Choosing a “Fav Five” of the Garden Variety

March 14, 2008

Cynthia sent an e-mail a couple weeks ago to share the vegetable varieties growing indoors for her garden and then asked what initially seemed like a pretty simple question:

“What would you say are your favorite half dozen vegetables?” Hmmm, that’s easy enough isn’t it? Well actually it’s a rather difficult question because there are so many interesting vegetable varieties that I really enjoy growing in my raised bed garden. And just like on some of the popular T-Mobile cellular commercials, it’s not always a cinch to decide who is in or out of your favorite circle!

Wild Garden KalesOkay, so let me see… if I could only plant six veggies in the entire garden what would they be? I know that I would have to start off with a selection of leafy greens because they are so productive, nutritious, tasty, and also easy to grow in the home garden.

My Favorite Leafy Garden “Greens”

Pirat Lettuce – I love this variety of lettuce because when it’s well grown it just doesn’t get much better. These are very large heads of sweet and tender leaves that are somewhat loosely wrapped to form a heavy head of gourmet lettuce. Then there’s the attractive appearance; light green leaves with a touch of cream inside and splash of red and cranberry colors on the outer leaves! This is a great lettuce for the home garden that is best grown during early spring.

Wild Garden Kales – Kale is one of my favorite greens; delicious and healthful, but also versatile, they can be grown from very early spring right into the winter months. What I like best about this Wild Garden Kale variety is the diversity; from a single seed packet you receive a number of different plant types. The green leaves are tinged with white, red, or purplish hues, and grow in shapes from smooth-leaved to wavy or serrated.

Bright Lights Swiss ChardBright Lights Swiss Chard – I’m not crazy for chard in the kitchen, and they do have a bad habit of attracting leaf miners during the summer months, but these babies come in some pretty cool shades that look great in the veggie garden, or even in the flower bed! The colors range from brilliant to pastel in white, cream, red, yellow, pink, orange, and there are even some with faintly striped stalks.

Other Great Garden Vegetable Varieties

Well I’ve used up half of my choices just on leafy green veggies so I’d better move on to something a little bit different if I want to be able to at least put together a nice tossed salad from this collection of my favorite vegetables.

Sungold Cherry Tomato – I know, I know; this isn’t a full sized beefsteak tomato, and it can’t even be classified as one of those heirloom tomato varieties that I usually rave over. I apologize for those shortcomings, but Sungold will never need to apologize for its great flavor or terrific production. It’s perfect for salads or even snacking right in the garden! Attractive gold-colored fruits that are bursting with sweet tomato flavor; what’s not to like about Sungold tomatoes?

Maybe I shouldn’t have selected so many leafy greens because now I’m forced to eliminate so many other worthy candidates. No room for finicky globe artichokes, no heirloom fish peppers, no old-fashioned okras, and not even a single exotic eggplant will make the cut! Well at least let me add one of the most unusual broccolis that you’ll ever see to the list…

Romanesco Broccoli – If you like strange looking plants this is one that you will want to try. It’s more challenging to grow than any of my other favorites, but you will be rewarded for your effort with beautiful pale green heads of spiraling florets that are also very tasty. More commonly grown in Italy, you can amaze your friends with the sight of this decorative broccoli.

An All-Time Garden Favorite

Garlic Bulbs CuringOkay, I have one selection left but this one is going to be easy because there is no way that I could leave gourmet garlic off of any list of favorite garden vegetables. In fact if I could only grow one vegetable in the home garden it would be garlic. There’s just no comparison between store bought garlic and the incredible garlic varieties that can easily be grown in the home garden.

Siberian Garlic – It came down to Siberian and the Music garlic variety but Siberian won out because it is such a reliable grower in my climate. The Siberian garlic variety produces large, attractive, and flavorful bulbs with huge cloves that are a breeze to peel and use in your favorite recipes. It doesn’t get much easier than growing garlic in the home garden.

So here you have it, my “fav five” veggie gardening style: Wild Garden Kale, Pirat Lettuce, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Sungold Cherry Tomato, Romanesco Broccoli, and Siberian Garlic. I know there are six but that’s what usually happens anyway when you get drawn into growing plants in the garden.

Who’s in Your Vegetable Garden’s Fave Five?

And if you think that narrowing things down is a simple process go ahead and try it for yourself! Blog your own list of garden vegetable favorites, but remember only six picks, name a specific variety, and share what’s so special about your favorite vegetable cultivars.

Of course all the ornamental gardeners can substitute their favorite flowers and afterwards take a quick peek at the article on great reasons to grow vegetables. Or if you’re not into blogging feel free to list your “fav five” veggies (or ornamentals) in the comment section below.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Sherri

    Yard long green beans. I’ll have to wait a few years to come up with the rest of my favs, since I’m still kind of new to gardening, but I am trying the dinosaur kale this year. I loved the way it looked ever since I saw it on your blog, and some foodies said it tasted better than most other kale varieties. I’d like to give those perennial onions you blogged about last year a try one day too.

  • Hmm, that’s a tough one. I am excited about the siberian garlic. I’m making a note to order that one for next year.

    1.Four Seasons Lettuce (aka. Merveille des Quartre Seasons)
    2. Correnta Spinach
    3. Basil (genovese)
    4. Brandywine tomatoes
    5. Bell Peppers

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