Mary Washington Asparagus is a favorite of mine and not just because because I planted it a few years ago and now I can pick it every Spring while other annuals are still asleep in their seed packs. Its also delicious and the uncut, ferny stalks make a pretty texture in the landscape.
Golden Wax bush beans are all-around good. Their toothy crunch and sweet flavor makes them winners on the table, in the freezer, as pickles and even shell beans to dry. Some people just like growing them because plants are fast-growing, and the beans are easy to pick and prepare for a simple Summer supper.
When youre short on garden space, look up. Thats where Purple Podded pole beans will thrive as long as conditions are right: a secure support system, full sun, warm weather, and frequent harvests. Sounds complicated but really, pole beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow and their leafy vines with pink blossoms make an attractive backdrop.
Scarlet runner beans are often thought of as flowering vines favored by hummingbirds, but their bright green pods have good flavor and are best when picked young and often. The scarlet flowers are also edible and pretty as a garnish.
Early Wonder beet greens will quickly create an 18-inch canopy, keeping the soil shaded and moist below. I think thats why they can produce sweet baby beets so fast. Whatever size you need or prefer, expect Early Wonders to be delicious.
Golden beets are known as the child-friendly, easy to clean up, and extra-super-nutritious version of a humble root. But they are so much more: tender, sweet, and mellow; the color of a Summer sunset; luxurious pickled or in salads, steamed or roasted. And, golden beets have golden greens that are lavish in their own right.
Perfection Savoy cabbage is one my favorites so I start them indoors in Spring and then in mid-summer for an October harvest. Savoy's color and texture can be used to good effect in the landscape, too. And, when sliced into half-inch ribbons and lightly steamed, it makes a special "pasta" which holds an alfredo sauce in its crinkles. You heard it here first!
Celery is always welcome in my garden and kitchen now that I know its a super anti-inflammatory food, and that its not as fussy as they sometimes claim it to be. True, it does best when transplants can grow over three months of cool weather, between 55 and 75F. So be sure to plant seeds indoors 10 weeks before your usual last frost date.
National Pickling cucumbers like warm temperatures for germination and growth, but while the weather is cool you can prepare the soil by adding compost and a balanced natural fertilizer. Vines may reach 4 feet in length, and produce best when theyre allowed to ramble on the ground but, where space is limited provide a trellis.
Cucumbers like warm temperatures for germination and growth, but while the weather is cool you can prepare for maximum production by adding compost and a balanced natural fertilizer to the soil. Vines can reach 6 feet in length and produce best when theyre allowed to ramble on the ground, but where space is limited, provide a 4 foot trellis.
If youre reading this you may already know the pleasures of ratatouille, p parmesan, and the many other ways to stuff, bake, grill, or stir-fry the versatile eggplant. Black Beauty eggplant is a delicious and large, deep-purple variety that is quite productive at the end of a long season.
Broadleaf escarole is often added to minestrone and stews, served fresh with a warm sweet and sour dressing, or braised with white beans. When cooked it is mild-flavored and soft but not mushy. Fresh, it has a sweet taste and is a little crunchier than your average head of lettuce.
Red Russian kale is nearly a year-round star in the edible landscape, with deep green, ruffled leaves and purple stalks reaching 3 feet high. Use tender young leaves for spring salads and garnish; then steam, saute or roast larger leaves for best flavor and nutrition.
Heshiko bunching onions make it easy to have the mild-but-pungent flavor of onions throughout the growing season. Although considered perennialsthey wont form a bulbthey act more like annuals which may overwinter and self-sow.
Parsnips can be a bit of a party-trick: when soils have thawed, pull aside the thick layer of mulch to unearth tender, sweetened roots which matured the previous Fall. Or, just grow and harvest them in the same year. Tasty either way and only slightly fussy. Fresh seed is a must.
Sugar snap peas, lettuce, radishesthese are the first signs of spring in many gardens. There is a tradition of planting peas by St Patricks Day or when soil temperature is 45F, but theres no need to rush it. Sown when soil is 60F, peas will germinate quickly, and can vigorously out-pace those earlier, colder, plantings.
California Wonders are here to remind us that a sweet, ripe, red bell pepper is really a fruit. Sliced fresh, it will stand up beautifully to dips, and at 3 to 4 inches across, is big and firm enough for stuffing or grilling.
Early Jalapenos have the same heat and flavor of their relativesa mild 2,500 Scoville units when dark green and as hot as 8,000 units when red and fully ripebut will grow faster and with better yields in cool temperatures. If harvested regularly, these sturdy 18-inch plants can produce loads of 3-inch peppers right up to the first frost.
Sugar Pie pumpkin: this very popular and easy-to-grow squash is prolific and dependable. Three or four fine-grained fruit, ranging between three and seven pounds, grow on each vine. They are considered by most to be the best choice for smooth, rich pumpkin soups, breads and desserts.
Want crisp, delicious radishes? Plant Cherry Belles while the soil is cool, harvest while theyre no bigger than an inch across, and eat right away. Radish roots and leaves are a low-calorie source of antioxidants and vitamin C. In the garden, radish leaves attract pollinators and will deter several insect pests.