The one on this list we have trouble with is carrots; the tiny seeds take 3 weeks to sprout and either wash away or dry out during that time. Otherwise we do OK, although cabbages are often ravaged by moth larvae inside where you can't see them. Our favorite tomatoes are Sungold, Early Girl, and poor-yielding Brandywines and other heirlooms. Favorite cukes are English, Japanese, Armenian, lemon, and pickling. A couple plants I love are kale and Brussels sprouts because here in New England I can harvest them into December and their flavor improves after a frost, they turn super sweet. With B sprouts, cut off the top tip of the plant when the sprouts have formed; this will force the sprouts to develop, but if you don't cut the tip they won't turn into little cabbages, still tasty but not much to 'em. Another is Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan, hard to find but sweet and easy to grow. I agree about Romaine, easy to grow and tolerates heat. You can harvest the outside leaves and the middle ones will keep growing--cut and come again. We generally buy seedlings because the soil takes awhile to warm here, and growing your own seedlings is difficult without proper light and warmth. From seed, easy ones are beets, scallions, lettuces, peas, beans, various greens. One seed company I like very much is Renee's Garden seeds. She grows seed from unusual varieties based on flavor and ease of growing; many of them are from other countries and never seen in stores. The wonderful and fun part of growing your own IS to use varieties not found in stores, because store vegies are grown for looks, storage and travel, not flavor. Things we usually don't spend space on because they are cheap to buy and/or hard to grow and/or can be harvested wild or commercially are berries, potatoes, corn, onions, garlic, winter squash and pumpkins. I would kill to be able to grow good melons! But we rarely have the right weather. This year, though, I am going to try again because we built raised beds for everything else and have unused garden space to devote to them. The raised beds are wonderful for us old folks and allow us to plant things close together, maximizing space and productiveness. Right now I'm eating a big bowl of lettuce we grew. YUM!
- 5/23/2013 2:35:28 PM