Grow the Best Seed Varieties Suggested by Readers

Brook Elliott shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers selections of the best seed varieties to grow on your homestead.

| August/September 2003

  • Boothby's Blonde cucumbers.
    Boothby's Blonde cucumbers.
    DAVID CAVAGNARO
  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader choices for the best seed varieties to grow.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader choices for the best seed varieties to grow.
    PHOTO: DAVID CAVAGNARO

  • Boothby's Blonde cucumbers.
  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader choices for the best seed varieties to grow.

Learn about MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers choices for the best seed varieties for your garden.

Reader Favorite Seed Variety Recipes

Cucumber Salad with Paprika Recipe

Great taste is one of the biggest reasons to grow your own garden, yet many of the best-tasting varieties are becoming hard to find because our current food system often values shelf life and shipping qualities more than taste and tenderness. MOTHER'S Cream of the Crops series presents the best seed varieties recommended by our readers.

Among many delicious melons that are too fragile to ship, the French cantaloupes are at the top of my list. Perfectly sized for a half-melon serving, the French Charentais types have thick, firm, orange flesh and a small seed cavity



When ripe, their smooth, blue-green skin turns yellow, and the melons slip easily from their stems. If those signs of readiness are not enough, just the aroma of a ripe Charentais in the patch is a dead giveaway. The flavor is perfumed and tropically exotic, too — distinct from the more typical netted-skinned varieties.

Amy Goldman writes in her book, Melons For the Passionate Grower, that the Charentais is a type of melon (many commercial varieties exist) that originated in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France, circa 1920. "It is a refined cantaloupe," she says, "free of the blemishes and warts of its ancestors."






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