Here Are The Best Organic Vegetable Seeds!
You Asked For it! Now, You Got It!
What you see before you is a very comprehensive compilation of the best organic vegetable seeds that moi, Jim, the Lifelong Gardener, swears by when he gardens year after year – after year – after year – and so on – into eternity!
There’ll be a brief description of my “most favored” seeds, along with a few tidbits and thoughts about how much better they are than some of the other brands out there. In other words, I’m gonna assess the best seeds out there – that I know you will like and want to try out to enhance the “produce” that you produce in your backyard garden.
All of my seed choices are top picks for:
- Having the best flavor.
- Disease and pest resistance.
- High germination rates.
- Being the easiest to grow.
- Heat or cold resistance.
Okay – So, Let’s Get On With It Then…
Browse this list to your heart’s content – or, click on any of the veggies in this table to go straight to the vegetable seed review of your choice.
When you peruse any of the “how to grow” articles on these different veggies, there will, most likely, be a link to get you back to the exact spot to see the analysis – on this page – of that specific and wondrously tasty garden edible that you are so interested in!
Put ‘em in your plot and you’ll be profusely pleased! Say that 5 times without stuttering!
In other words –here are “The Chosen Ones…”
I love this spicy, leafy green veggie! And, you will, too!
Rocket – The young, tender leaves are smooth with a very full-bodied and peppery flavor. If the leaves are mature, cook them along with other leafy greens to mellow them out because, they may be getting a little bitter. For the best taste, pick these fresh when the meal is only minutes away.
Selvatica – A slightly wild form of arugula – very tangy. Selvatica has some good heat tolerance so, I recommend this variety for hotter, more humid hardiness zones – 7 and higher.
General – A tangy variety direct from Italy – both flavorful and heat tolerant. This one offers some high yields in some pretty small growing areas. The leaves will get pretty big.
The “Best Of The Best” Varieties
These asparagus varieties mature in 730 days! That is two years, folks! And, the first crop…after two years of patient, loving care, will be very light. However, subsequent crops, starting with the third year, will be fairly normal from then on…and you will be applauding your patience and the ability to enjoy your home-grown delectable spears!
My picks include:
Jersey Knight – Disease resistant and capable of growing in most any type of soil, including clay soil.
Jersey Giant – Disease resistant for fusarium wilt, crown rot and rust. Produces high yields with extra-large spears.
Jersey Supreme – Large, thick, tasty spears preferred by many avid asparagus growers.
Mary Washington – Juicy spears and the plants remain attractive even after harvesting.
These are the beets I love. And, I guarantee you – they can’t be beat!
Leading the pack is:
Early Wonder – Hard to “beet”, the sweetness is not only in the taproot but also in the leaves. So, eat the whole darn thing! These red beets can be frozen – and, once thawed, you will find that they have held their flavor well. Matures in 55 to 60 days. Early Wonder seeds are available loose – and also on a seed tape – spaced about 2 inches apart. Just lay the seed tape in the furrow and cover with dirt – a no-brainer.
Coming in a close second are:
Detroit Dark Red Medium Top – These sweet, fleshy, dark red orbs are un-beet-able! Pick them when they are immature for the sweetest possible taste – this will also speed up the growth of the other beet plants. They’ll be ready for you in 59 days – from seed to serving on the plate!
Merlin – I’ve been asked, “What is the sweetest beet I’ve ever grown?” My answer? This one! For a red beet, in the vegetable category, Merlin has the highest sugar content. Great in salads – or as a side dish for meat and fish – this variety is also very resistant to leaf spot fungus. They also have the shortest growth cycle – ready for you in 48 days.
Golden – A sweet beet with a somewhat milder flavor, this golden yellow sphere is not only gorgeous it won’t leave a telltale stain on your hands during preparation – like the red beets will. In just 55 days, you can find that out for yourself.
I have listed four varieties that are particularly tasteful:
Marathon Hybrid (97 days to maturity) – They are heat tolerant but, will keep growing in cooler temperatures. This is a good fall planting variety.
Packman Hybrid (50 days to maturity) – Packman Hybrids have large, solid heads with tight buds. Heads are very tender with a mild flavor.
Patriot (72 days to maturity) – This variety produces good yields and is a great choice for home gardeners. Most of these seeds have a resistance to Downy Mildew.
Premium Crop (55 days to maturity) – These will yield bright blue-green heads with small buds and will produce many side shoots after the main harvest.
Apollo Hybrid – Soft, tender texture with the whole plant having a sweet, nutty flavor.
Atlantic – Plant them in the spring, summer, or fall. A cool weather plant, with supple florets and leaves, that is also more heat tolerant than broccoli.
Varieties I Enjoy…
Catskill: Catskill seeds, available in packs of 100 heirloom seeds, grow up to be deep green, large sprouts that reach 2 inches wide in about 110 days. They grow on sturdy, strapping, stalks. They are great for freezing or fresh consumption.
Octavia Hybrid: With very compacted dark green leaves, these one inch balls of joy – spawned from a 125 seed packet of Octavia Hybrid seeds are truly a mouth-watering delicacy. Quick from transplant to harvest in less than 80 days.
Oven Roaster: Just as their name suggests, Oven Roaster seeds will produce Brussels sprouts just made to be roasted. And, they are delectable steamed as well. A short 90 days is all that it takes for you to find out how good they really are!
Favorite cabbages for me are:
Early Jersey Wakefield – the American grandchild of the English version – Early Wakefield. It has an amazing flavor – when consumed raw in salads, made into cole slaw, pickled, or cooked in any number of ways. These head cabbages average 3 pounds each.
Brunswick – a German heirloom cabbage with a ton of flavor. The heads can get up to 8 or 9 pounds and are commonly used to make homemade sauerkraut.
White Choi – an early-to-harvest Asian cabbage – baby leaves can be picked in 30 days – full size heads in 60 days – with spoon shaped leaves and thick white stalks. The flavor is a cross between “cabbage light” and spinach. These delectable cabbages are ordinarily used in soups, sautés, and stir fries.
Toy Choi – a dwarf version of White Choi.
Touchon Carrots: This old French Nantes carrot matures quickly, 65 days, and, at around 6 inches long and an inch thick, is the best for eating raw since it does not have very hard fiber.
Nantes Half Long Carrots: These carrots are slimmer, cylindrical orange roots about 7 inches long and an inch and a half thick when they reach maturity at 70 days. They are great for ingredients in food preparations.
Some cauliflower varieties I sow from plants – and, some I plant from seeds.
Attribute Hybrid Cauliflower – These plants come in groups of 6. The flavor is a delicate, nutty, and buttery. They have good heat tolerance and are easily grown in the garden and in containers. 62 days to maturity gives you heads that are about 7 inches in diameter.
White Corona Hybrid Cauliflower – Very tasty and fast growing plants – also received in groups of 6. These plants will grow so fast, they are ready to harvest before the pests even know they are in the garden! Great for roasting, grilling, or sautéed in a skillet. About 33 days to maturity and you get 5 inch diameter heads.
Snowball Self-Blanching Cauliflower – An heirloom version with heads that can grow up to 8 inches. As the weather turns cold, the leaves curl up and wrap the head. Estimated 75 days to maturity.
Early White Hybrid Cauliflower – Big, round, white 9 inch heads. Magnificent for freezing – loves cool weather – and holds its flavor in the refrigerator. 52 days to maturity.
Snowball Y Organic Cauliflower – Very dense and flavor intensive – with its 6 inch heads weighing in at almost 5 pounds. This variety was developed in France and is an enhanced high quality cauliflower. 80 days to maturity.
Healthy Blend Cauliflower – These seeds are a colorful mix of cauliflowers – making a salad look extra special. The colors will turn green when this cauliflower is cooked. 60 days to maturity and the heads can get up to 10 inches wide!
This ugly, softball sized veggie can be eaten raw – thin sliced and added to a salad – or, cooked in soups and casseroles – or, used as a garnish – and more.
Try adding some when making mashed potatoes for an added celery-like flavor. Celeriac fries are also a great alternative to the traditional French fries.
The best seed sources have been – and still are:
Frozen Seed Capsules – Their offerings include several varieties – the best of which are Brilliant and Giant Prague. All seeds are shipped in an air and water tight glass vial containing both organic cotton and silica beads to absorb moisture.
Mountain Valley Seeds – Their Giant Prague celeriac seeds have great reviews. These are open pollinated, heirloom seeds – which means when the plants bolt and flower, the seeds produced can be gathered and used in the next gardening season. Their packet weighs 4 ounces – and Mountain Valley says that their estimated seed count is over 60,000 seeds per ounce.
PlenTree – They see celeriac as a one-of-a-kind root veggie that is beautiful – in its own right. And, their celeriac seeds have germination rates that exceed many of their competitors.
Here are some excellent varieties…
Tango Hybrid Celery – Outstanding flavor, high yield, tender stalks, super crunchy, sweet. Need I say more? Okay. Withstands minor temperature changes and has a high resistance to Fusarium Wilt, a soil fungi. 85 days to maturity.
Chinese Celery – Great for stir frying – light green stalks have a strong celery smell and taste.
Tall Utah 52-70 Celery – A foot long, well developed, dark green stalks with a strong root system.
Golden Pascal Celery – Yellowish green, tender stalks with great flavor that can get up to 20 inches long – with no strings attached!
The last two are heirloom seeds – which makes them a very good deal!
I like to eat collards raw in a salad, along with a variety of other greens such as spinach and kale – to name a few. I add some chopped onions – some sliced tomatoes – and top it off with croutons and grated cheese. Then, I slather it with my “daily druthers” of different salad dressings – which changes depending upon the cravings of my taste buds.
When I cook collard greens, I throw in some type of smoked meat, some onions, a little garlic and simmer for an hour or two. In the meantime, I bake a loaf of cornbread – nothing like it for sopping up the collard juice.
Burpee is my “go to” source for collard seeds.
Tiger Hybrid Collard Seeds – These are a southern favorite here, in the U.S.A. These plants produce thick, bluish green leaves that are haphazardly wrinkled. Large leaves are ready for pickin’ in less than 2 months.
Georgia Collard Seeds – These seeds can effectively deal with a light winter frost – and, the frost will improve the flavor of the leaves believe it or not. These leaves will get up to a foot and a half long.
Senposai Hybrid Collard Seeds – This is an Asian offshoot of collard greens. The plants are a combination of cabbage and komatsuna (an Asian mustard green). The leaves are not as bitter as the Tiger and Georgia varieties. Actually, they are mildly sweet. Senposai Hybrids are more heat tolerant – which gives them more resistance to bolting in the hot summer months.
My favorite and sweetest (And, I mean super sweet!) sweet corn varieties:
Northern Xtra-Sweet Hybrid Corn – This is a supersweet (sh2) 9 inch ear grown on plants that will get about 5 feet high. It just melts in your mouth. I don’t even need to put butter on these ears – just a bit of salt.
Illini Xtra-Sweet Sweet Corn – There is nothing better than chewing on an ear of Illini supersweet (sh2) corn. These 8 inch ears are actually a bit sweeter than the Northern Xtra-Sweet Hybrid variety.
NOTE: Corn is a really ravenous plant. For a successful, mouth watering crop, be prepared to add some fertilizer every few weeks especially, after the tassels form.
Most cucumbers are ready for harvest in less than 60 days. Once they get growin’ they stretch out and spread like gangbusters!
These cukes are best in salads – or with dips – or just eaten raw right off the vine. But, they do not pickle well due to their thin skin. I guess I must pickle pretty well – because, my skin is pretty thick!
Salad Bush – These big ole 8 inch slicers are on very short plants. Perfect for the garden and for containers. Expect to pick some good ones in less than 8 weeks.
Spacemaster – Another compact cuke that could be grown in a container or even in a hanging basket. Dark green fruits are at home in any salad or just eating off the vine. High resistance to scab and cucumber mosaic virus.Full Description
Straight Eight – Superb flavor in this 8 inch lovely megastar. Loves to grow on a fence or trellis. The Straight 8 has a full flavored cucumber taste.
Sweet Success – You’ll never find a cuke sweeter than this one! These babies are a foot long and burpless. Great resistance to a number of cucumber viruses, as well as scab and leaf spot.
Bush Champion – This plants puts out a lot of cucumbers – and, they are anywhere from 8 inches to a foot long! Crisp, large cukes on midget sized plants. Very easy to grow!
Now, these cucumbers are great for making dill pickles – or sweet pickles. However, I, personally, enjoy eating the pickler varieties listed here raw – right out of the garden – just like my slicers!
Picklebush – This cucumber has the classic pickle look – dark green with paler green striping. These are absolutely perfect for making homemade pickles – dill – or sweet. I slice my dill pickles as a side or topping for burgers and hot dogs. And, I turn my sweet pickles into a tasty relish.
Pick-A-Bushel – This is a semi-bush cuke. Burpee says you’ll get between a dozen or two per plant – but, I’ve gotten almost twice that much the last couple of years. It’s like they come non-stop! But, you have to be consistent with fertilizing them correctly. See How to Grow Cucumbers for all the details. These hybrids have great resistance to cucumber mosaic virus and scab.
The only varieties I grow are:
Midori Giant – This is the biggest soybean available for us home gardeners.
Chiba Green – The most flavorful edamame to be had on this planet!
Black Beauty – With 74 days to maturity, this egg-shaped variety has been around for over 115 years and is commonly found in most supermarkets.
Patio Baby – This is a dwarf egg-shaped eggplant that is ideal for container gardens. It matures in 45 days and staking is not necessary.
Long Purple Organic – This is an elongated Italian eggplant with a dark purple coloring, maturing in 70 to 80 days.
Early Midnight – Called the “renaissance eggplant”, this egg-shaped, dark-skinned plant is nearly seedless. And, it is ready to harvest in 55 days.
Millionaire Hybrid – A smooth, elongated Japanese-type eggplant ready to pick in 55 days. This one is as easy to grow as peppers and loves hot weather. Growing Japanese eggplant is just as easy as growing other varieties.
Music – A very hardy garlic with rich, full aromatic flavor…very popular among home gardeners. Averaging 6 cloves per bulb.
Spanish Roja – Used in many fine restaurants due to its rich garlic flavor and their cloves are very easy to peel. About 11 cloves per bulb. Home gardeners sometimes refer to this as Greek garlic.
Chesnok Red – The most common home gardener variety in the U.S.A. Mild flavor, off white with a hint of purple, you’ll get 8 to 10 cloves per head.
German Red – Zesty and full-bodied flavor made especially for cold winters. German Reds have easy to peel cloves, and uniform bulbs with a purplish brown skin – and, there are about 14 cloves per bulb.
Fresh California – This garlic averages 8 cloves per bulb and are great for an early season harvest. One the common varieties in the U.S.A. due to ease of growing, mild flavor, and great storage characteristics.
Elephant Garlic – Humongous bulbs weighing almost half a pound each. These bulbs have a milder, sweeter flavor than traditional garlic and the flavor is much like a leek. Extra large cloves are a breeze to peel and are a welcome raw addition to any salad or cooked in various ways as a vegetable. The scapes and leaves are also great garnishes for many dishes. Usually 4 or 5 cloves per bulb.
Compact and built for container gardening, bush beans have an average footprint about 2 feet wide – growing not much more than 3 feet high – so, no stakes or trellises needed.
I like these bush types:
Kentucky Wonder (Bush) – Every gardener worth his salt knows about Kentucky Wonder pole beans but, there are only a few who know that they also come in a bush bean size. Container friendly, these 6 to 8 inch pods are tender, flavorful, and stringless. Plus you will have so many on the vine, you’ll think they’re coming out of your ears!
Blue Lake 274 – This is an heirloom variety producing tasty, small, crisp bean pods. They are both canner and freezer friendly. I actually eat these raw – oh, maybe I might slightly blanch them for 30 seconds or so – but, that’s all.
Roma II – You’ll start seeing beans to harvest in just a couple of weeks after the flowers start popping out. Roma II’s are a beautiful, bright emerald green.
These beans grow as high as you let them so, a good trellis or fence is what they need to stretch out.
Some great varieties are:
Kentucky Wonder – Heirlooms with outstanding flavor in pods over a half foot long. Pick young pods since they are stringless because, as they mature, they can get some pretty tough strings on them. These pole beans will grow like there is no tomorrow.
Blue Lake – Favored by west coast farmers, this variety was first discovered in the upper Missouri River basin growing wild in Native American gardens – normally in a Three Sisters configuration.
Kentucky Blue – These are sweet and stringless pods over half a foot long. They are basically a combination of Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake beans. Rapid – almost never ending – growth is a characteristic that attracts many gardeners to grow them. You’ll be getting them all the way into the first frost of the fall.
Kitchen King – Short 4 to 5 inch dark green pods grow on short, stout plants. Slow to get started in the spring – but, when they take hold, they are like the energizer bunny – they keep going – and going – and going…
Half-runners are a hybrid of bush and pole beans – growing to about the same size as bush beans.
Here are some good ones:
Volunteer – An exceptional and rust resistant offshoot of White House Half Runner Beans. Designed for early harvest of 4 inch pods.
White – Early and, almost excessive crop of 4 to 5 inch pods produced – each one with a slightly sweet flavor.
Mountaineer White – These half runners yield light green, 4 inch pods that are a little stringy – but, the strings soften during cooking to where you don’t even know it. A fast growing plant once it roots well.
Dwarf Blue Curled Vates – small tightly compacted plants, bluish green leaves, and great resistance to frost. Tasty raw or cooked. 55 days to maturity.
Prizm Hybrid – stalks are almost free of stems, very flavorful, closely packed deep green leaves. Harvest young leaves for a sweeter taste whether eating them raw or cooked. 60 days to maturity.
Red Winter Organic – dark green oak shaped leaves, reddish purple veins, tender and soft. 50 days to maturity.
Lacinato – otherwise known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale, this is an heirloom from Italy that’s been around for over 300 years. TIP: The leaves are sweeter when harvested after the first frost. 80 days to maturity.
Red Russian – an heirloom with grayish green leaves that turn purple in colder weather. It is so colorful, it can be mistaken for ornamental kale. Many gardeners plant this kale in their flower bed.
Scarlet – dark red leaves which means it has a high concentration of anthocyanin – an antioxidant that has been used to treat high blood pressure, colds, and urinary tract infections. Grab young leaves for salads, stir fries, and soups – or, wait for the older, more mature leaves to use for burrito wraps and gastronomically sensational dishes. 80 days to maturity.
Here are the 3 seed varieties available for the home gardener. Florets get to be about 2 inches across. Seed packets hold approximately 10 seeds per each.
Autumn Star Hybrid kalettes – The Autumn Star Hybrid is bred for early season harvest and reach maturity in about 110 days.
Mistletoe Hybrid kalettes – The Mistletoe Hybrid is the best choice for a mid season harvest – maturing in 124 days – give or take a few days.
Snowdrop Hybrid kalettes – These Snowdrop Hybrid kalettes are a top pick for a late season harvest taking 138 days to mature.
In all cases, leaves can actually be picked anytime. It is best to start with the lower leaves and work up the stalk – just like picking Brussels sprouts.
Since kalettes grow on a Brussels sprout stalk, planting and maintenance is very similar.
Konan Hybrid – These are very tender and tasty – even when they reach full size at maturity. The bulbs can get up to 6 inches in diameter. They have a sweet and mild flavor both raw and cooked. The seeds come in a 50 seed packet.
Early White Vienna Heirloom – Stonysoil Seed Company offers a hand-packed packet of 100 seeds. They have a very high germination rate percentage and have a classical slightly sweet and gentle flavor.
My go-to source for purple kohlrabi remains:
Purple Vienna – These plants, developed from Burpee seeds, get about a foot and a half tall. They have a mild flavor. And, with a short growth cycle, they can be planted twice a year – once in early Spring for a Summer harvest – and in the Summer for a Fall harvest.
I love, love, love this lettuce!
Most varieties with heads take longer to grow and mature.
If you’re looking for some great heat and cold tolerant lettuce, try Burpee’s Oak Leaf Lettuce. The leaves have a very mild flavor without that telltale bitterness that some lettuce varieties have.
Spicy Mix – Combines equal quantities of seeds for arugula, endive, radicchio, mustard, and red loose leaf lettuce. Even though this mesclun mix is very tangy and spicy, I still add a few drops of Tabasco to it. It sets my mouth on fire and I love it!
Sweet Salad Mix – Tender, mildly flavored, colorful greens with a wide range of seeds for red colors – Ruby lettuce, Bull’s Blood beet) – and bright green colors – Simpson lettuce, Tendergreen mustard, and Bloomsdale spinach.
Classic Mix (Organic) – This really is a classic mix with some sweet lettuce and some tangy greens. You’ll have arugula, chervil, endive, mâche, and 4 different lettuces – Oak Leaf, Prizeleaf, Green Ice, and Red Salad Bowl. To top it off, there is also radicchio and upland cress – a real hodge podge of beauty and flavor!
Provencal Mix – This mix gets its name from the Provence region in southeastern France. It combines seeds for chervil, arugula, endive, and tender leaf lettuce. This mix is customarily served in the finest restaurants in southern France.
My 4 favorite varieties of okra are:
Baby Bubba Hybrid – 3 to 4 feet tall, 2-3 inch pods, 53 days to maturity. I grew this one last year. Pumps out pods like it’s goin’ out of style!
Clemson Spineless Okra – 3 to 4 feet tall, 2-3 inch pods, 56 days to maturity. I am growing this one now. These are dark green “groovy” pods with no spines. This popular okra has the most favorable taste when the pods are about 3 inches long.
Burgundy – A red burgundy okra that turns a beautiful deep purple when cooked.
Cajun Delight – These are my favorites. They are especially tender and I’m pickin’ them daily – every day – until a cold frost comes along.
My onion selections are separated into short-day, intermediate-day, and long-day onions. The most popular varieties are shown for each category.
These onions work best in plant hardiness zone 7 and above…for gardeners in the southern states.
Texas Supersweet – Maturing in about 90 days, these yellow-skin onions get as big as softballs…from 4 to 6 inches.
Cippolini White – These sweet, white beauties will take much longer to mature…120 to 150 days…but, they are well worth the effort. Roast and caramelize them once they reach anywhere from 1 to 3 inches wide to release their full sweetness and flavor.
Plant these onions in zones 5 and 6. These are best for gardeners in the middle states. However, intermediate-day (day-neutral) onions will form bulbs in any zone which makes them suitable for northern and southern gardeners as well.
Candy Hybrid – These onions are very mild and sweet, producing fewer tears when slicing. They grow from 4 to 6 inches wide and mature in about 90 days.
Red Candy – Red Candy onions are gorgeous. With their deep red color, and amazing sweetness, they are ready for any salad or cooking recipe. These onions will also grow 4 to 6 inches and they mature in roughly 95 days.
Long-day onions are most suited for home gardening devotees in the northern U.S.
Big Daddy – This is a very flavorful Spanish type yellow onion with long storage capabilities if kept cool and dry. Also called Cannon Ball, they take 110 days to mature and grow up to 5 inches in width.
Walla Walla Sweet – Walla Walla Sweet is a great mild choice for northern gardens. This is the closest you can get to the infamous Vidalia onions grown in Georgia. Maturity takes 90 days and they grow from 4 to 6 inches wide.
These favorites of mine are very a-pea’-ling. And, I’m not lying so, you can’t call me pea-no’-kee-o!
Super Sugar Snap; Produces thick, full-sized pods with super-sweet peas. 64 days to maturity. Average height = 5 to 6 feet.
Easy Peasy; High yielding with about 10 peas per pod and 2 pods per node. 60-65 days to maturity. Average height = 30 inches.
Blue Bantam Heirloom – Burpee has been marketing this famous variety of peas for over 115 years! You will get bushels and bushels of 4 inch bluish green pods with about 8 peas in each of them.
Purple Podded – These special peas, with their unique deep purple pods are not only highly flavorful, they add a touch of elegance, grace, and splendor with their sweet smelling purplish pink flowers.
California Wonder – It’s been 90 years since this bell pepper was developed and it’s still the largest heirloom bell pepper that a home gardener can produce. I love these for making stuffed peppers! They get 4 inches wide – a lot of space to stuff in my meat filling!
Gypsy Hybrid – This is a perfect pepper for frying – in sautés, stir fries, or any other way you can think of. These 5 inch long peppers can ward off the evil Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
Caribbean Red (Habeñero) – You like hot? I’ll give you hot! This Habeñero pepper will force you to drink milk or eat some plain yogurt to get rid of the burning sting in your throat – because, no amount of cold water – or cold beer – will put out the fire!
Big Guy (Jalapeño) – At an inch thick and 5 inches long, this is a monster-sized Jalapeño pepper – perfect for pickling or an addition to some zesty salsa.
Big Thai Hybrid – Some folks think that these are only “medium hot” – but, I’m here to tell you to use caution! To avoid burning your skin with pepper juice, I strongly suggest you wear rubber gloves when cleaning these dark red sticks of death. You get 5 inch fruits on a 2.5 foot plant and they mature before you know it. You’ll find these peppers used in a lot of Thai and Chinese dishes. Can you say, “Kung Pao Chicken?”
Banana Supreme – Talk about a pepper plant on steroids – you won’t believe how many banana peppers you’ll get off this plant.
Pepperoncini Italian – Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Well, these were most likely the pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked. Right off the plant, these half foot long, light green, slightly wrinkly peppers are the perfect pickler. If you wait a little longer, they will turn red – if that is your preferred pickling color.
Cherry Belle – Very flavorful 1” diameter red radish with white flesh. 22 days to maturity. Seed tape available.
Rover Hybrid – Red skin with white interior. These radishes are very heat resistant maintaining their crisp, juicy flavor throughout the summer. 21 days to maturity. Seed tape available.
Early Scarlet Globe – A popular variety for home gardeners. High yields, bright red exterior with mild white flesh. 28 days to maturity.
Victoria rhubarb is without a doubt the sweetest, the most tender, and the easiest to cook. Isla’s Garden Seeds is the place to go for high quality Victoria Rhubarb Seeds with high germination rates.
Crimson Red Rhubarb is much easier to grow when started as plants – as provided by Growers Solution. The stalks will get up to 3 foot tall with proper “rhubarb forcing” in their third year of growth. Crowns and roots are best planted a couple inches deep with 3 to 4 foot between plantings.
My favorite sunflowers to grow are Burpee’s Mammoth Russian and Hill Creek Seeds’ Grey Strip Mammoth. Both of these have huge heads and can grow up to 12 foot tall! And, they have the most delectable seeds.
There are determinate and indeterminate varieties. Each of them has its own special qualities. Read on and find out…
Known by their namesake, bush tomatoes, determinates will grow up to 5 feet tall. When the fruit starts to set on the plant, the plant’s growth will slow and stop. All the tomatoes ripen almost simultaneously. In just few weeks, all the tomatoes will be picked and the plant will die. Determinate tomatoes are made for growing in container pots but, they really love my great big garden area much better.
Roma Organic – This is an especially meaty little tomato – great for making homemade spaghetti sauce and salsa. It’s pretty resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt diseases.
Marglobe – A very round tomato great for canning. This is an heirloom tomato that puts up a good wall against the wilt diseases. Tomatoes average about 6 ounces.
Principe Borghese – An heirloom grape tomato originally from Tuscany, that holds its flavor well for freeze drying and dehydrating. Makes impressive tomato paste.
Celebrity Hybrid – An American favorite tomato with outstanding flavor and disease resistance. These plants produce a ton of tomatoes that average 7 ounces or more – so, get the canners ready when it comes harvest time!
Baby Boomer Hybrid (red cherry tomato) – Park a few of these plants in containers on your patio and watch them invade your space with color and flavor. Hundreds and hundreds of these sweet little babies are forthcoming on each and every plant.
These vine tomatoes will keep on growing and making juicy ‘mators til the first winter’s freeze kills the plant. I’ve had indeterminate tomatoes grow to over 10 feet height.
Supersteak Hybrid – These are gigantic beefsteak tomatoes. I love a big thick slice of this variety on a hamburger bun to top off a great sandwich! Most of these tomatoes will easily tip the scales at 2 pounds each!
Steak Sandwich Hybrid – These tomatoes are so flavorful and juicy that your mouth will ache from the goodness! Remember that feeling – how your mouth kind of got a dull pain in the corners when you bit into something extraordinarily delicious? This 10 ounce tomato will do that for you!
Better Boy Hybrid – A 1 pound tomato – bright red – and ever producing – right into early winter frost. This plant seems to produce extra greenery which helps protect the fruits from getting too sun burned. Excellent disease resistance.
Big Boy Hybrid – This ‘mator has been billed as the “greatest tomato of all time” – and, I truly believe it! Feast your eyes on beautiful deep red, up to 1 pound fruit that smells as good as it tastes.
Red Currant (red cherry tomato) – These are teeny tiny half inch wide cherry tomatoes with a sweetly tart flavor, firm skin, and juicy innards. You’ll have clusters of these midgets comin’ out of your ears! I love them in salads – or, just keeping a bowl handing to pop in my mouth with a little salt.
Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (red cherry tomato) – The sweetest red cherry tomato you will ever bit into. Scarlet red tiny globes of deliciousness! You’ll swear that someone sprinkled sugar on them!
Honey Delight Hybrid (yellow cherry tomato) – At 4 ounces each, these yellow cherry tomatoes are almost half the size of a regular-sized tomato. These “cocktail style” tomatoes average 2 inches wide and they will awaken your garden and your tongue at the same time!
Yellow Currant (yellow cherry tomato) – When these half inch fruits start to ripen, you won’t be able to pick them off the vine fast enough. It’s like – if you pick every ripe Yellow Currant in the morning – there will be more to pick later in the afternoon. It’s phenomenal! I keep these for salads, along with some red cherry tomatoes – and also in a bowl close to a salt shaker. Yum!
My favorites are not necessarily in order of preference. Because, I cannot truly decide which one I like the best. I guess I’m just a diehard watermelon wrangler!
Orange Tendersweet – A 35 pound melon with bright orange flesh, tender and very sweet, oblong striped fruits. 90 days to maturity.
Bush Sugar Baby – 12 pounders maturing in 80 days. Delicious, sweet red flesh ideal for small, sunny gardens, each plant normally produces only 2 melons.
Mama’s Girl Hybrid – Small 7 pound watermelon – but, very dense with extra-moist, very sweet red flesh and a thin rind. Ready for pickin’ in 70 days.
Crimson Sweet – Dark red, fine textured, and firm flesh in this extra sweet 25 pounder. You can be chowing down on one in 80 days.
Moon and Stars – With a whoppin’ 100 days until it gets ripe, this 25 pound melon is named for the moon and stars pattern of the skin. A very fine flavor – with skin that is deep green – and speckled with hundreds of golden yellow stars and a few half-dollar sized moons. “The flesh is pink or red and it has brown seeds. The leaves are also spotted.
Little Darling – Same size as the Mama’s Girl Hyrid – 7 pounds. And, gestation time from planting until harvest is the same, too – 70 days. This is a sugary sweet compact version of the Great American Watermelon – oblong with red flesh and a dark rind.
Sugar Baby – Rounding out the group is the aptly named Sugar Baby. Very sweet, finely textured, medium red flesh. This is without a doubt the best tasting melon you could ever hope to grow!
Yellow Squash and Zucchini
I favor several types of yellow squash, mostly for sauté and stir fries. My zucchini favorites are used mostly for salads but, I also like to batter and deep fry them with a zesty tomato dipping sauce.
Butterstick Zucchini – Brilliant yellow and firm – with a sweetly nutty flavor. This is one of my “go to” stir fry veggies. The fruit will get up to 7 inches long and I usually can start picking them 6 to 7 weeks after planting. Adaptable to a variety of growing climates.
Gourmet Gold – These fruits are very high quality and, they are virus resistant. Cucumber beetles seem to love this yellow squash almost as much as I do – so, monitor the plants closely when they start to flower and keep the insecticide handy.
Cosmos – The plants are very compact and the fruit flavor is typical of yellow squash – sweet and nutty. They’ll get up to 8 inches long and an inch wide. I’ve grilled, sautéed, and baked Cosmos with great success. Expect a bountiful harvest from this one.
Sure Thing Zucchini – This type will bear fruit even in cooler areas that experience lots of overcast skies. The flavor is stronger than many other green zucchini varieties. Fruit will set even when there are no male flowers or bees around to pollinate them.
Black Beauty – This very dark green zucchini has creamy white innards. They are best picked when they are between 6 and 8 inches long. Keep an eye on them. If you don’t pick them when they are ready, the can grow to immense size – and, I’m talking 18 inches to a couple of feet. I’ve had a few like that – it made me think I was picking watermelon – they were so big.
Elite Hybrid – This is a French hybrid zucchini. This medium green zucchini strain – with sparsely flecked along its cylinder – provides a bountiful harvest.
Well watcha think? Does this examination of first-class vegetable garden seeds meet your expectations? Comments and emails on the subject are welcome and answered – always.
Jim, the Lifelong Gardener