The best vegetable varieties

by Adam Pasco

[...] my seed and plant order has now grown to such an extent that I'm going to need to dig up half my flower garden to accommodate them all!

Adam Pasco with freshly harvested sweetcorn cobsAlthough I started planning what crops I'd like to grow this summer well before Christmas, my plans have just been turned upside down. The February issue of Gardeners' World Magazine contains a feature on '100 Best Veg' varieties, an inspirational list of crops I just have to grow. A panel of 22 'grow your own' enthusiasts have nominated their all-time favourite crops, and it's quite a selection.

Who could resist growing Potato 'BF15', which Monty Don describes as "the best boiled potato I've ever eaten", or Tomato 'Gardener's Delight' - still Alan Titchmarsh's favourite. Or how about Carol Klein's choice of Beetroot 'Boltardy', which she describes as "always delicious … a joy as baby beets and unsurpassed as mature roots". The late John Cushnie, never a fan of vegetables, chose Tomato 'Ailsa Craig' as "unbeaten for flavour, perfect for growing in an unheated greenhouse".

The list goes on, and with 100 tempting crops my seed and plant order has now grown to such an extent that I'm going to need to dig up half my flower garden to accommodate them all!

My personal nominations for the list include:

1. Courgette 'Tromboncino'

2. Dwarf French Bean 'Maxi'

3. Mangetout 'Oregon Sugar Pod'

4. Sweetcorn 'Rising Sun'

5. Watercress 'Aqua'

And if I had to pick just one? Well, I trialled sweetcorn 'Rising Sun' last summer, and the memory of eating those crisp, sweet, delicious cobs in August still remains. My seed is ordered, and I can't wait to sow it in April for crops this summer. That's one down - I now just need space for the 99 others!

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Gardeners' World Web User 09/02/2010 at 11:16

Many a year my neighbours are regaled by the sight of vegetable plants in among the shrubs and flowers in my front garden, even though the back garden has enough to feed a regiment. I too fall victim to the wonderful variety available, but it pays off when you get lovely surprises like the huge tubers of "Swift" potatoes which boiled and sauteed are to die for, so early in the season. The Kenya bean "Safari" gives you basketful after basketful. Anyway, sweetcorn plants are pretty in themselves and red banaha shallots are beautiful.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/02/2010 at 17:59

Personally I can't see why anyone would want to devote time, space and cost to growing such tiny mini-cobs when for the same time and space they could enjoy delicious full-sized sweetcorn. What is the point of baby corn?

Gardeners' World Web User 14/02/2010 at 12:45

I agree with Adam. I once tried growing mini-cobs and found 2 things: a) a much smaller harvest overall b) also I forgot that you have to harvest them MUCH earlier in the season than the standard type - by the time I thought to pick them, they were already well past their best & only really good for chicken feed ... Last year I grew the variety Applause - Yummy!

Gardeners' World Web User 18/02/2010 at 09:46

Hi im new to the blog but have been reading some of the great comments and good advice so would love to come on board.I love gardening and grow flowers at home and have an allotment where i grow as much as i can .

Gardeners' World Web User 06/03/2010 at 08:21

some very good advice

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