Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Favorite Varieties - 2015 Summer Garden

Romanesco zucchini
Variety is the spice of life, right? With that in mind, I thought I would share with you my favorite varieties from our summer garden. I tried several new varieties this year and many of them were hits! Maybe you will find something new to try next year.

I think the most shocking winner for me was the Romaneso zucchini. I am not a lover of zucchini, but this type has won me over with its delicately crisp texture and sweet flavor. Everyone who tried it said the same thing, "This is the best zucchini I've ever tasted." With raised longitudinal ridges, it creates beautiful gear-shaped slices. I love it lightly sauteed in butter and sprinkled with tarragon.
The tomatoes always steal the show in the summer garden. I grew 12 varieties and my favorite was Black Krim. This is a hearty, robust, flavorful tomato.
Black Krim tomato
One look at the deep color and you can just imagine the rich complex flavor. It tastes how it looks.
Black Krim tomato
Pineapple Hawaiian tomato is light and fruity. This was my most prolific grower. The fruit is incredibly sweet, and when the sun hits it the bright orange color glows. It has a pink blush at the bottom too, making it even prettier.
Pineapple Hawaiian tomato
Pineapple Hawaiian tomato
What a treat it was to share my Black Krim and Pineapple Hawaiian with my dear friend, Jane, on our little get away to Ventura Beach. This is why we put up with the traffic to live in L.A. One hour in the car and we are at the beach, at the ski resort in the mountains, in the desert, or in farm country.
The tomatoes were fabulous with pita chips and red pepper hummus, topped with fresh tarragon and basil.
When I bit into my first Red Pear Abruzzese tomato, it finally made sense why tomatoes are considered a fruit. By far the sweetest tomato I have ever eaten, this one is like candy.
Red Pear Abruzzese tomato
Red Pear Abruzzese tomato
Out of the 12 pepper varieties I planted, my favorite are these Italian heirlooms. Quadrato Rosso D' Asti is a red sweet pepper which is deliciously flavorful with a slightly spicy finish.
Quadrato Rosso D' Asti bell pepper
Its yellow cousin is Quadrato Giallo D' Asti. Isn't it beautiful? It's also crisp, sweet and tasty.
Quadrato Giallo D' Asti bell pepper
This little melon is not much to look at, but it is fantastic. Sakata's Asian Melon is a small crisp melon that is intensely sweet with a hint of cucumber flavor. I will grow this one every year.

Prosperosa eggplant is stunning with its embre effect. The plant was a prolific producer and its upright growth habit takes less room than my spreading Kamo eggplant. 

I purchased all of my seeds from Annie's Heirloom Seeds. (I am not compensated by them in any way, I am just a customer.) One thing I like about them is they have collections of seeds which makes trying new varieties easy. This bush bean collection was just fabulous. They call it "Annie's Rainbow Beans" and it contains Contender, Golden Wax, Royal Burgundy, and Dragon's Tongue. 
And finally there are the Cosse Violetta pole beans. With flowers this pretty, and pods that are striped then mature to a deep violet, these are a stunning (and delicious) addition to the summer garden.

I hope you are inspired to try a new variety next year. Now I am off to start looking through seed catalogues for unusual additions to try in my winter garden. 

Oh, the possibilities!


  1. Lovely photography and a superb introduction to some varieties I haven't grown but that will change. Thanks for sharing!