrigerator. Here are some of our favorite vegetable varieties:

Tomato 'Rutgers'

TOMATOES  (I grow tomatoes using Kozy Coats)
'Anna Russian' - early, productive, beautiful, delicious heart-shaped tomato. Very wispy foliage and a weak grower, but produces good crop of tomatoes nevertheless.
'Black Prince' - super productive, tasty, early. Smallish, not a great texture. Unlike other "black" varieties, this one does not have issues with cracking and cat-facing.
'Black Brandywine' - not a very heavy producer, but delicious smoky-flavored black tomatoes. Cracks heavily. 
'Black Krym' - absolutely loved the flavor of this one, but had too many problems with disease and cracking to justify growing it.
'Brandywine' - my favorite. Unparalleled complex flavor, huge size, excellent texture. Does not produce well in hot weather.
'Caspian Pink' - my Russian husband's favorite tomato. He says it tastes like his childhood.
'Cherokee Purple' - I grew this for many years and found it to be a healthy, reliable producer of medium-sized, purplish pink tomatoes. Basically no disease problems and very high production. However, flavor falls short compared to other cultivars I've tried, so we stopped growing it.
'Cherry Falls' - a cherry tomato I'm planting for my daughter, who likes little things
'Cosmonaut Volkov' - this tomato is much-lauded, but I found it to be just OK.
'Dr. Wyche's Yellow Beefsteak' - a huge yellow variety with excellent flavor. Like most yellows, texture is a bit soft and they go bad quickly.
'Hungarian Heart' - I loved this HUGE heart shaped tomato - dense texture and outstanding rich flavor. 
'Red Brandywine' - my favorite red tomato to date. Great flavor, productivity, earliness
'Rutgers' - this is a variety I use for canning. Flavor is good, size is uniform (medium), and plants set large quantities of fruit at once.

Pepper 'Gypsy'

'Antohi Romanian' - Eastern European paprika-style pepper, with luscious thick juicy walls and superb sweet-spicy flavor. My favorite for taste, and makes excellent pickled peppers. Also incredibly beautiful.
'Carmen' - this Italian frying type has been productive for me. Thinner walls and tight, dryish texture, very sweet flavor when red.
'Gypsy' - this semi-hot Eastern European type of sweet bell pepper is my most productive and reliable producer. The fruits are light green and very tasty when immature. They mature to orange/red, if you can wait that long. A bit hotter than a typical bell.

Mixed leaf lettuces

'Antares' (oakleaf) - trying this year
'Anuenue' (batavia) - insanely heat-tolerant lettuce
‘Green Deer Tongue’- my absolute favorite!
'Kinemontpas' (butterhead) - new this year
‘North Pole’ (cold-tolerant butterhead) - new
'Winter Density' (romaine/bibb hybrid) - new

Swiss chard 'Gator'
Chard/perpetual spinach/leaf beet ‘Gator’ - significantly better taste and texture than other chards
Collards 'Champion' - trying collards this year

Spinach 'Donkey'
Spinach 'Giant Winter' - I'll try this for overwintering 


Beet 'Cylindra'
Broccoli ‘Piracicaba’ - a non-heading broccoli
Bean 'Fortex' (pole green bean) - by far the most delicious bean I've ever eaten! I'm hooked on this bean now and prefer it to all others.
Carrot 'Mokum' - favorite for early raw snacking
Carrot 'Shin Kuroda' - my main season cooking carrot
Carrot 'Tonda di Parigi' - short stubby French cooking carrot - creamy and yummy!
Cucumber ‘Calypso’
Ground Cherry 'Aunt Molly's - my daughter loves these
Leek 'King Sieg'
Pea (snap) 'Sugarsnap'
Pea (shell/English) 'Karina' - holds longer into hot weather than other peas
Radish 'Easter Egg Mix'
Radish 'Zlata'
Scallion ‘Evergreen Hardy White’
Summer squash 'Benning's Green Tint'
Flatleaf parsley
Summer squash 'Sunburst' 

Basil ‘Genovese’
Basil ‘Thai’
Cilantro ‘Caribe'
Cutting celery 'Safir'
Dill ‘Bouquet’ 
Parsley ‘Gigante d'Italia’

 I used to have two large plots (allotments) in a community garden, where I had lots of space. I was able to grow things that took up a lot of room, like pumpkins, winter squash, melons, potatoes, leeks, cabbages, parsnips, and rutabega. I'll have to scale back now that my veggie plot is in the backyard, but it should also be easier to keep it well-tended since I can see the weeds from my window!

My old community garden plot in late spring - growing potatoes, rhubarb, greens, peppers, beans, peas, green onion, and lots of pesky self-seeded dill
 This gigantic sea of winter squash took up almost one entire 20 x 30' plot:

Winter squash and sunflowers in community garden


  1. Hello!

    I work for the American Heart Association. I’m reaching out to you today because I came across your blog and I think you’d be a great addition to our new Gardens Community (! We’re looking for knowledgeable gardeners who can jump in and share ideas and collaborate with other gardeners and teachers within our community. We hope you’ll check out our community to improve the health of children in America – let’s grow together!


  2. Gardening is my passion and profession both and love to spend the entire day in my garden, exploring new things about organic gardening and innovating new ideas and further improving it.

    I really loved reading the above given stuff! Keep sharing! I would surely look forward!


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