The Best Vegetable Varieties for 1987

A roundup of the best vegetable varieties for 1987, including lettuce, radishes, spinach and greens, turnips, onions, peas, cole crops, beets, corn, carrots, beans, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes.

| March/April 1987

A roundup of the best vegetable varieties for '87 including all your favorite vegetables to grow in your garden. 

The Best Vegetable Varieties for 1987

Strange . . . that's the only word I can think of to characterize the growing conditions here in Kentucky last year. Instead of a season we had a series of mini-seasons, a kind of climatic obstacle course that included a hard frost (22 degrees Fahrenheit!) in mid-April, a soil-parching mid-summer drought (from which some southern farmers may never recover), and (ironically) torrential rains late in the season. Still—despite the whimsical weather—I managed to nurture several hundred new vegetable varieties in my trial gardens. Here are the results: the easiest to grow, the most productive, the tastiest, the hardiest-my candidates for Crops Most Likely to Succeed in your garden in 1987.

Lettuce Varieties

At the top of the lettuce list—and one of the finest new looseleafs to come along in many a year-is Tango, an introduction from W. Atlee Burpee Seed Co. that produces tangy, dark green, endivelike leaves in just 45 days. Tango simply dances circles around the competition. Also, for sheer beauty as well as good flavor, you'll want to try Lollo Rossa, a European type from Shepherd's Seeds that yields lovely, deeply crinkled, dark crimson leaves in 56 days.

Among the butterhead lettuces, Ben Semen from Gleckler's Seedsmen is a standout-it produces a large head and delicious leaves even in warm weather when others fail. Anuenue from Johnny's Selected Seeds and Reine Des Glaces from Le Marche are superb Batavian head lettuces. Anuenue thrives in most any season, and the Le Marche variety has gorgeous, lacy leaves. Three new iceberg types deserve your attention, too: the redleaved Rosa from Geo. W. Park Seed Co.

The crisp, sweet, super productive Wallop from Thompson and Morgan . . . and the tasty, fast yielding Queen Crown from Vesey Seed. All three thrive in cool weather and can be planted very early in the season.

Last, those of you who favor cos (or romaine) lettuce will love Craquerelle Du Midi from The Cook's Garden. This one is an excellent choice for gardeners in warm climates.

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