The Q&A Archives: Best Vegetables

Question: I know this is a lengthy question with more then one part and I'll understand if it takes more then the normal 48 hours to answer, but I do need an answer in full. I know of no other gardening site or gardener personally to ask so please bear with me. I live in zone 8 and have listed below numerous veggies that I would like to plant next growing season. Could you please pick, out of the 2 I have choosen of each veggie, the one that will do the best for my zone, or if neither of them are appropriate, then suggest one that is. If both are equally good then don't bother with them I'll pick one myself. I know when to plant them based on information I have gathered off the Burpee site and newsletters. Thank-you so much for your time and energy. Again, I'm sorry this is so long, but I'm a gardening virgin.

Beans: Blue Lake Pole or Kentucky Blue Lake Pole
Carrots: Toudo or Orange Rocket
Corn: Silver Choice or Early Choice
Cucumber: Straight Eight or Double Feature
Peas: Sugar Bon Snap or Super Sugar Snap
Sweet Pepper: Carnival Mix or Early Crisp
Hot Pepper: False Alarm or Biker Billy (should these be potted vs. sown in directly)
Pumpkin: Prizewinner or Bushkin
Radish: Cherry Bomb or Easter Egg II
Spinach: Avon or Baby's Leaf
Watermelon: Seedless Sugar Baby or Orange Sunshine

Will these grow at all?

Creme de la Creme
Centennial Sweet Potato

Answer: It looks as though you've really done your homework, and we're happy to offer assistance. Of course, the varieties chosen will be personal favorites, which just happen to be those that perform best in the Pacific Northwest. Before we get to your list, though, there is a wealth of knowledge in your own neighborhood in the form of Kitsap County Master Gardeners. You can phone the Cooperative Extension office (360) 337-7157 to talk to one, or to find out when and where they hold plant problem clinics.

Now to your list of veggies:
Blue Lake Pole Beans are tasty and tender.
Danvers or Nantes carrots grow best here.
Early Choice corn will ripen in our short, cool summer weather.
Straight Eight Cucumber performs reliably and produces crisp and flavorful cukes over a long season.
Super Sugar Snap peas win hands-down!
Peppers are iffy. Some years (like this one!) we don't get enough heat to produce even dinky little peppers. Both sweet and hot peppers can be coaxed into production if planted in pots and placed close to a south or west facing wall where reflected heat will help them mature.
Pumpkins generally won't ripen unless you have a spot that gets full sunshine beginning in April. If so, the soil will warm up enough to plant in May, which will provide barely 90 days of growing season. I'd choose the Bushkin.
Radishes grow from early spring clear up through frost if you plant seeds every 2-3 weeks. Easter Egg II is a favorite.
Spinach is a natural here; grow both kinds and see which you prefer.
Watermelon comes with the same cautions as peppers and pumpkins. Some years the Sugar Baby will ripen and others are too cold to produce even a tennisball sized melon.
Don't waste garden space with Creme de la Creme or Sweet Potatoes, but grow lots of Scallions and Cauliflower.

Hope your garden is especially bountiful next year!

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