18 Incredible Edibles to Plant Now

edibles to plant now

‘Swenson Swedish’ snow pea

Photographs courtesy of seed companies.

Don’t bore your beds! Instead of growing a rerun of last year’s vegetable lineup, kick that kitchen garden up a notch by supplementing reliable favorites with new, unusual, and oft-overlooked varieties. Which ones? We asked the horticulture honchos at six top seed companies to divulge their current organic and heirloom edible obsessions.

Margaret Higby, seed specialist at High Mowing Organic Seeds, Wolcott, VT

What’s hot now? “Close to 300 times sweeter than sugar, our new easy-to-grow herb ‘Candy’ stevia yields tons of leaves you can use fresh or dried as an alternative to sucrose.”

Underrated (but amazing): “Fast, foolproof, and gorgeous, mini ‘Pomegranate Crunch’ red romaine can be planted close together to shade out weeds, for a high yield per square foot.”

Personal favorite: “I rely on raw ‘Caraflex’ cabbage for coleslaw. The uniform heads also boast good wrapper leaves for protection from insects and sun.”

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edibles to plant now

‘Candy’ stevia

 

Renee Shepherd, founder of Renee’s Garden, Felton, CA

What’s hot now? “There’s a lot of interest in our cut-and-come-again ‘Tuscan Baby Leaf’ kale. You scatter the seeds like grass for fast results that you can keep harvesting for months.”

Underrated (but amazing): ‘Amsterdam Seasoning’ celery produces abundant glossy fronds—not stalks—that look like large-leaf parsley. I dry and use them to flavor soups in winter when the price of celery skyrockets.”

Personal favorite: ‘Crispy Color Duo’ kohlrabi look like little flying saucers, taste like a cross between an apple and a turnip, and shine sliced thin and eaten raw as a crunchy, low-calorie snack.”

edibles to plant now

‘Crispy Color Duo’ kohlrabi

 

Ira Wallace, member-owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Mineral, VA

What’s hot now? “Brought to the States in the 1600s by slaves, the ‘Carolina African Runner’ peanut was believed to be extinct. But we’ve built up enough inventory of this sweet and oily variety to share.”

Underrated (but amazing): “Flavorful but not too strong, ‘Yellow Potato’ onions mature in bunches like shallots. Some old timers grow this heirloom exclusively since it’s drought-resistant and stores so well.”

Personal favorite: “Oh my goodness, I love ‘Seminole’ pumpkin. This Native American variety from Florida is ideal for hot, humid, disease-prone areas, and it’s sweeter than butternut squash.”

edibles to plant now

‘Carolina African Runner’ peanut

 

Peter Zuck, vegetable product manager at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Winslow, ME

What’s hot now? “Generally the first to ripen in the field, our cocktail-sized ‘Glacier’ tomato has a rich flavor with hints of vanilla. It’s pretty remarkable for something that early to taste that good.”

Underrated (but amazing): ‘Divergent’ melon fits this bill. You won’t find many melons that can succeed when grown organically, and this three-pounder has proved productive, forgiving, and aromatic.”

Personal favorite: “Deep-red and shaped like a bullhorn, the vigorous ‘Carmen’ pepper has the best flavor on earth! Roast this Italian frying variety, and you’ll see what I mean: Unbelievable!”

edibles to plant now

‘Glacier’ tomato

 

Tom Wahlberg, seed house manager at Seed Savers Exchange, Decorah, IA

What’s hot now? “It’s hard not to eat every ‘Swenson Swedish’ snow pea off the trellis. Carried to Minnesota from Sweden in 1876, this vigorous climber was unavailable in the States for decades—until now.”

Underrated (but amazing): “I don’t expect ‘Blue Jade’ corn to stay a secret for long. Roughly three feet tall and fat like a bush, it produces multiple blue-kerneled ears per stalk and grows well in containers.”

Personal favorite: ‘Lemon Mint’ bee balm is great for cooking and flower arranging. The self-seeding annual sports citrus-flavored leaves and showy purple blossoms that attract bees.”

edibles to plant now

‘Swenson Swedish’ snow pea

 

Heron Breen, plant researcher at Fedco Seeds, Clinton, ME

What’s hot now? “We discovered the ‘2028CL Coral’ carrot in a Spanish catalog and added it to our 2017 lineup. Pull the coreless pinkish-orange delicacies when they’re finger-sized.”

Underrated (but amazing): “With so many folks shying away from wheat and other grains, I see ‘Red Noodle’ beans taking the place of soba. The 18-inch burgundy pods mellow when sautéed or fried.”

Personal favorite: “Forget those other pink tomatoes: the Boars, Artisans, and Indigos. The ‘Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye’ tomato possesses real flavor, plus port wine—colored flesh and shiny, metallic stripes.”

edibles to plant

‘2028CL Coral’ carrot

18 Incredible Edibles to Plant Now