Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

The Top Five Homegrown Vegetables

by Susan Littlefield

American gardeners love their veggies, and none more so that tomatoes! This is by far the most popular home garden crop -- grown by 86 percent of those with food gardens. But you need more than just tomatoes to have the fixings for a delicious summer salad, so it's not surprising that cucumbers, sweet peppers, beans, and carrots round out the top five.

Why Homegrown?

When you're talking about tomatoes, the answer is easy -- taste! No purchased tomato can compare to a perfectly ripe one plucked fresh from your garden and sliced for the table -- or in the case of cherry tomatoes, popped in your mouth right off the vine.

The taste of homegrown cukes, beans, carrots, and peppers can also be a revelation. Not only are they as fresh as can be and brimming with healthful nutrients; when you grow your own you can choose from a wide array of varieties bred for flavor rather than tolerance for long distance shipping.

And if you get "sticker shock" every time you look at the price of fresh produce at your local market, you'll appreciate the amount of money you can save when you grow your own. So let's get growing!

Of course, there's no reason to stick just to the top five veggies -- there are many more tasty crops that are easy to grow -- but we're sure you'll want to include these frontrunner's in your garden each season. Here are just some of the many varieties of these most popular vegetables that we offer.

'Jubilee' Tomato (80 days)—An open-pollinated variety with large yellow, globe-shape, meaty fruits with a mild flavor.

'Sweet Slice' Cucumber (62 days) —The long, slim fruits are sweet, burpless, and so free of bitterness they don't need to be peeled.

'Homemade Pickles Cucumber (55-60 days) —This high-yielding , disease-tolerant, open-pollinated cuke is a must for pickle lovers!

'Chocolate Beauty' Sweet Pepper (67 days) —The fruits of this hybrid mature from green to an attractive rich chocolate brown and are among the sweetest of peppers.

'Contender' Bush Bean (49 days)—Very early and productive, the pods are stringless and tender.

'Parisian' Carrot (58 days) —These one-inch round carrots are very sweet and nearly coreless. Kids love them!

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