Contributed by: Sharee Solow, Freelance Landscape Designer, Consultant, Lecturer


The good thing about vegetables is that if you are growing from seed, it isn't too expensive to try new ones each year. To shortcut past all the catalogues you can go to the National Garden Bureau and get the "Cliff Notes." These are some that look really perfect for me.

Beet 'Gourmet Blend':  Four colors in one packet means I'll be seeing a bowl of multi-colored, cute, round beets in 60 days.

Carrot 'Rainbow Blend':  Colorful vegetables are super popular right now and you can have five colors from one packet which would be really fun for a children's garden.

Corn 'Neon Pink': I have no space, but I know corn looks really good as a tall accent plant in a container and it sure would be fun to have pink corn to try making popcorn from scratch!

Lettuce 'Sweet Valentine':  Like most people, I don't eat enough vegetables and I don't like bitter things. This red-leaved lettuce will be beautiful mixed into my flowerbed until it's barely big enough to eat. That's when it will still be sweet enough for me and at 10", I think one will make a whole salad so it can be fresh every time I need one.

Pea 'Patio Pride': This is an all-American winner for vegetables. It's patio-sized at 12" and it you can harvest in only forty days.

Radish 'Fiesta Blend':  I know it's a theme, but when I grew up, to grow radishes you had to buy a packet of each color. Now you can get all five of these fancy ones in one packet. These are so easy they are child's play, and you can pick them only one month after they go into the ground.

Squash 'Honeybaby':  This is one for small gardens. You get the same sweet squash for soup or baking in the oven, but it's a single-serving size at 7". The plant is apartment-sized  to spill a couple feet out of a container, or it can be staked (tied to a railing in my case).

Tomato 'Lady Bug':  You have got to grow a tomato in the summer, and I like to have a pile of little ones for my salad. These sweeties are 1" and are certified organic seeds.

Tomato 'Oxheart':  It's hard not to think of Italian food when I'm looking at tomatoes. This is the heirloom 'cuore di bue' which translates from Italian as ox heart. This is the one you slice to make a beautiful Caprese salad with basil and fresh mozzarella. Now I need a glass of wine.

Watermelon 'Mini Love':  I adore watermelon, but it's hard to commit to a huge one and presliced plastic boxes are not nearly as good. This one fits into the refrigerator, so you can slice it for dinner and not have leftovers. They make an attractive vine to train around a patio where you can watch them grow up.