vegetable varieties for 2017

plant key

• Open-pollinated, unless otherwise noted with “F-1 hybrid.”
• Annual, unless otherwise marked “P” for Perennial or “SSA” for Self Sowing Annual
• Days to maturity are from transplant. (This means start counting when you put the plant in the ground. Take these numbers with a grain of salt; there are a lot of variables to take into consideration.)

Size pot available:
3” = 3” round Cowpot
SC = Single Cell (36 cells to a tray)
Sampler = as part of a sampler with multiple varieties in a 6-pack (6 6-packs to a tray)


Asian Greens

Try something new! Nothing spicy here, just mild greens in the mustard/cabbage family that are perfect for cut ‘n come again harvesting. Use them at baby size in salads, then let them mature to full size to braise or stir-fry. All are cold-hardy and will tolerate some frost. Susceptible to flea beetle, which will give them that “buckshot” look, so you may want to consider using row cover to protect them.

Mizuna
30 days. Sampler
An heirloom Japanese mustard with deeply serrated leaves. Often shows up at baby size in mesclun mixes, but if you let it get bigger, it’s wonderful in brothy Asian-style soups.

Senposai
F-1 hybrid. 30 days. Sampler
The elephant ear of the vegetable patch. Big round, hardy but tender leaves with a surprisingly mild, sweet flavor. Kind of like a Japanese version of collard greens. Give them plenty of space to grow (18”).

Tatsoi
35 days. Sampler
Use tatsoi one of two ways - cut individual small leaves for salad, and/or let it mature into a beautiful rosette-style head. Leaves are spoon-shaped and dark green with contrasting white stems. Very cold tolerant.

Broccoli

Bay Meadows
F-1 hybrid. 69 days. SC
Broccoli is a great vegetable to grow for yourself because it’s so healthy, but starts losing its cancer-fighting compounds soon after harvest. This variety was chosen for its heat tolerance and its side shoot production. After you lop off the 6-8” main head, keep coming back for florets that are just the right size for tossing right into a recipe. Johnny's Selected Seeds' "Easy Choice" variety for spring and summer broccoli plantings.

Brussels Sprouts

Gustus
F-1 hybrid. 99 days. SC
Medium sized, uniform sprouts that store really well. You might consider topping the plant around early September for better sprout production. Brussels sprouts take a loooong season; this variety is a little earlier than most so you've got a better shot.

Cabbage

Golden Acre
62 days. SC
A Copenhagen Market type of cabbage - green, early, round, and not too big for home gardens. Heads reach 3-5 lbs.

Cauliflower

Snow Crown
F-1 hybrid. 50 days. SC
Early and dependable white cauliflower. If it gets a little stressed, you’ll see some pinkish-purple coloration.

Veronica
F-1 hybrid. 78 days. SC
A Romanesco with a fractal-looking bright green spiraling head. Too cool for words.

Cucumbers

Lemon
68 days. 3”
No, they don’t taste like lemons... But they do look like them! Pick these when they’re about the size, shape and color of a real lemon. A fun heirloom that’s good for slicing or pickling.

Marketmore 76
53 days. 3”
A classic open-pollinated slicing variety. Uniform 8” dark green fruits. Tolerant to cucumber mosaic virus, downy mildew and powdery mildew; resistant to scab.

Tasty Jade
F-1 hybrid. 44 days. 3”
A slender Japanese cucumber that reaches 11-12” long. Great productivity and flavor. Make the most of small spaces and trellis this one to get straight fruit. Intermediate resistance to downy mildew and powdery mildew.

Eggplant

Galine
F-1 hybrid. 72 days. 3”
A classic “Black Bell” Italian-type eggplant with a mild flavor and fruit that can reach 1 lb each.

Pingung Long
F-1 hybrid. 58 days. 3”
A long Asian-style eggplant that turns from light purple to darker purple as it continues to ripen and reach its full 11 inches.

Rosa Bianca
88 days. 3”
Famous for its creamy flavor, this Italian heirloom is plump and ribbed, streaked with white and lavender. Large fruits range from 2 lbs - 4 lbs. Finicky in cool areas and cool seasons.

Kale

While peak kale may have come and gone, my hope is that this powerhouse vegetable becomes another household staple, like carrots or zucchini. Whether you want to cook it, massage it, or smoothie it, there is a variety for you here.

Lacinato
48 days. SC, Sampler
aka Dinosaur aka Nero di Tuscana. Striking dark blue-green (even “black”) colored strap-like leaves. Its sturdy texture holds up well to cooking, such as in traditional Italian soups.

Red Russian
46 days. SC, Sampler
Flat, tender leaves with beautiful red-purple stems and veins. A more mild, delicate kale well-suited to salads and green drinks.

Westlander
36 days. SC, Sampler
A green crinkly kale, very flavorful. Kale in general prefers cooler weather; this one is very cold tolerant, so can last for a very long season. Massage with olive oil & salt for kale salad.

Lettuce

Bronze Arrowhead
32 days. Sampler
A gorgeous oakleaf with green and bronze leaves

Encino
36 days. Sampler
Dense round heads of light green serrated wavy leaves. Great flavor and good disease resistance.

Mascara
51 days. Sampler
A frilly and fancy deep red oakleaf variety.

Nancy
44 days. Sampler
Thick, bright green buttery leaves that form tight heads. One of my favorites, and it keeps really well in the fridge.

New Red Fire
41 days. Sampler
Forms large, loose heads that start out green in the middle and turn into dark red ruffles at the edges. Bolt resistant, cold-hardy, and good disease resistance, too.

Red Salad Bowl
46 days. Sampler
A dark bronze-red oakleaf variety. An old favorite that is often used in mesclun mix.

Romaine (Coastal Star)
57 days. SC
A standout in my Romaine trials last year. Large, dark green heads and somewhat tolerant to heat for spring & summer harvest.

Peppers - Hot

Anaheim
78 days. 3”
Also known as California Chile and Chile Verde. This is the variety for chile rellenos. 7” long, tapered fruits that turn from dark green to red. 900 - 2500 Scovilles.

Early Jalapeno
75 days. 3”
Classic jalapeno heat and shape - blunt fruits 3” x 1” that develop a brown “netting” as fruit ripens from green to red. From Jalapa in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. 4000 - 6500 Scovilles.

Fish
80 days. 3”
A very cool hot pepper! An heirloom from the African American community of Philadelphia and Baltimore from the late 19th century. Listed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a living catalog of distinctive and endangered foods. Here’s the best part: green and white variegated foliage and striped fruits! 2” long fruits, 5000 - 30,000 Scovilles.

Habanero
90 days. 3”
A Scotch Bonnet type of pepper with extreme heat. Little lantern-looking fruits that turn from dark green to bright orange... let that be your warning sign! 200,000 - 325,000 Scovilles.

Hidalgo Serrano
90 days. 3”
With a fruity flavor and a bit more heat than a jalapeno. Prolific, with bright red fruits 3” x 1/2”; perfect for making salsa or hot sauce. 6000 - 17,000 Scovilles.

Hinkelhatz
88 days. 3”
A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety. This rare heirloom was given its name by Pennsylvania Dutch growers who’ve kept it alive for more than 150 years, but dates back even further to a 1611 illustration! The bright red color doesn’t lie - it’s nearly as hot as a habanero, but more tolerant of cool weather. Blunt-tipped pendant peppers 3/4” x 1 1/2” on a compact plant. Traditionally used for pickling and pepper vinegar.

Hungarian Hot Wax
68 days. 3”
Beautiful, smooth long tapered fruits that you can pick at three stages - yellow, orange and red - for a colorful assortment. Perfect for pickling. Originated in 1941 in Hungary. 5000 - 10,000 Scovilles.

Red Rocket Cayenne
75 days. 3”
An early maturing cayenne with thin walls well-suited to drying and making ristras. Even dry, the flesh is tender, perfect for cooking. Medium heat.

Tiburon Ancho/Poblano
F-1 hybrid. 65 days green/85 days red. 3”
Relatively mild, this pepper is known as “poblano” when green and then “ancho” when dried. Perfect for roasting, chile powder and the classic mole pepper. Large, glossy dark green 3-lobed and horn-shaped fruits. 2000 Scovilles.

Peppers - Sweet

Note: all peppers start out as green. If you want a green pepper, just pick it before it colors.

Flavorburst
F-1 hybrid. 87 days. 3”
Tall, medium-large fruits that turn from lime green to yellow to golden orange.

Gourmet
F-1 hybrid. 85 days. 3”
Bright orange, juicy and sweet bell. Suited for a variety of weather conditions.

Intruder
F-1 hybrid. 72 days. 3”
Sounds scary, but you’ll welcome it into your garden for its disease resistance. Large, blocky, thick-walled fruits turn to deep red.

Jimmy Nardello’s
76 days. 3”
This Slow Food Ark of Taste variety is a sweet Italian frying pepper. It immigrated from Basilicata in southern Italy to Connecticut with the Nardello family. According to FEDCO, it came over with Jimmy’s mom, but I guess he gets all the credit. Thin-walled fruits 8” long with red shiny wrinkled skin.

Peacework
65 days. 3”
Seed activists, this one’s for you! Bred from King of the North and Early Red Sweet by collaborators from Peacework Farm, the Organic Seed Partnership, the California Pepper Commission and university breeders. Sold under a license, a portion of the proceeds go to support public vegetable breeding at Cornell University. An early red bell.

Purple Beauty
74 days. 3”
Blocky 3” x 3” fruits turn to a true purple before heading to red. While purple, green inside and with the flavor of a green pepper. Use for crudites, as it also turns green when cooked.

Red Bull’s Horn
3”
From local Ridge & Hollow Seed Alliance. A high yielding sweet red frying pepper.

Red Lunchbox
75 days. 3”
The cutest thing in your garden. “Snack-sized” bells, small and sweet, and perfect for - you guessed it - the lunchbox. Kid-approved!

Sheepnose Pimiento
70 - 80 days. 3”
A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety via Seed Savers Exchange. An Ohio heirloom dating back to at least 1940. Small tomato-shaped peppers are meaty and juicy, most often used for canning and cooking.

Physalis

Just a fancy word for the tomato relatives that grow a papery husk.

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry
72 days. 3”
Also called “husk cherries,” this variety has great, nutty flavor. Listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste. Wait until the berries turn from green to golden yellow.

Toma Verde Tomatillo
60 days. 3”
What you want for a real salsa verde. Harvest the green fruits when golf-ball sized and the papery husks start to split.

Tomatoes

Indeterminate - Climbing, vining types. Should be staked, trellised or caged. The fruit ripens gradually over an extended period of time and the plants keep growing until killed by frost. You might consider pruning.

Determinate - Bush types. Some may be grown without support. The fruit comes on all at once and then the plant is done. No pruning necessary.

For more on how to plant your tomatoes, here's a quick how-to I wrote.

Cherry Tomatoes

Black Cherry
Indeterminate. 75 days. 3”
Yum. A purple/black tomato in miniature. Complex, plummy flavor. Let ripen until dark with a rose-pink undertone.

Chadwick Cherry
Indeterminate. 80 days. 3”
aka “Camp Joy.” I’ve chosen this as “my” red cherry because it was developed by the great Alan Chadwick who started the farm & garden program at UC Santa Cruz where I studied for a season. But it’s also an all-around great cherry tomato with large round fruits, high yields and good disease resistance.

Currant Sweet Pea
Indeterminate. 75 days. 3”
Solanum pimpinellifolium. Another species, known as the “currant tomato,” hailing from Ecuador and Peru. It produces clusters of tiny “wild” tomatoes that make an awesome garnish.

Green Doctors Frosted
Indeterminate. 81 days. 3”
Sweet and low acid. Watch for the gold blush to know it’s ripe. Similar to but better behaved and more prolific than Green Grape. Named for two great women doctors, Amy Goldman and Carolyn Male, who have written influential books on tomato varieties.

Honey Bunch Red Grape
F-1 hybrid. Indeterminate. 62 days. 3”
A super sweet grape tomato. Let ‘em really ripen on the vine to fully develop their sweetness.

Honeydrop
Indeterminate. 62 days. 3”
Created in the never-ending search for an open-pollinated Sungold or Sunsugar that matches up. This lovely blushing honey-colored cherry has a light and sweet flavor and is less prone to cracking than Sungold.

Pink Bumblebee
Indeterminate. 70 days. 3”
Years in the making, bred by the folks at Artisan Seeds the old fashioned way. A gorgeous stripey combination of colors - light pinks, yellows and oranges. Sweet and beautiful!

Sungold
F-1 hybrid. 57 days. 3”
It’s not summer without Sungolds. I’m a sucker for these super sweet, bright orange, perfectly round cherries. They’re early - often the first in my garden to ripen, signaling the start of tomato season!

Yellow Pear
Indeterminate. 70 days. 3”
A popular favorite. A bit of a tart, tangy flavor and its distinctive shape set this one apart.

Red Tomatoes

Big Beef
F-1 hybrid. Indeterminate. 70 days. 3”
I’ve noticed guys tend to go for the big red tomatoes with “beef” in the name, so here ya’ go, dudes. 10-12 oz globe-shaped fruits with varied disease resistance.

Cosmonaut Volkov
Indeterminate. 65 days. 3”
Red, juicy, early. Brought to the U.S. from the Ukraine by Seed Savers Exchange, Cosmonaut does well even in cool summers.

Hungarian Heart
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
A huge pink-red oxheart shaped heirloom. These dense beauties are great eaten fresh or roasted for sauce.

Italian Heirloom
Indeterminate. 75 days. 3”
An outstanding classic red tomato from Seed Savers Exchange. Productive plants producing round one pounders.

Mortgage Lifter
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
By popular request. A Kentucky heirloom, this is the Halladay’s strain from Seed Savers Exchange. Pink/red 1-2 lb beefsteak tomatoes that will make you so rich you pay off your mortgage. Let me know how that goes. A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety.

Red Zebra
Indeterminate. 80 days. 3”
A red twin to Green Zebra. Deepest red and yellow stripes mark this natural cross between Green Zebra and an anonymous pollen donor.

Rutgers
Determinate. 75 days. 3”
If you’ve spent time on the East Coast, you’ve heard of the fabled “Jersey Tomato,” and this is it. Bred in 1934 by Rutgers University with Campbell’s Soup for the fledgling canning industry, these 6-8 oz fruits are bright red throughout with hearty, old-fashioned flavor that’s good for slicing or canning.

Pink Tomatoes

Pink Brandywine
Indeterminate. 82 days. 3”
The heirloom tomato. Great heirloom flavor comes with heirloom fussiness. Are you up to the challenge? This Slow Food Ark of Taste variety is a beefsteak that averages about a pound each, but can reach up to 2 lbs. Rich classic tomato flavor.

German Pink
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety via Seed Savers Exchange, where it was one of two Bavarian heirlooms from the co-founder’s own family. Meaty beefsteak fruit with few seeds reach 1 -2 lbs and grow on potato leaf plants.

Rose
Indeterminate. 78 days. 3”
Taste test: Brandywine vs Rose? This one’s a bit smoother but I’ll leave the call on flavor up to you. Fruits are 10 oz on up.

Yellow/Orange Tomatoes

Gold Medal
Indeterminate. 90 days. 3”
Yellow-orange blushed with red. A great low acid bicolored slicer, and big!

Kellogg’s Breakfast
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
An orange beefsteak heirloom hailing from West Virginia. A great way to start the day, I’m sure.

Pineapple
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
I love striped tomatoes. Marbled yellow and red, inside and out, this one can get pretty huge. Low acid and fruity flavor. This and a jar of mayonnaise, and I’m set.

Purple (or "Black") Tomatoes

Black Krim
Indeterminate. 80 days. 3”
A purple-green “black” tomato with famous flavor. As FEDCO Seeds so delicately puts it, “If you wait until they are fully purple, you will not be able to get them from garden to table intact and they will disintegrate like a hunk of road-kill.” Consider that your challenge.

Carbon
Indeterminate. 90 days. 3”
Worth waiting for, this one’s won taste tests. Large, round and smooth, which seems to be unusual in the purple tomato realm.

Cherokee Purple
Indeterminate. 77 days. 3”
Like Brandywine, another of the heirloom must-haves. A shorter-vined plant, this Tennessee heirloom is said to have originated with the Cherokee people. Oblate fruit reach 10-13 oz with purple skin, green shoulders and brick red flesh. Fruits are delicate and may sunburn easily, so go easy on the pruning. A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety.

Green Tomatoes

Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
Don’t be scared of the ripe-when-green color. This is the first tomato I grab for a simple sandwich, when the tomato flavor is shining through. It’s fun to sample at market and shock people with red tomato sensibilities. This beefsteak can get pretty huge. Wait for a pink-yellow tinge on the blossom end, but don’t let it get too soft on the vine! A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety.

Green Zebra
Indeterminate. 75 days. 3”
This was the first heirloom tomato I fell in love with, for obvious reasons, at the tender age of 19 at my first farm job. Blushing yellow with neon green stripes when ripe. A 4-5 oz salad sized tomato with a tangy rich flavor.

Paste or Plum Tomatoes

Amish Paste
Indeterminate. 85 days. 3”
A classic choice for sauces, salsas and canning. Larger than Roma (8 oz) and more oxheart-shaped, another flavorful, bright red option. A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety.

Roma VF
Determinate. 65 days. 3”
With great productivity and disease resistance in an open-pollinated variety! Deep red, 4 oz fruits.

Zucchini (Summer Squash)

Costata Romanesco
38 days. 3”
Lovely and flavorful. This Italian heirloom is green and grey striped with distinctive ribs. Firm texture and nutty flavor. These big plants are better at quality than quantity. Be gentle with the tender skin!

Golden Glory
F-1 hybrid. 36 days. 3”
A bright yellow zuchini. Hassle-free with its disease-resistance, open growth habit and spinelessness. (That’s a good thing in zucchini!)

Raven
F-1 hybrid. 34 days. 3”
A classic dark green zucchini with great flavor. Best picked at around 6”. Trust me. Be vigilant.