Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation

Experts' Favorite Vegetable Varieties (page 4 of 5)

by Lynn Ocone

Rose Marie Nichols McGee

Smack in the middle of zone 7, McGee enjoys a 260-day growing season.

Tomato: 'Oregon Spring' is McGee's pick. In her garden, 4-inch fruits ripen from July (10 days earlier than the popular 'Early Girl') into September on determinate vines.

Sweet Pepper: 'Gypsy' is her sweet pepper of choice. Plants are compact, extremely vigorous and productive. Young tapered fruits are greenish yellow ripening to orange-red.

Beans: "'Oregon Blue Lake' pole beans have wonderful flavor and produce over a long period," says McGee. "The stringless pods are excellent fresh or frozen," she adds.

Cucumber: 'Sweet Success' ranks at the top: "The plants start producing very early, and I can harvest every day until the end of the season," reports McGee. Straight, practically seedless fruits are 10- to 12-inches long. Flavor is mild and sweet; texture is crisp.

Onion: McGee also sings the praises of 'Walla Walla Sweet'. "I love its mild, sweet flavor cooked or raw," she says. The onions are very large and fragrant. In her garden they thrive planted in spring or fall. She plucks thinnings from the fall planting through winter and harvests the mature crop in June.

Lettuce: 'Buttercrunch' has really nice flavor and large, tender leaves. The butterhead lettuce, green on the outside and creamy yellow inside, also takes the summer heat well. For salads with contrasting colors and textures, McGee mixes in 'Red Sails' (bronze red), 'Deer Tongue' (green tinged with red), and 'Brunia' (dark maroon).

Carrot: The most reliable carrot in McGee's garden is 'Touchon'. "It's sweet cooked or raw, and it has good texture," she explained. The roots are smooth, and they hold well in the ground.

Radish: 'Cherry Belle' tops McGee's radish list. She likes the traditional red, round, smooth root with its crisp texture. For best flavor, she recommends planting only in cool weather, in rich, loose soil.

Squash: 'Gold Rush' is her number-one zucchini. McGee loves its brilliant golden color that really jazzes up a ratatouille. She notes, "The texture and flavor are good, and it has all the productivity and earliness I need."

Peas: 'Oregon Trail' tops the list of shelling peas, chosen for its superb disease resistance. Tops among edible pod peas are 'Cascadia Snap' and 'Oregon Giant'.

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