Seven edibles to grow in your 2019 garden

Are you perusing through seed catalogs, narrowing down what to grow in your garden next spring? Let me add to your list.

In 2018, I grew a variety of edible plants outdoors, including broccoli, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries, celery, cucumbers, herbs, spinach and beets. All plants were grown in my Zone 6b garden in either raised beds, grow bags or directly in the ground.

Out of everything I grew, these were seven varieties that performed well in my garden. Coincidentally, they were also varieties that I grew for the first time.  

Spoiler alert: I plan to grow them next year, too.

'Mad Hatter F1' Pepper

All-America Selections Winner (2017)

I was able to taste this pepper during the 2017 California Veggie Trials and enjoyed the crunch and flavor. The "wings" of the pepper remain sweet but if you let them ripen to red the flavor intensifies.

This year I purchased seeds and grew four plants in containers and three in the ground in my front border by the road. Both locations did well, producing large plants (at least two feet tall) with a large yield. 

Next year I will start them indoors a week or two sooner (I started them on April 9) because many of the peppers I harvested came in toward the end of the season.  

I purchased my seeds from Park Seed.

'Little Crunch' Container Snap Peas 

This snap pea has been bred for growing in containers. I grew mine in the Eco Garden System along with another pea variety. The vines grew up to 30 inches tall and produced numerous crunchy, sweet pea pods.

I went outside often to snack on peas straight from the vine. The plants continued to produce peas through the end of June — slightly longer than usual in my Northeast garden. 

Renee's Garden provided me with complimentary seeds to grow in my garden.

'Habanero Primero Red' Pepper

I grew this variety in a grow bag and it yielded so many beautiful, bright orange/red hot peppers. 

'Habanero Primero Red' is marketed as being the earliest ripening habanero on the market with one third the heat of standard habaneros. 

As you can see from the photo, there was plenty to share with this variety. 

This is a new variety for 2019 that PanAmerican Seed sent me to try out in my garden.

'Garden Gem' Tomato

This semi-determinate tomato was plum-shaped and packed a big  punch of flavor. 

'Garden Gem' offers disease resistance that has proven to be a necessary requirement in my garden. This was one of three tomato varieties I grew this year, and 'Garden Gem' was planted in a grow bag next to an heirloom variety. The heirloom ended up contracting some sort of virus or blight, but this plant remained untouched. 

This variety was perfect for snacking or for adding to salads. Not too many seeds inside and held up well to slicing. 

I received a sample plant from Proven Winners to grow in my garden. 

'Midnight Snack' Tomato

All-America Selections Winner (2017)

This was another variety I was introduced to during the 2017 Veggie Trials in California. 

I really like the taste of this large cherry tomato, with its glossy black/purple skin with a red blush. (The unique color is thanks to the anthocyanin pigments.) 

'Midnight Snack' is an indeterminate variety that I grew in a grow bag this season. It grew about four feet tall and was easily supported with a tomato cage. Next year I might try growing it in the ground instead.  

PanAmerican Seed sent me a small plant to grow in my garden.

Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry

This was a plant that I grew from seed and battled the chipmunks for all summer long. (I had no idea it would be such a hit with them or with me.)

This heirloom Polish variety has been around since the 1830s, producing a sweet citrus flavor fruit that can be eaten fresh or made into jams or pies.

I grew two plants in one grow bag, and they reached about two feet high and at least three feet wide. The fruit grows inside a husk — when it turns yellow, it's ready to harvest. Next year I need to protect it better from the critters so I'll have more to bake with.

I purchased my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

'Diva' Cucumber 

All-America Selections Winner (2002)

I grew this 'Diva' in my Eco Garden System using a trellis for support. This plant was my second crop in the Eco Garden System (after the snap peas) and it grew quickly from seed (even when planted in mid-July). 

The best part about this cucumber is that it was sweet and not bitter. Ideally it should be harvested at 6-8 inches, but if you leave it a little longer, it still tasted fine. 

'Diva' produces all female flowers (gynoecious, parthenocarphic) and does not require pollen to set fruit, meaning high yields. The plant is also resistant to scab and tolerant to powdery and downy mildews. 

I purchased my seeds from Park Seed. 


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