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BONNIE'S GARDEN--Try Something New

I’ve made it a point to plant at least one new thing every year—both in my flower and my veggie/herb garden. That’s how I discovered my two favorite tomatoes.  One year, I waited until late in the season and there weren’t many varieties to choose between.  My usual Big Boys and Better Boys were gone.  All that was left was an odd-sounding variety called Cherokee Purple.  I shrugged and decided to give it a try.  Later that summer, I took my first taste of this weird purple-brown tomato.  It was awesome.
The next spring, I decided to try another new variety, since Cherokee Purple had worked out so well.  This time, based on the recommendation of another customer, I tried a cherry tomato called Sun Gold.  Wow!

So after those two new varieties worked out so well, I have tried to try one new variety every year.  Most of my favorite veggies are not necessarily the “standard” varieties.  Some of them are a little less than traditional and you may well like another variety better.  It’s really all about “customizing” your garden to your tastes.  But had I stuck with the "same ol', same ol'" I would have really missed out on some outstanding flavors.

But just in case you’re interested, here are some of my favorites (these are subject to change—depending on the day of the week, my mood, and the most recent plants I’ve grownJ):

I’ve already mentioned my two favorite tomatoes.  Cherokee Purple has ¾ pound to 1 pound fruits.  They are hugely flavorful and very juicy.  It's a little more disease resistant than some heirloom tomato varieties.  The fruits ripen to a sort of burgundy color.  Sun Gold is a cherry tomato that ripens to a golden orange.  It’s intense, almost citrusy, in flavor, and very prolific.  If you can’t find it, there is a sister variety called SunSugar—awesome as well.

I’ve tried lots of different summer squash and don’t see too much difference between them.  That said, there is a little round zucchini which I tried because it’s so great for stuffing.  I just cut the top off and scoop out the center.  I’ll grow those again, just for the fun factor alone.

Peppers?  Tried a new one last year that I liked a lot.  It’s called Sweet Heat.  Let me state categorically that I don’t like “hot” but I did like this one.  It’s sweet, which does keep the heat level down a little, and very flavorful.  It’s also a very compact plant—maybe 12” or so tall so would be great in containers.  As an added bonus, while peppers over all are high in vitamin C (containing as much as does an orange) Sweet Heat has 65% more vitamin C than other peppers.

Last summer, I grew a bush bean called “Gold Rush.” The flavor was pretty much on a par with other bush snap beans, but the yellow color made it easier to find the beans when picking.  Sometimes those sneaky little green ones manage to blend in until you suddenly discover a tough stringy “old” bean hiding under the foliage. This year, on the recommendation of a customer, I’m also going to try “Royal Burgundy.”  It’s a bush bean that is burgundy.  It does turn green when you cook it, but the color should make it easier to find on the plant, as well.

My favorite cucumber is a Japanese variety called Suyo Long.  It grows 15 inches or more in length and is thin-skinned (no peeling) and burpless.  It’s awesome for fresh eating but also made great pickles.  I grow it trellised because those long fruits lying on the ground would curl up and be harder to slice.

So what are your favorite veggie varieties?  I’m always open to suggestions…

Next week, some favorite flowers.
Posted: 4/18/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, Garden, vegetables
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