If you love flavorful food, you should be growing your own vegetables. Here are some of the tastiest varieties we grow in our gardens. When these are freshly picked and brought right to the table, it’s the most delicious food on earth.

Salad Greens: For a good crop, plant seeds every three to four weeks. Sprinkle on the surface of the soil and pat in place. We sow a variety of lettuces and arugula. We also include nasturtiums in our salad section, routinely adding both the leaves and flowers to our meals.

Rainbow Chard: Grow from seed. Harvest when small or large and use like spinach. Not bothered by any particular pest or diseases.

Beans: If you like thin, tender beans as I do, get the “French Filet” varieties such as Maxibel, Tavera and Haricot Vert. Pick frequently (every other day!) for a long harvest.

Summer Squash: From green zucchini to the “flying saucer” patty-pan types, these are easy to grow from seeds or plants. Spray weekly with Green Cure, Actinovate or Serenade to control mildew. Look for Zephyr: a pretty, nutty flavored variety that bears well into the fall because of mildew resistance. I also love Costata Romanesco – not huge numbers of squash but a “slow and steady wins the race” large plant.

 Sugar Snap Peas: Sow in April and pull finished vines in late-June or July. Plant cucumber seeds on the pea supports for a second crop in that area. We use the very disease resistant County Fair Cucumbers.

Beets: All varieties are tasty but the red ones are most flavorful. Dust young plants with diatomaceous earth to control flea beetles early on.

Red Noodle Bean: Not a true bean, but a cow pea, these are prolific, tasty and beautiful. They stay red when they are cooked!

Tomatoes: Put plants in the garden in late May or early June. Varieties that we have had great success with include: Kosovo, Mountain Magic, Sun Gold, and Virginia Sweets.

Potatoes: Plant in the summer. We like Carola, a yellow flesh variety.

Tuscan Kale: If I was forced to just grow one vegetable it would probably be this kale. It’s delicious when harvested young, and equally tasty later in the fall into winter when the plants are tall. Keep picking the oldest leaves and let the plant continue to grow, and you’ll have kale all summer and well into the colder months.

Here is a quarter of our garden at Poison Ivy Acres. You can see nasturtiums, kale, chard, and green beans in this photo.

Here is a quarter of our garden at Poison Ivy Acres. You can see nasturtiums, kale, chard, and green beans in this photo.

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