Vegetables

Vegetables are the mainstays of our gardens– and our dinner table. Leafy greens and root vegetables in spring give way to heat-loving tomatoes and peppers in the summer, followed by cabbage, squash, and more root vegetables in the fall.

Leafy greens

Collards, Champion
Brassica oleracea
Annual, 1-2’. 60 days. Well-drained soil and full sun. Dark-green, wavy round leaves with tender whitish-green stems. Plant every 12-18” in rows at least 18” apart. Collards can be continuously harvested spring thru fall, or new plants can be started in the fall for overwintering. Plants can be impacted by cabbage moths. Remove cabbageworms by hand or cover with a light fabric to prevent moths from laying eggs. Collards are delicious in stir fries, sautéed with garlic and olive oil, or simmered in a pot with bacon.

Lettuce, Merveille de Quatre Saisons
Lactuca sativa
Annual, up to 1’. 60 days. The ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ is a French variety of butterhead lettuce with beautiful red, bronze, and green leaves. Plant in full sun, or in a spot with some afternoon shade in the summer. Prefers well-drained, but well-watered soil. Harvest leaves individually or the whole head.

Lettuce, Buttercrunch
Lactuca sativa
Annual, up to 1’. 65 days. Marcie’s favorite lettuce. Wonderfully tender, buttery-textured leaves with a crisp, sweet, bright green center. Tolerant of warmer temperatures. Plant in full sun, or in a spot with some afternoon shade in the summer. Prefers well-drained, but well-watered soil.

Lettuce, Pirat
Lactuca sativa
Annual, up to 1’ 55 days. A beautiful butterhead with bright green centers and gilded red outer leaves. Crisp and refreshing. Plant in full sun, or in a spot with some afternoon shade in the summer. Prefers well-drained, but well-watered soil.

Lettuce, Truchas
Lactuca sativa
Annual, up to 1’. 50 days. Deep red mini romaine, 6-8” tall. Crisp and beautiful. Plant in full sun, or in a spot with some afternoon shade in the summer. Prefers well-drained, but well-watered soil.

Kale, Curly
Brassica oleracea
Annual, 2-3’. 55 days. Well drained soil and full sun. Plant 12-18” apart in rows 18-36” apart. Kale can be harvested continuously spring-fall, or new plants can be started in the fall for overwintering. Can be impacted by cabbage moths. Remove cabbageworms by hand or cover with a light fabric to prevent moths from laying eggs. Young leaves are delicious in salads with cherry tomatoes and lemon-garlic dressing. Kale can also be added to any stir-fry or stew, or simply sautéed with olive oil and garlic.

Kale, Lacinato
Brassica oleracea
Annual, 2-3’. 55 days. Also called Dino, Tuscan, Black, or Flat-leaf kale. Well drained soil and full sun. Plant 12-18” apart in rows 18-36” apart. Kale can be harvested continuously spring-fall, or new plants can be started in the fall for overwintering. Can be impacted by cabbage moths. Remove cabbageworms by hand or cover with a light fabric to prevent moths from laying eggs. Flea beetles are also particularly attracted to this variety of kale.. perhaps because it is so tender. Delicious in kale salad. Remove the stems, chop finely, rinse, and massage with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and coarse salt.

Malabar spinach, Rubra
Basella rubra
Annual, up to 5’ vining. 70 days. This heat-loving vine is a good substitute for spinach in the summer. Leaves have a flavor similar to spinach but are succulent, thicker and more akin to okra in texture. Wonderfully ornamental, can be trained to climb a fence or trellis. Produces small white button flowers and dark seeds. Full sun and well-drained soil.

Spinach, Kookaburra
Spinacia oleracea
Annual, up to 6”. 26 days. Lovely green spinach with oval, semi-wrinkled leaves. Harvest whole plants or select just the mature, outer leaves and allow the center leaves to continue to grow… and harvest more later! Plant 8” apart in rows 8-12” apart in well-drained soil, full to partial sun.

Swiss chard, Bright lights
Beta vulgaris
Annual, 1-2’. 55 days. Well-drained soil and full sun. The most eye-catching of garden greens. Beautiful, wavy green leaves with stems of bright orange, yellow, red, and white. The same species as beets, these are grown for their prolific and versatile greens. Chard can be harvested spring thru fall, or new plants can be started in the fall for overwintering. If allowed to overwinter plants will flower and go to seed that spring. Excellent in omelets, sautéed with garlic, hot pepper, and toasted sesame seed oil, or added to a skillet of chickpeas.

Cucumbers, Squash, & onions

Cucumber
Cucumis sativus
Annual, up to 5’ vining. 52 days. Well-drained soil and full sun. Use care when planting as seedlings can resent having their roots disturbed. Plant 12” apart along a fence or between 4’-tall garden stakes and trellis for easier harvest. Will easily climb if encouraged. Regular watering will ensure consistently-sized fruits. Cucumbers are fast growers. Once the first fruits appear, check plants every other day. Must be pollinated by bees to fruit.

Green onions, White Spear
Allium fistulosum
Annual, up to 1’. 65 days. Classic scallions with white base and long blue-green leaves. Harvest the whole bunch or pull stalks as you need them. Plant in well-drained soil with full sun. Space clumps 6” apart in rows 4-6” apart. Keep well-weeded as onions dislike competition.

Squash, Patty Pan
Cucurbita pepo
Annual, up to 4’ spreading. 50 days. Abundant producer of scalloped spaceship-shaped squash. Shiny yellow with light green bottom. Excellent stuffed and roasted. Space plants 18-24” apart in rows 4-6’ apart. Cover with lightweight fabric until onset of flowering to keep plants warm and protect from insect pests.

Eggplant & peppers

Eggplant and peppers both enjoy well-drained soil and full sun. Space plants 18” apart in rows 30-36” apart. Cover with a light blanket to protect from cool nights that can slow growth in the spring. Like other solanaceous (nightshade) crops, be careful not to over-fertilize. Too much nitrogen can promote leaf growth rather than fruiting. Fruits can be hard to pull from the plant without snapping a branch, especially for eggplant—use a knife or scissors to harvest. Plants may also benefit from some support or trellising when branches are laden with fruit.

Eggplant, Mitoyo
Solanum melongena
Annual, 3-4’. 90 days. Plump, teardrop-shaped fruit that are deep purple to black with very sweet, tender flesh.

Eggplant, Listada de Gandia
Solanum melongena
Annual, 3-4’. 90 days. Lovely 7” purple and white striped fruits. Heirloom from Spain.

Egglant, NY Improved
Solanum melongena
Annual, 3-4’. 75 days. Dark purple fruits on compact, productive plants. Teardrop-shaped with very smooth skin.

Pepper, Ashe County Pimento
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 60 days. A sweet heirloom pepper that hails from the Smoky Mountains of Ashe Co., NC. Thick-walled. You can eat them raw, roast them whole, or add them to grated cheddar and mayonnaise with a slab of sourdough bread to make your own pimento cheese sandwich.

Pepper, Canary Bell
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 80 days. Not your average bird. These bells are bright yellow, thick-fleshed, and perfect for any purpose.

Pepper, Corbaci
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 80 days. Curvy, twisty, crazy sweet peppers. Start yellow and ripen to a bright red. Slender, 10” fruits perfect for frying or throwing on a pizza.

Pepper, Jimmy Nardello
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 75 days. Long, deep red slightly wrinkled frying peppers. So good and so beautiful they’ve earned a place on the Slow Food Ark of Taste. They are an heirloom from Italy.

Pepper, Lipstick
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 70 days. Crunchy little red snack peppers. So sweet and satisfying. They are the perfect snack after a long day—or a short day. Refreshing and versatile, you can eat them raw or cooked.

Pepper, Lunchbox
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 70 days. Similar to Lipstick peppers but in shades of yellow, orange, and red. Perfect for packing in a lunchbox.

Pepper, Shishito
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 80 days. Japanese frying pepper. It’s impossible to eat just one. And good thing—the plants are prolific! Wrinkly green 4” long fruits can be tossed in olive oil and thrown on a hot skillet with some coarse salt. Cook until they’re brown and blistered and eat by the bowlful.

Pepper, Sweet banana
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 75 days. Long, conical fruits. Start light green and ripen to yellow, orange, then red, though they can be eaten at any stage. Mild, tangy, sweet, these ‘nanners lack the heat.

Pepper, Violet Sparkle
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 75 days. The name says it all, these little gems sparkle. Short pointy purple and yellow streaked fruits have thick-walled flesh and are sweet and crunchy.

Pepper (hot), Aji Chinchi Amarillo
Capsicum baccatum
Annual, up to 4’ 60 days. These yellow peps are a key ingredient in Peruvian (fresh) and Bolivian (dried) cuisine. Fruity with medium heat, these make any batch of beans stand out. This strain is offered by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and has slightly smaller fruits than the standard, but they also begin producing earlier in the season.

Pepper (hot), Aji Dulce
Capsicum chinense
Annual, up to 5’. 111 days. Venezuelan heirloom that has the fruity flavor of a habanero, but only the threat of heat. The wrinkly, thin-walled little fruits even look like habaneros but ripen to a deep red. Very aromatic and flavorful.

Pepper (hot), Brazilian Starfish
Capsicum baccatum
Annual, up to 4’. 85 days. These are new to us but we can’t wait to try them! The small, squat red fruits look like miniature spaceships from the side and starfish from above. Mild heat and fruity flavor.

Pepper (hot), Hot Wax
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 65 days. Long yellow peppers with medium heat. They are prolific and sooo delicious pickled or fermented and added to sandwiches.

Pepper (hot), Jalapeno
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 65 days. The gateway pepper. The thick-fleshed peppers bring lots of flavor and a little bit of heat to your cooking. 2500-8000 Scoville units (compared to habanero’s 100,000-350,000 Scoville units!).

Pepper (hot), Locoto
Capsicum pubescans
Annual, up to 4’. 85 days. Sweet, juicy, hot little red peppers common in South America. Family name pubescans refers to the fine short hair on the leaves and stems of the plant. The flowers are bluish-purple and the seeds are black.

Pepper (hot), Orange Cobra
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 85 days. A gift to us from the Hippy Seed Company in Australia. Slightly wrinkly orange fruits with thin skin pack a bit of heat and thrive in cool climates.

Pepper (hot), Poblano
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 65 days. The well-deserved standard for chile rellenos and delicious bean tacos. Dark green, blocky shoulders with a tapered end, 5” long fruits with very mild heat and rich pepper flavor.

Pepper (hot), Sugar Rush Peach
Capsicum annuum
Annual, up to 4’. 65 days. Crinkly, curvy, orangey-peach colored fruits. Sweet tropical flavor with smokey heat. Prolific. Baker Creek says they are the most fun pepper to eat.

Melons

Melons enjoy warm conditions, consistent watering and plenty of space to spread. Space plants in mounds 2-3′ apart. These annual fruits spread 6-8′. Growing melons at home can be incredibly rewarding, as they are a longer season crop. If you plant them in the early part of May, cover them with a sheet at night to help retain heat.

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Cucumis melo
Perfect personal-sized melons with bright white flesh. Very sweet, 1/4 pound. Melons enjoy warm conditions and consistent watering. Fruits are ready to harvest once the skin darkens red and the stripes yellow. A few plants will keep you in melons all season long!

French Delice
Cucumis melo
85 days. Very rare heirloom melon that are white with green marks that turn yellow-orange when ripe. The fruit is bright orange, very sweet and soft. Similar to a cantaloupe.

Watermelon, Royal Golden
Citrullus lanatus
Annual, spreading 6-8’. 80 days. Perfect family-sized melons with bright yellow rinds and pinkish-red flesh. Fruits are ready to harvest when they turn bright yellow!

Watermelon, Sugar Baby
Citrullus lanatus
76 days. Perfect personal-sized melons with dark green rinds and bright red flesh. Sweet and juicy, 6-8” in diameter. Fruits are ready to harvest when the fruit stem begins to dry/brown, the fruit has a “yellow belly” where it has been sitting on the ground, and it makes a hollow “thunk” when tapped.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes love full sun and well-drained soil. Tomatoes can grow roots from their central stem; bury the plant up to the first set of leaves (3-8” deep) to grow sturdier, well-rooted plants. If you would like to encourage larger fruits, pinch back all of the branches up to the first flowering stem. Space plants 1-2’ apart in rows that are 2-3’ apart. Avoid adding too much nitrogen to the soil as this promotes leaf growth rather than fruit production. Trellising or tomato cages will prevent fruit-laden branches from breaking and will make harvesting easier.

Tomato, Black Krim
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. A dusky purple heirloom from the Black Sea in Russia. So delicious and complex are these beautiful slicers. Smoky flavor to match their smoky skins.

Tomato, Dad’s sunset
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. Smooth, bright orange fruits glow from inside out. Medium-sized, about 10 oz. Said to be one of the best-tasting tomatoes by Baker Creek.

Tomato, German Johnson
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. A beautiful southeastern heirloom with slight ribbing and pink skin. Juicy, meaty, and flavorful, perfect for slicing or sandwiches.

Tomato, Green zebra
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 80 days. Stands out among tomatoes for it’s beauty and flavor. Slightly smoky, juicy, and not overly sweet, these small-sized 4oz fruit will bring your summer salads to the next level. They ripen to a lovely greenish-yellow with green stripes. Skins resists cracking from too much rain.

Tomato, Paul Robeson
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. A Russian heirloom named for the singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson who was blacklisted by the FBI. Sweet and smoky, dusky purplish-red fruits with green shoulders and tangy flavor. Productive plants with medium-sized fruits.

Tomato, Pineapple
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. Yellow and red striped fruits with a silky smooth, marbled interior. Originally from Kentucky. Slice in laterally to see that the inside looks like the inside of a pineapple with swirls of red and yellow. Juicy, sweet, and wonderful roasted and tossed with olive oil & garlic.

Tomato, Rose de bern
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 75 days. Rosy pink fruits are 4-8 oz, sweet, and soft skinned, though they also hold up well against cracking in the rain. Wonderful for eating fresh with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Tomato, Striped German
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. A lovely red and yellow ribbed fruit with a beautiful marbled interior. Fruity and smooth textured.

Cherry tomato, Black Cherry
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 70 days. Tracey’s favorite cherry tomato. Large, round cherry tomatoes with dark purple-green skin. Fruits are up to 1” diameter and have a complex flavor, much more like a full-size slicing tomato. Very prolific and produces longer into the season than other varieties. Wonderful roasted or added to salsa.

Cherry tomato, Black vernissage
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 90 days. Round red cherries with streaks of silvery green. Skins holds up well and do not crack in the rain. Excellent for roasting and making sauce.

Cherry tomato, Currant
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 80 days. These little plants crank out hundreds of small, 1/4″ bright red fruits on little clusters– like a currant branch. They are sweet and juicy. The compact plants can also perform really well in containers.

Cherry tomato, Green grape
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 90 days. Little grape tomatoes that ripen green with a yellowish blush. Plants have a slightly unusual growth habit and can take longer to reach full fruit production than other cherry tomatoes. Slightly spicy flavor.

Cherry tomato, Rosella
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 70 days. Dusky red cherries are great for eating right in the field or cooking into a sauce. Small and sweet, only 1/2″ across.

Cherry tomato, Sungold
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 65 days. THE go-to cherry tomato. Small, bright orange fruits are sweet and juicy. They are also marvelous cut in half, tossed in olive oil, and roasted in the oven for a quick pasta sauce.

Paste tomato, Orange banana
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. Orange you glad we said banana? Beautiful, bright 3-4″ fruits make a sweet, glowing orange sauce. Dry flesh and few seeds, just as you would seek in a paste tomato, but still juicy enough to slice and eat in a salad too. We enjoyed continual harvests of them even after other tomatoes stopped producing in last year’s garden.

Paste tomato, San Marzano
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 90 days. An Italian standard for making sauce. Cylindrical fruits have dry flesh, few seeds, and great tomato flavor. Deep red fruits can be up to 5″ long.

Paste tomato, Speckled Roman
Solanum lycopersicum
Annual, up to 5’. 85 days. An iconic paste tomato with bright red skin and gold streaks. Meaty, sweet, and fast-cooking.