Our product technicians, whose job it is to trial hundreds of varieties of plants each year, have chosen a few to recommend. The must-try varieties have become favorites on our trial farm. Attributes from the tech's field notes include:
"Great Taste" "Easy to Grow" "High Yields" "Disease Resistance"
"Container Favorite" "Colorful Blooms" "Stands Out at the Market"
Metro PMR Squash: Small Butternut with powdery mildew resistance. Compact vine.
Sarah's Choice Cantaloupe: Avg. 3 lb., oval fruit with thick orange flesh. Good flavor.
Indigo Radicchio: Reliably sure-heading with good flavor. Tolerant to tipburn and resistant to bottom rot.
Vitamin Green: For salad mix and bunching. Slow bolting and will grow for a second harvest. Delicious.
Dancer Eggplant: Widely adaptable, stands out on the farm stand.
Defiant PhR Tomato: Bred for taste and disease resistance.
Megaton Leeks: Long, thick shanks with high uniformity for faster harvest
Five Star Grape Tomato: Our best tasting grape tomato. Bred by Johnny's.
Bay Meadows Broccoli: Beautiful blue-green well domed heads. Best for spring, summer plantings.
Tasty Bites Melon: Sweet, rich, aromatic cantaloupe-like melon with an above average shelf life.
Cheyenne Pepper: A sweet, hot cayenne for fresh use. Great for frying and in salsas!
Virtus Chicory: Romaine-like greenleaf/summercrisp can be grown right through the summer.
Corinto OG Cucumber: Excellent flavor with good disease resistance package.
Patterson Onion: Extremely long storage. Larger and potentially higher yielding than Copra.
Happy Rich Broccoli: Great taste (sweeter taste than broccoli raab), high yielding.
Miniature Colored Popcorn: Adorable ears are perfect for fall decorations.
Black Summer Pac Choi: The most attractive dark green Pac Choi we have ever seen, uniform yields.
Wrinkled Crinkled Cress: Peppery leaves are an ideal addition to mesclun mix; wrinkled leaves add loft and texture to the mix.
Claytonia: Ideal for winter salad mix, will grow well in unheated hoophouses.
Honey Bear Acorn Squash: Excellent flavor and sweetness, personal size.
Bonbon Buttercup Squash: The best tasting and yielding buttercup.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard: Sets the standard for chard looks and flavor.
Sun Gold Tomato: The best tasting cherry tomato in the universe, incredible tangy flavor.
Little Baby Flower Watermelon: Early, productive and delicious.
Fortex Green Bean: Our best-tasting bean, yields for 3 weeks, can be harvested short or long and is easy on the back since it is a pole bean.
Caraflex Cabbage: Great sweet, crunchy taste for cole slaw and cabbage salad. Fast and easy to grow. Unusual, attractive appearance.
Toscano Kale: Best tasting kale; can harvest from July into November from one planting.
Winner Kohlrabi: Quick, easy to grow and excellent raw or cooked.
Carmen Pepper: Early, high-yielding, and extra sweet and flavorful.
Italian Large Leaf Basil: Sweet pesto type with high yields. 4" leaves.
Cinnamon Basil: Sweet cinnamon aroma with distinctive purple veins. Beautiful for casual flower bouquets.
Caribe Cilantro: Slow bolting with good bulk.
Fernleaf Dill: Dwarf dill with high leaf yields. 1992 AAS winner.
Ellagance Purple Lavender: Bushy, well-branched plants. An excellent alternative to vegetative varieties.
Britton Shiso: Eye-catching green leaves with red undersides. Good micro or salad mix item, or use larger leaves as sushi wraps and plate garnishes.
Borage: Beautiful blue flowers shaped like stars are a favorite of beneficial insects and great as edible flowers.
Purple Ruffles Basil: Stunning rich color works as a garden accent or as a cut flower.
Titan Parsley: Simply the BEST tasting parsley!
Saltwort: Interesting plant with lovely, salty crunch!
Recommended Cover Crops
Buckwheat: Fast, dependable cover crop, germinates quickly, smothers weeds before they get a chance to grow. Captures phosphorus and holds for successive crops.
Oats: Fast growth, likes cool weather so can be planted early spring through mid fall. Winter kills, often grown with a clover, provides organic matter, stays green well into the winter.
Field peas: Fast growth in cool weather, best planted early spring or early fall, adds organic matter and nitrogen, can be harvested either as shoots or dry soup peas, good smothering crop.
Dwarf Essex Rape: Fall growth, likes cooler weather, withstands frosts well, blue-green crop, will overwinter in mild areas or in warm winters.
Crimson clover: Good choice for underseeding: planting in established crops to provide cover after main crop has been harvested, fast growth once established, flowers second year can be cut for bouquets.
Flashback Mix Calendula: Edible mix of bicolor petals. High percentage of double and semidouble flowers.
Zahara Zinnia: Tolerates humidity, heat, and drought. Resistant to mildew and leaf spot.
Purple Queen Agrostemma: Awesome direct-seeded flower with lovely, airy blossoms.
Black Knight: A fast bolting edible carrot that makes a nice cut flower addition.
Pampas Plume Celosia: Perfect filler with masses of soft, feathery plumes in scarlet, orange, bright yellow, pink, cream.
Choice Mix Centaurea: Classic cornflowers. Blue, pink, red, and white. A great edible flower for decorating desserts.
Sensation Mix Cosmos: An easy-to-grow favorite. Lavender, pink, magenta, and white.
Amazon Neon Dianthus: Bright bold flowers on long, tough stems. Pelleted seed. 3 colors — Rose Magic, Purple, Cherry.
Southern Belle Mix Hibiscus: Gorgeous 9-10" flowers. Blooms of red, rose pink, white, and pink and white bicolor. Hummingbirds love them!
Frosted Explosion Grass: Airy flower plumes seem to burst from the center of the plant resembling a Fourth of July sparkler.
Jewel Mix Nasturtium: Delicious edible flower. 2" blooms in red, pink, orange, and yellow held above light green foliage.
Scarlet Runner Bean: A hummingbird favorite. Fast climber. Beans are edible and delicious when young.
Mammoth Choice Mix Sweet Pea: Mix of deep rose, rose pink, salmon, scarlet, white, lavender, medium blue, and deep burgundy.
Buttercream Sunflower: An early bloomer with great color and habit.
Giant Sungold Sunflower: Fully-double, yellow-gold flowers.
Little Becka Sunflowers: Unusual eye-catching brown dwarf sunflower is early to flower and produces large quantities.
Oklahoma Formula Mix Zinnia: Recommended by the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
Flashback Mix Calendula: Vibrant color on plants that bloom all season long and withstand a mild frost.
Pampas Plume Celosia: Great mix of colors on this feathery plant.
Marble Arch Mix II Salvia: Dense plants make a stunning hedge in a garden.
Peach Passion Sunflower: Branching sunflower with petite, pale yellow blooms that are perfect for cutting.
Recommended Tools and Supplies
Quick Hoops Low Tunnel Benders: Extend the growing season for cold-hardy crops at 1/20th the cost of a hoophouse. 4' or 6' diam.
Quick Hoops High Tunnel Bender: Enables you to build a 12' wide, 7' high tunnels of any desired length out of locally available 1 3/8" chain link fence top rail.
Agribon+ Row Cover: Rain-permeable, lightweight blankets of spunbonded polypropylene capture warmth, protect from wind, insulation from frost, and are the most effective - and least toxic - form of insect control. Available in five protection grades, and numerous sizes.
Tufflite Nursery Clear Greenhouse Film: The preferred winter covering for Quick Hoops Low Tunnels. UV resistant, 4 mils thick.
Tufflite IV Greenhouse Film: The preferred covering for Quick Hoops High Tunnels. UV resistant, 6 mils thick, with light transmission comparable to glass.
Knitted Shade Cloth 30%: 100% UV stabilized black poly. Light weight, good ventilation. May be cut to length without fraying.
BioTelo Biodegradable Mulch: Now available in a 500 ft roll! Cover with soil or plow under at season end - nothing left to remove in the spring.
Hatfield Transplanters: Transplant seedlings from a standing position right through plastic mulch. Three sizes: 11/2", 2", or 21/2".
Soil Block Makers: Make your own seed starting blocks. Rugged zinc-plated construction. "Air-pruning" prevents transplant shock. Various sizes from " to 4". NEW! Hand-held 5 Soil Blocker.
Tilther: Prepare perfect seedbeds. Lightweight tiller creates perfect tilth within the top 2" of your seed bed, thoroughly incorporating compost and fertilizer. Powered by your rechargeable drill.
Hand Hoe: Well-balanced, lightweight for weeding and cultivating. Our favorite short-handled hoe.
Bed Preparation Rake: Creates perfect seed beds for successful precision planting. This Eliot Coleman favorite is so light, the user can support its entire weight even when fully extended.
Stirrup Hoes: Thin, oscillating blade carves through tough weeds just below the soil surface on both the push and pull strokes. Great for footpath areas. 31/4", 5", and 7" widths.
Collinear Hoes: Our best precision tool makes weed control fast, easy, and enjoyable. Eliot Coleman's finest work makes weeding surprisingly enjoyable. 3" or 7" wide standard blades or 7" replaceable blade.
Glaser Wheel Hoe: Fast, accurate, quiet weed control between rows. Strong, lightweight, and highly maneuverable. Several times faster than a hand hoe. Many optional attachments available to enhance its capabilities.
Johnny's Broadforks: Deeply aerate while preserving soil structure and minimizing weed seed surfacing. These deep-tillage tools, designed long ago in Europe and redeveloped by Eliot Coleman, are a favorite among Johnny's customers. 101/2" long curved tines. Available in three widths and one model for root harvest.
Jang JP1 Clean Seeder: Precisely singulates very small raw seed to medium-size and pelleted seed. Optimizes spacing, saves seeds, and reduces labor. Extremely versatile with a multitude of quick-change rollers available for many different seed sizes and spacings.