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I have only been growing veggies for about 3 years. Mostly tomatoes at first, and then some zucchini. Not hard stuff to grow. I always just went to a local garden store and picked what ever looked interesting - did not think about names too much. I have a small veggie garden (about 6x12) and don't need more than 1 or 2 plants of each kind.
Now I am trying to do some research first and pick some recommended varieties and expand my plantings. So here is my proposed list for this year. Maybe some yellow squash too. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments.
I'm not going to be much help as I'm in 9a and this year is my first real garden as a grown up *grin*. But I've found many vegetable ratings on this site that have helped as well as this forum. http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/index.php
Hi crazydiamond! I now have a very small space in which to garden, I do flowers mostly, but I can't imagine a summer without tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. I am going to be growin peppers, mostly as ornamentals tho...the dilemma I am having is that cucumbers and squash are really going to spread. Alot! Since I can't live without the cukes, I'm going to try to train them to a trellis this year to try to keep them of the lawn(it looks terrible when the grass grows up through and around the vines) I've seen squash grown this way too. I'm even going to try cukes in a container. I've grown the 'Fanfare' , and was very happy with the taste. I am growing 'Cucumber Diva' a burpless. I love cukes but they don't like me. I have reserved the tomatoes a space. One nice thing about keeping your fruits off the ground is less pests and rot. (so I,ve been told). Well, good luck! I must go, now that you've made me hungry!
Actually last year I tired peppers for the first time and cucumbers. I put the pepper in a cage, and the tomatoes in a cage, but not the cucumbers. I figured the cucumbers are ground lovers - nope those crazy cucumbers crew into (and up) the cages of the tomatoes and peppers.
So this year the cucumbers get their own cage !
My favorite summer snack is thick cucumber slices and a Guacamole dip. Healthy alternate to corn chips.
Problem with peppers I see is that they grow very late in my cool area and they are finally ripening as the fall is coming. I am trying to find the earliest sweet peppers I can find. I don't seed - but buy the biggest pepper plants I can find at the stores. However, I am trying to find super early growers. I wonder if I might have to set up a growing station in my basement to produce larger plants.
Just a quickie to say that I grew Celebrity tomatoes for years and they were excellent. Not early, but once they started they produced heavily into the fall, good medium size, no cracking or rot, ripened evenly, sturdy, disease-free plants, great flavour and terrific canners.
As lexiekinz's suggested the Cornell site gives numerical ratings to a lot of cultivars, It will help you decide what is popular. I would also suggest that you browse Plantfiles, and read the grower comments on cultivars marked with a green star.
I'm trying 'Brandywine' tomatoes this year, too. The catalogs all said they're the best tasting around. I'm also growing 'Ladybug' cherry tomatoes, also purported to have won taste tests, and 'Sweet Pea' red currant tomatoes, which are smaller than grape tomatoes but (again the catalog says) full of real tomato taste. One of the currant tomatoes already has a blossom on it, which -- you know -- is thrilling.
I bought an 'Aristocrat' zucchini at the hardware store this weekend, my first zucchini ever, and will be interested in comparing notes with you. A book on companion planting recommended surrounding the zucchini plant with radish seeds, so mine is duly bracketed.
I also have lettuce 'Four Seasons', an heirloom butterhead; mesclun; snow peas that the birds keep snipping off so I only got my first bloom this weekend; broccoli 'Green Comet' and brussels sprouts 'Jade Cross' (another heirloom), surrounded by marigolds; and some seriously pathetic seedlings of leeks, bok choi, and husk cherries. All that plus dill, more marigolds, nasturtiums, and bachelor buttons "just for nice" in a 4x8' raised bed. The mesclun and lettuce have been fabulous. The book that recommended radishes for the zucchini and marigolds for the brassicas also recommended white clover for a living mulch, so I sowed the whole bed with it this weekend. I always have that on hand for bare spots in the yard. I'm also growing potatoes in large pots, and they look wonderful so far.