By Dave Whitinger


#1: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Kellogg's Breakfast') @BookerC1 says, "A yellow tomato, but with more flavor than some "bland" yellows. It has a little bit of a bite, almost a citrusy element to it. One of my favorite tomatoes." @dave added, "Hands down, this is my favorite of all tomatoes. It handles our East Texas climate perfectly and gives us excellent tasting, gigantic slicing tomatoes that are also excellent for salsa. We sell these as seedlings at the local master gardener plant sale each spring and we never have enough. We have become famous around East Texas for the Kellogg's Breakfast fruits that we offer for sale at the local farmers' market."
#2: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Cherokee Purple') @BookerC1 says, "This was my first "black" tomato, and is still my favorite tomato. Very complex, smoky flavor. Wonderful eaten plain, or used in salsa or sauces." @Newyorkrita added, "Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes produce well for an heirloom with very decent fruit set. Tomatoes have a complex and unique flavor. Lovely fruit colors of smokey purple."
#3: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Black Krim') @mom2goldens says, "I've grown this tomato twice--love the rich, smoky flavor. It is not the most productive plant in my garden, but seemed to do better in a cooler/rainier summer than a hot/dry summer. The plant was strong and was one of my earliest producers. Fruit was a good size, and very meaty. This rates high among my choices for black tomatoes."
#4: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Brandywine, Pink') @Newyorkrita says, "I know Brandywine is an heirloom tomato, but I grew Brandywine and can't see what the fuss is all about. It is the most unproductive tomato I have ever grown. Fruit just did not want to set. Flowers and no fruit set. The two or three tomatoes I did get and was able to taste were good, but certainly not worth all the fuss"
#5: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Black Cherry') @BookerC1 says, "These are absolutely my favorite cherry-type tomato! It is larger than the typical cherry tomato, with a pretty thin skin. The flavor is intense and smoky, similar to the best full-sized black tomatoes. You do have to be careful not to let them overripen on the vine, as they tend to split around the shoulders. These are unbelievably good with some fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. I do plant a few extra of these plants, as they don't produce as many fruits as most other cherry tomatoes."
#6: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Sungold') @RickCorey says, "Gold / orange / tangerine fruit color. Very sweet, intense, fruity "tropical" flavor when fully ripe. More tart just before fully ripe. Large sprawling vine but will grow in a large container. Somewhat cool-tolerant. Quite early, but keeps bearing all summer." @robertduval14 added, "Produces huge numbers of tomatoes per plant. Helps a lot to have these staked or caged, as they sprawl quite a bit. Taste is unlike any other tomato, with a strong 'tropical' flavor."
#7: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Celebrity') @SongofJoy says, "I've grown this numerous times in topsy-turvy bags with very good success. Disease-resistant, high yield and good flavor. Plants can produce 30-40 tomatoes each." @NJBob added, "A very good Tomato for growing in containers."
#8: Cherry Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Mexico Midget') @Katie says, "This tomato is very nice for drying. I like to take a cookie rack, cut the tomatoes along the side, and then I put them cut side up on the rack. After being left in the sun for 1 to 2 days, they are ready to eat." @jon added, "The 'Mexico Midget' tomato has a very good flavor. And it is crack resistant (for the most part). It is still blooming and I pick around one quart every week."
#9: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Stupice') @Ispahan says, "I am really enjoying my 'Stupice' this year. Sometimes it is better to forget about all of the unusual heirloom tomato distractions out there and just focus on the basics. For me, 'Stupice' sets heavily in cold weather, in hot weather (several weeks in mid-90s), in extreme wind and in partial shade. It is always the first non-cherry to ripen and will continue to ripen fruit steadily until the very end of the season when other plants will already have petered out. My plants have never been bothered by pests or disease, and they have a very attractive and manageable compact indeterminate growth habit. Considering the abundant fruit set, earliness and size of the tomatoes, 'Stupice' has a wonderful flavor. It is mainly sweet with a slight, nice tang underneath. It is good fresh and good sliced up in salads, but it really truly shines when it is cooked. 'Stupice' made into sauces or baked into tarts will make you curl your toes in delight as you eat it. 'Stupice' soup with freshly baked, homemade bread is one of life's great little-known pleasures. And 'Stupice' juice is wonderfully delicious. Oh, and it is productive enough to be a smallish but excellent canner. Just a summary: Flavor fresh: 6-6.5/10 Flavor cooked: 8.5/10, one of the best"
#10: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Early Girl') @farmerdill says, "Early Girl is an interesting tomato. While it became popular for earliness, I never found it to be extra early. Fields Hi-X always beat it to the table. It is a small round red on an indeterminate vine. It does bear for a long time, but the tomatoes grow progressively smaller. Flavor is ok. It is a vigorous grower."

#1: Ornamental Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl') @BookerC1 says, "The tiny peppers, only about 3/4" diameter, are primarily meant to be ornamental. They are edible, and very hot, but don't offer much flavor to go along with the heat. I grow them for the striking purple and green foliage, and the pretty little purple and red peppers. The fruits start out darkest purple, and turn a glowing ember red when fully mature. I have had some success in saving seed from this pepper, though I highly recommend wearing disposable latex/plastic gloves while handling the fruits to collect the seed. They are extremely hot, and if you inadvertently rub your eyes or lips with the pepper oils on your hands, you will regret it! Wash or flush immediately (I've heard that hot water helps dissolve the oils, though the cold feels more soothing!) and then rinse with cold milk, or apply cold milk compresses. The milk protein, casein, helps to counteract the capsaicin in the pepper oils. As an aside, drinking milk or eating yogurt or other dairy can help with indigestion after eating hot peppers, as well."
#2: Hot Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Jalapeno') @BookerC1 says, "This is the pepper that most people in North America use as the baseline by which to measure other hot peppers. It is commonly available, with both seeds and plants available at most nurseries. This is a good "gateway pepper" for those wanting to venture into growing and eating hot peppers, as it is hot enough to provide some real bite, without the agonizing burn of the hot peppers with MUCH higher scores on the Scoville scale, which measures the "heat" of peppers. This pepper can be eaten raw, if you are tolerant of heat, or as an ingredient in many dishes."
#3: Bell Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'California Wonder') @farmerdill says, "A very popular open pollinated bell pepper. Medium size but nice shape and reasonably productive. In fact the most productive open pollinated bell that I have grown." @BookerC1 added, "These are a very popular variety of bell pepper. The ones I grew tended to be short and fairly square, most with four lobes. Great for making stuffed peppers, as they stand upright well in a baking dish. The downside is that these seemed very prone to blight in my garden."
#4: Banana Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Sweet Banana') @SongofJoy says, "Thrives in my container garden." @BookerC1 added, "These long, horn-shaped peppers are prolific and easy to grow. Sometimes the fruits are nearly as tall as the plant itself! Great mild flavor, and they can be eaten at various stages of maturity."
#5: Ghost Pepper (Capsicum sinense) @Horseshoe says, "Bhut Jolokia (a.k.a. "Ghost Peppers") was considered the hottest available until 2009 when Trinidad Scorpion was proven to be higher on the Scoville scale." @DanCarmona added, "Bhut Jolokia Capsicum: .Chinense Origin: .India PI: . Scoville units: .1,041,427 Blossom end shape: .pointed Fruit position and shape: .pendant, elongate Fruit size and color: .3¼ "x 1 ¾" green > red Calyx shape: .saucer shaped, toothless Flower: .stellate, small, bell-shaped Petals/Spots: .white/none Filament color: .white Anther color: .blue Habit: . small, usually low bush Stem: .smooth Leaves: .large, uneven Germ. Time: .3 wk. >.3 mo. Maturity: . 95 days Plant height: .24 > 36" Taste: . Uses:· This landrace chile originates from the northeast of India, particularly Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. It belongs to Capsicum chinense family and is known by many names in the different Indian provinces."
#6: New Mexico Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Anaheim') @bitbit says, "A large, mild chili pepper. Makes a great salsa if you don't like things too hot (or combined with other peppers if you do). Production and timing are not as good as other hot peppers (e.g. jalapeno and cayenne), but still earlier and more prolific than bell peppers."
#7: Hot Pepper (Capsicum sinense 'Trinidad Scorpion') @DanCarmona says, "Trinidad Scorpion Capsicum: sinense Origin: Trinidad PI: Flower: stellate, small, bell-shaped Petals: white Spots: no Calyx: Almost toothless Pods: Green > orange > red, 2-3" pods Seed: yellow-brown Leaves: large, uneven Plant height: 18-24" Maturity: 90-120 days Habit: bush Scoville units: 800,000-900,000 Hot!!!!! Germ. Time: 3 wk. >.3 mo. The plants are tall, upright and reasonably productive, bearing 2 to 3-in long, pendant pods, which taper to a sharp pointed "stinger." The pods mature from green to orange and finally red approximately 90-120 days after transplanting (similar to some of the other long-season sinense cultivars)."
#8: Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Fish') @DanCarmona says, "Capsicum: Annuum Origin: USA PI: Flower: erect, stellate Petals: white Spots: no Calyx: toothless Pods: 1" 2" Green > orange > red Seed: yellow-brown Leaves: medium, glabrous Plant height: 18-24" Maturity: 70 Days Habit: sturdy, tree-like bush Scoville units: 25,000-30,000 Germ. Time: 1 wk > 2 mo. Very unusual and ornamental pepper plant is variegated both on the foliage and the peppers themselves. Both leaves and fruit are striped with creamy white and green, with the peppers eventually turning orange-red. Very hot fruit, 1 to 2 in. long, was used to season fish and shellfish in the African-American communities around Baltimore and Philadelphia back in the 1930's and 1940's. Plants are attractive enough just to be used as ornamentals, but peppers are prized for use in cooking."
#9: Hot Banana Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Hungarian Hot Wax') @SongofJoy says, "Prolific and relatively carefree in my zone (7a). Good for growing in containers. The peppers can be harvested to eat and use fresh at any stage or color. They can be either blanched and frozen or chopped fine and frozen for use over the winter in soups and cooking."

#1: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Black Beauty') @Ispahan says, "I currently have 4 of these plants growing in EarthBoxes. They are currently 5 feet tall and absolutely loaded with developing fruit and blossoms. One plant has at least 10 beautiful fruits developing! this is the lassie eggplant used for parmigiana. I love all types of eggplant, but this is the one my grandfather always grew."
#2: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Rosa Bianca') @Newyorkrita says, "I grew this variety of eggplant this year as I read that people really recommended it and liked it. Well, now that I have grown it, I can't figure out why that is so. The plant has had a grand total of 5 eggplants the entire season, three of which are not yet ready to pick. Not a variety that I will be growing again next year."
#3: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Ichiban') @farmerdill says, "My favorite eggplant. Productive and a useful size. The best flavored eggplant on my taste buds. Medium size plant that stands well without staking." @Newyorkrita added, "Medium size plant that grows well and sets long slender fruits. Very tasty. The leaves are unusually pretty for an eggplant as they have deep purple veining and a purple blush along the middle of each leaf."
#4: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Casper') @Newyorkrita says, "I wanted to try a white eggplant again this year, so I decided to try Casper. I bought mine as a transplant, so the plant grew well and had an early start. Truly, I can't taste any difference between the purple eggplant and the white variety. It made eggplants. I picked them and ate them. What else can I say?"
#5: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Fairy Tale') @krancmm says, "This charming compact plant is suitable for containers. The fruit is striped purple and white and tends to form in clusters. Fruit is small, 2"-4" long, with few seeds. Could be sold as a gourmet "baby" vegetable. Disease and insect resistant (so far) in Zone 9b in a container planting. The seed company recommends low nitrogen (for all eggplants) for maximum fruiting."
#6: Eggplant (Solanum melongena 'Little Fingers') @Newyorkrita says, "I do love the small-fruited Asian-type eggplants, and Little Fingers is no exception. Purple, smaller-sized eggplants and plenty of them. Started producing early. They are the perfect size to pick for grilling. Slice in half and grill or cut in sections for kabobs."

About Dave Whitinger
Thumb of 2020-03-17/dave/72728eDave is the Executive Director of National Gardening Association.
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