How to Choose Plant Varieties
How do you know what plant varieties to choose when you’re staring at a big ole stack of seed packets or catalogs? There are several ways you can narrow this down so you can choose the ones you like best. One of my favorite ways is to read all of the descriptions in the catalogs. I love reading those descriptions because they are like love letters about each vegetable or fruit.
Seed catalogs are full of great information
Check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds to see what I’m talking about. Seed catalogs also have a ton of great growing information. You can learn a lot from them so keep them throughout the growing season and read that great stuff!
Check out this R.H. Shumway’s Illustrated Garden Guide. Is this thing not stunning? I love all the tidbits of info available for each variety. I’m in awe.
Gardening friends know their favorite plant varieties to grow
Another great way to find the perfect varieties is to ask around to different gardeners you know. They may even have some seeds they saved to share. Then you can see for yourself why they like that kind so much. If you plant heirloom seeds, you can save your seeds from year to year. Click here to see how to save seed.
Farmer’s markets are great resources for plant variety information
Another great way to get information is from the farmer’s market. Ask the growers what kinds they are growing. You know they will grow great in your area just like recommendations from your gardening friends on plant varieties. You can also taste them right there.
My favorite grower at our market is named Christine. She grows the VERY BEST green beans I have ever tasted. I asked her what kind she grows. They are called Jade green beans. Now I buy that kind to grow too. Don’t worry Christine, I never grow enough. I’ll be there to see you.
Bloggers have great ideas on plant varieties they like
I love reading blogs, especially from bloggers that live in Oklahoma, to see what varieties they like to plant. I love advice from any gardener, but if they live in Oklahoma, those plant varieties will be especially good for me to grow here. One of the first garden blogs I ever started following, Red Dirt Ramblings, has this great article about what her favorite varieties are. I love to pick something from this list every year!
Check out what some other bloggers think.
Click here for a list from the “experts” on what their favorite plant varieties are too.
Last but not least, you can read about Thomas Jefferson’s favorite plant varieties here. I love thinking about gardens of history.
Little Sprouts Favorite Plant Varieties
We have some tried and true favorites around here at Little Sprouts. The kids enjoy things that are unusual or super bright or pretty.
We love bright lights swiss chard. The stems are bold, bright colors and the kids love seeing it grow in the garden.
We also love to grow rainbow carrots (a real rainbow of colors, yellow, white, red, orange, yellow and purple). So much fun for the kids. The biggest, longest straightest carrots we’ve grown were Nantes carrots. They’ve always done great for us!
Our favorite okra is Star of David. You don’t grow okra? Well here in Oklahoma it’s a staple. The kids love to see the huge stalks that get upwards of 14 feet tall or more, right in our raised beds. The pods are super fat and super delicious. I love preparing them because it takes less time to cut and bread the big ones than those tiny thin ones. I also like Clemson Spineless because they are less pokey. When the plants get super tall and the weather gets hot, I’m usually left to do most of the picking off the top of those huge plants.
Cherokee purple tomatoes are some of the most delicious things I’ve ever put through my lips! We don’t have super good production from them, but when we get one, it’s oh so special. We also love Brandywines and Juliet are prolific and super tasty!
Grow something, anything
Overall, at Little Sprouts, we just love any plant varieties we can grow. It’s such a fun adventure to put a seed in the soil and come up. If you have never grown anything, I urge you to plant SOMETHING, ANYTHING! We have learned so much and the garden gives so many wonderful gifts, they just keep coming and coming. Click here to see some of the benefits of gardening. You won’t be sorry you started.
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