Spring is a time of renewal and all things seem new and fresh, but after 40+ years of gardening, I have a few tried and true things I simply must plant every year. Mostly because I can or freeze them to prepare meals year-round and they are superior to anything I can buy in the grocery store.
1. Tomatoes: Absolutely! an assortment I love the heirloom varieties pink and red Brandywine being my personal favorite however, I grow a wide variety of red, yellow and green heirlooms all yummy in salads. For canning and freezing into sauces I prefer the paste tomatoes. For snacking the tommy toe and pear varieties.
2. Beans: Green bush beans for eating all through the summer months (they are so easy to freeze). Pole beans that grow tall and must be staked for fresh eating and canning. Scarlett runner beans for the beautiful flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are delicious as canned beans.
3. Cayenne Peppers: For use in soups and pasta dishes. For use dried and ground in sore muscle salves and I just love how beautiful they are dried and strung.
4. Sweet Corn: Love it roasted on the grill. Corn is so easy to freeze I grow two varieties an early corn and a later variety to enjoy all season.
5. Summer Squash: I always have crook neck yellow squash and patty pan whites. They freeze or can for stews or pickles.
6. Winter Squash: My favorites are Bush Buttercup, Red kuri, sweet dumpling, hubbard and cushaw They all keep well in the root cellar and are delicious in soups, baked or in pies
7. Pumpkins: I love to grow pumpkins decorative and eating varieties. If I am short on space I have them climb a trellis.
8. Greens: Mustard, turnip, kale and spinach all are in my garden I keep cutting and harvesting all season.
9. Basil: I always grow the sweet and Genovese varieties for salads and pesto.
10. Sunflowers: They are easy and so happy in the garden. I dry the heads and feed the birds in winter.