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As a gardener, choosing vegetable varieties is one of my favorite aspects of gardening (other than enjoying those harvests!)
The world opens up to home gardeners when selecting vegetables or fruits to grow. You’ve got different kinds of peppers in any color you can think of (purple!), you can grow black tomatoes or rainbow corn. Try white blackberries or white pineapple strawberries, Moon + Stars watermelon and so much more.
How do you choose a variety?
First you need to select what to grow from the vegetables list. Then you can narrow down the varieties by following some important tips. If you want to learn more about garden planning, check out my ebook which will help you figure out what to grow.
List of Vegetables
- Asparagus Bean
- Beetroot (you can eat the tops too!)
- Beans (Bush or Pole growing habits. You can grow yellow, purple, striped or green snap beans, french filet beans or soup beans like white navy or orca. Runner beans are also legumes, as are cow peas or try Chinese noodle beans.
- Broad Beans (also called Fava Beans)
- Sprouting Broccoli
- Brussel Sprouts
- Cauliflower (try purple, green or orange cauliflower)
- Carrots (so many shapes and colors!)
- Cabbages (winter cabbages are larger and denser than your spring light cabbages)
- Corn Salad (Mache)
- Eggplant (also called Aubergine)
- Fennel bulb
- Green onions (scallions)
- Kohl rabi
- Lettuce (from head lettuces to leaf lettuce)
- Melons (Muskmelon like honeydew or cantaloupe, watermelon)
- Mescluns (basically baby greens)
- Mustard greens (Mizuna, Komatsuna, Tatsoi, Giant Red)
- New Zealand Spinach
- Pac Choi/Choi Sum
- Peppers (hot peppers, sweet peppers, bell peppers)
- Peas (Sugar Snap, Shell Peas or Snow Peas)
- Summer Squash
- Swiss Chard
- Tomatoes (many great colors, heirlooms & more)
- Turnips ( I love salad turnips– the baby sweet ones)
How do you select your vegetable varieties?
When looking at seed catalogs, it can be confusing and easy to get carried away. Make sure you know your growing season (you local hardiness zone). Certain peppers or tomatoes for example, will be better suited to shorter growing seasons, others need 110+ days to mature so you want to make sure you have the time for them to ripen. I love growing heirlooms a lot of the time as they offer unique looks and tastes, however I also enjoy hybrid seeds for things like heat (bolt) resistance.
I encourage you to try new and fun varieties!
If you like zucchini, try little round ones, yellow or scallop summer squash! Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes like Cinderella, Watermelons can be orange inside instead of red, there are many purple veggies too. Watermelon radishes are both stunning and tasty. Go through your list of vegetables that you’d like to grow, then browse through catalogs and select fun varieties based on appearance, description or color. If you aren’t growing your own seedlings, then buy them from your local nursery. Many garden centers carry many great tomato or veggie varieties, although you’ll still have more choices growing from seed. Different seed companies carry different varieties too. A
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.