Once again this year, I've tried a few new varieties of
vegetables in my garden here at Blue Horizon Farm. I've also
grown many of my old favorites, which are varieties that almost
never let me down. I'd like to share them with you because
growing good plant varieties can make the difference between
having a complete dud of a garden and having an excellent,
Here's a list of what's growing the very best in my organic
vegetable garden this year. I'm in central North Carolina, so
keep in mind that what does well at my place may not be suited
to other regions of the country. That being said, many plant
varieties nowadays are hardy and adaptable enough to grow well
in most climate and soil conditions.
There are many other herbs, flowers and vegetables growing in my
garden this year but the ones listed below are those that are
doing the heavy lifting this year: they are keeping me and my
family well fed (some would say overly so).
Garlic- California Early is a prolific, easy to grow
softneck garlic. It produces bulbs that will please just about
anyone, even those who are die-hard garlic lovers. California
Early also happens to be very widely grown by commercial
growers, so much of the garlic available in grocery stores is of
this variety. This is the third year that I have grown it, and I
have successfully saved my own seed garlic for the past two
After reading Chester Aaron's book Garlic is Life, I decided to
try one of his favorite varieties of garlic, Red Toch. It was a
success, and made healthy, flavorful bulbs for me, even in this
warm and humid climate.
Tomatoes- Sun Gold is my favorite tomato. It is a
great-tasting cherry tomato that has a sweet, fruit-like taste.
Anything a "normal" tomato can do, they can do better: sauces,
shish kabobs and salads all become ridiculously delicious when
they have Sungolds in them.
Tomande is a new variety for me this year. I was looking for a
disease-resistant slicing tomato and I found a good one in
Tomande. The flavor is excellent, superior even to most of the
heirloom tomatoes that I've tried. The fruits are beautiful
(although not consistent or uniform in their size or their
roundness) and have a very good tomato flavor without an excess
of tanginess or acidity.
Peppers-- Feherazon is a paprika pepper and therefore
meant to be dried and ground into that tasty seasoning. However,
they are so prolific and they fruits are so insect and sunscald
resistant (They have very thick walls) that they have become my
primary eating pepper and I haven't dried a single one. Their
flavor isn't quite as sweet or nuanced as some of the other
peppers that I grow, but dependability trumps taste in the
pepper category this year. When I needed enough peppers to make
four gallons of salsa in one fell swoop, the Feherazons were
loaded with fruit, while the other varieties of peppers in my
garden wouldn't even have had enough to get me through the first
Onions-- Candy onions are sweet and easy to grow. I even
got away with growing them is a slightly shady (80% sun),
relatively moist area of my garden. They had no rot at all and,
without exception, each plant developed into a large, delicious
Potatoes--Banana potatoes are a fingerling potato that
has become my favorite. They are small and relatively "waxy" (as
opposed to fluffy like russet potatoes) and I enjoy them
immensely in stews, hash browns or baked as oven fries.
Eggplant--I have had good luck with eggplants this year.
Burpee Hybrid leads the pack in the eggplant department, its
abundant, glossy fruits keeping me stuffed with grilled eggplant
and eggplant Parmesan this summer.
I hope that you find this list of my summer veggie superstars