Favorite Varieties of Vegetables and Flowers

Experiment with these vegetable and flower varieties suggested by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Ecovillage gardeners.

By Staff
1 / 7
2 / 7
3 / 7
4 / 7
5 / 7
6 / 7
7 / 7


Vegetable Variety Comments
Bush Beans Provider Very reliable, tasty, and high-yielding.
Fava (or Broad) Beans Planted–as early as peas–in future tomato bed. Used to fix nitrogen and to help disinfect soil for the upcoming tomato crop.
Pole Beans Kentucky Wonder Highly prolific. Tastes better than any bush bean.
Beets (Early Wonder) Tall Top Yields good tops and roots. Reliable and early.
Formanova An easy-to-grow, cylindrical beet.
Broccoli Bravo An excellent germinator and strong grower.
Cabbage Darkri Hybrid Produces a small head, but matures early and offers good taste.
Early Jersey Wakefield An easy-to-grow, pointy-headed standard variety.
Carrots Kinko 4″ The sweetest-tasting carrot we’ve found. Matures early.
Nantes Fancy A good all-around, easy-to-grow carrot.
Cauliflower Dominant LD A strong, late-maturing variety.
Self-Blanche You don’t have to wrap the leaves of this one!
Snow Crown Hybrid An All-America Award winner.
Celery Utah


Quite reliable. We’ve had no disease or bug trouble with this one.
Corn Golden Bantam A dependable standard variety.
Cucumbers Marketmore 80 The best and most disease-resistant cucumber we’ve found. Good for pickling or for eating.
Garlic Silver Skin A garlic’s garlic. Offers excellent taste in good-sized cloves.
Jicama A big root crop that needs a long season (we start ours indoors in March) and tastes like water chestnuts.
Kale Dwarf (Siberian)

A good compact variety. Not as curly as some, so it’s easy to wash.
Lettuce Buttercrunch A good “old standard”.
Ruby A beautiful red lettuce that’s flavorful and tolerates heat well.
Ithaca MI The easiest to grow–and best-tasting–head lettuce we’ve raised.
Onions Wonder of Pompeii or Eclipse Excellent for greens or as pearl onions.
Granex 33 A sweet “Vidalia” onion. (Hastings)
Yellow Globe Danvers The one we grow for storage.
Parsnips Holly Crown Our best producer.
Peas Sugar Bon The quality’s not as good as Sugar Snap’s, but it comes in super-early.
Sugar Snap The best edible pod pea. Don’t pick it until the pod is filled out.
Wando Our favorite shelling pea. Heat-tolerant and high-yielding.
Pepper Anaheim TMR 23 Mildly hot, good for stuffing. Our choice for using in chiles rellenos.
Cayenne Long Red

Our best little hot one.
Yolo Wonder A fine, reliable bell pepper.
Potato Kennebec A good-tasting, easy-to-grow storage potato.
Red Pontiac Great for an early crop.
Pumpkin Connecticut Field A care-free, huge pumpkin that’s good for meat, seeds, or jack-o’-lanterns.
Radishes Pontvil Cylindrical, with excellent flavor. It makes for a nice break from all those little red globes.
Daikon Tokinashi A versatile, all-seasons daikon type.
Spinach Bloomsdale Longstanding A good standard variety.
Summer Squash Yellow Crookneck Our choice for the summer crop. (Johnny’s or Herbst)
Sweet Potatoes Puerto Rico A meaty, buttery bush potato that doesn’t sprawl too much.
Swiss Chard Fordhook Giant The most reliable chard we’ve found.
Tomato Whopper The most disease-resistant kind we know of (an important feature in our blight-prone locale). Whoppers are big and offer good–but not exquisite–taste.
Roma VF The best paste tomato we’ve grown.
Turnip Purple Top White Globe An easy-to-grow standard. We save and use the seed.
Winter Squash Waltham Butternut A classic beauty that’s relatively easy to grow.


Flower Variety Comments
Acroclinium (Sunray or Everlasting) Best Mixed Annual. A small, bushy, long-stemmed flower that makes a most enjoyable everlasting bouquet.
Armeria (Thrift of Sea Pink) Perennial. A compact, grass-like plant with clover-type blossoms. Good cut or dried.
Calendula Fiesta Gitana Annual. Yields lots of small flowers.
Pacific Beauty Mixed Annual. Early and tall. A good cut flower that also attracts beneficial insects.
Cleome (Spider Flower) Mixed Colors Annual. Pretty, tall, self-sowing, and good for edging.
Columbine McKana Giants Perennial. An unusual flower (it looks like a falling star) that’s sure to be the talk of the neighborhood.
Cosmos Sensation

Annual. Extremely easy to grow. Offers long-lasting color.
Delphinium Connecticut Yankees Perennial. A light blue to purple long-lasting cut flower. Delphinium blooms early and long, but it’s not easy to grow, being fungus-prone and often needing to be staked.
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) Perennial. A striking beauty that resembles a giant purple daisy.
Hollyhock Annual. A tall flower that’s enjoyed by hummingbirds and is useful in marking off garden plots or as a backdrop for shorter plants.
Iceland Poppy Summer Promise Perennial. An early-blooming and unusually long-lasting poppy. We haven’t had any luck direct-sowing them, though, so we start ours in flats indoors and transplant.
Larkspur Giant Imperial Mixed Annual. This self-sowing flower (good cut) is supposed to deter flea beetles.
Lobelia Blue Stone (Compacta) Annual. Easy to grow. Lobelia produces nice little mounds of intense blue.
Nemophila (Baby Blue Eyes) Insignis Blue Annual. A small, low-growing, quick-blooming, and beautiful blue flower.
Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco) Sweet-Scented Sensation Mixed Annual. A very sweet evening-scented bloom that helps make late work in the garden pleasant.
Rudbeckia (Gloriosa Daisy) Marmalade

Perennial (but we treat it as an annual). An easy-to-grow, long-blooming dwarf cut flower.
Salpiglossis (Velvet Flower) Dwarf Friendship Mixture Annual. Temperamental and poisonous, but amazingly beautiful. Displays astonishing patterns in its tubular throat.
Snapdragon Hybrid Rocket Mixed

Perennial, grown as an annual. Exquisite and very dependable.
Stachys (Lamb’s Ear)

 Perennial. An unusual, eye-catching plant with gray green woolly leaves and lavender flowers (which honeybees love).
Statice Sinuata Grandstand Mixture Annual. An unusual-looking bloom that’s a “must” for dry flower arrangements.
Stock Evening Scented Annual. Lilac-colored, not very good-looking, but it gives oft a surprisingly strong, delightful fragrance in the evening.
Trysomic Giant Imperial Blend Annual. A sweet-smelling cut flower.
Strawflower Helichrysum Monstrosum Mixed Annual. The easiest to grow, most widely used dry strawflower.
Sweet Pea Royal Family Mixture Annual. A lovely, long-stemmed cut flower with charming fragrance and lots of color.
Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower) Torch A tall plant (up to six feet) with an orange flower. It makes a nice border plant. Bumblebees and hummingbirds favor it.
Valerian (Garden Heliotrope) Perennial. An herb grown for making our own Biodynamic Preparation 507 (used in compost). The root attracts earthworms.

For new garden ideas, see Favorite Flowers And Vegetables at the Ecovillage.

For seeds Park, Johnny’s, Stokes, Nichols and Thompson & Morgan.

  • Updated on Jan 1, 2022
  • Originally Published on Jan 17, 2011
Tagged with: flower varieties, vegetable varieties
Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368