Best vegetable to grow?

I was wondering, does anybody have a favorite vegetable to grow? The differences between store-bought and home grown are less than with fruit, but they should still exist.

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Lettuce for sure. I dislike most varieties at the store and they are too big. I prefer to eat younger lettuce. Also mâche because that isn’t available at most stores in the States at all even if I wanted to buy some.

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My favorites are: Long Island Cheese pumpkins they make the best pies, open pollinated Zucchini from Fedco actually have flavor, Alsea Craig onions.

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I think my beets taste so much sweeter than store bought beets. Also eggplants taste better home grown.
I like peppers for how easy they are to grow and how productive they are though I can’t tell any difference in taste compared to store bought.

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Snake beans. I grew them for the first time last year and was a big fan.
Also, tomatoes. There’s no point in buying them from a store.

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Leeks

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I like Bountiful Bush Bean for growing ease and output. I refuse to eat canned green beans because of the bland taste and sad texture, but the homegrown are completely different. My space is limited, so I generally plant a few short rows and then stick plants among other plants or flower beds. I’ve grown Bountiful for several years, and it’s disease resistant, stringless, highly productive over a period of weeks if you pick often, and they hold up in the freezer, so I consider them an easy freezer filler.

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Tomatoes are a must-grow. Far superior to what you can buy at the store. Not sure if I can count them as a vegetable…

For fresh eating, cucumbers can also be way better than store bought. But their flavor degrades quickly and after 24 hours they don’t taste as good IMO.

Peppers are pretty easy if you start them indoors. Carmen type peppers are the most productive for me. Same deal as cucumbers, they are best eaten fresh picked because they aren’t much better than store bought after 24 hours.

Then there’s fresh herbs. I like to grow basil, dill, parsley, thyme, sage and chives. All of these are low effort to maintain.

Spinach is also very easy for me. You just have to remember to plant another round every 2 weeks if you want baby spinach or every 4 weeks if you don’t mind eating larger leaves. It also over-winters well.

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Honestly, these days you can get some pretty darn good tomatoes from the store in season (I still grow them). I think things like leafy greens (especially lettuce) are of so much higher quality when home grown. They are so much fresher, and you can grow much tastier varieties. Potatoes are another one that are really worth your while. Just take time to track down some interesting varieties rather than the typical supermarket fare, but even those will be much better. Lastly, I highly recommend growing heirloom hardneck garlic varieties and specialty onions. These can be absurdly expensive are the store, but are easy to grow and will give you more ROI per input time, money, and area than just about anything. It’s getting late in the year to plant onions, and garlic if fall planted, so you’ll have some time to figure out what you want.

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My top 3:

Hard neck Garlic- high quality garlic at the grocery store or market is expensive and mine is even better. Its easy to grow and not only do you get the bulbs but also the scapes which are great for many culinary uses as well.

Potatoes- again easy to grow. Not particularly expensive in the store but the quality is not even close. There is alot of experimentation with different varities.

Beets- a forgotten vegetable to many. These can get very sweet when grown in the garden. Essentially pest free and keep over 6 months for me buried in a bucket of peat moss. Eat them baked, not boiled.

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moms pickled beets! yum! i grow them just to do this. i give them a good dose of N fert. 2 weeks before harvest so i get a good amount of greens as well. i like really hot garlic so i have to grow them . georgia fire is my current fav. love the cherry tomatoes and a good cuc. right off the vine with a little salt and pepper. boiled dinner with swiss chard instead of cabbage is to die for also. started growing yellow pole beans last year. we ate tons and gave some away from just 4 plants.

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Cherry tomatoes. The ones in the store just do not compare. Sun Gold and Sweet 100s. Mine are just now forming. I cannot wait!

I’d say lettuce as well just because I can grow it all late fall/winter/early spring without having to buy it. Flavor seems a bit different with the various varieties. My favorite is some kind of speckled kind called Flashy Butter Gem.

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Do you have some favorite varieties you could list? I haven’t had much success with garlic, but I have only picked up “seed” garlic from local garden stores, no names given for variety. I would like to order some garlic for fall planting.

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I’ve grown Music, Spanish Roja, Kettle River Giant, Russian Red, and Lorz Italian. Out of those, Music, Kettle River, and Lorz did best for me in terms of size and flavor in Kansas.

You can read about the different variety classes here:

https://www.filareefarm.com/roc.html

They are also a great source for seed. The founder (I think he’s since sold the farm) wrote the authoritative book on growing garlic for home or market.

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Thanks so much! I have hesitated spending “extra” money for named varieties, not knowing how they would perform here. It is not a common plant to grow, among the gardeners I know. So $10 for 1/4 lb is a common price for named varieties? That seems kinda pricey to me, assuming you get ~ 40 cloves per pound?

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That’s about the going rate, yes. But it’s easy to save seed from year to year, so you’ll make up the cost quickly. And, the yield you get the first year makes it cheaper than supermarket garlic!

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Well if you are considering tomatoes/cucumbers/peppers/squash/beans/etc to be fruits and not veggies…

Limiting it to roots, shoots, and leaves, then some standouts (that do well in my area) are:

Lettuce (tons of variety in colors/textures, maybe not so much in flavors)
Kohlrabi (you can harvest young and small at home)
All Asian greens (pak choi is obvious but there a many many more, like komatsuna; store-bought versions are usually beat up and tough, limited in variety)
Turnip (many interesting varieties, like Oasis, that you can’t get in the market)
Under the radar: sprouts (especially broccoli sprouts, which are hard to find in stores and when you do find them they are expensive and not too fresh)

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I ordered snake pole bean seeds to plant this year for the first time. Good to hear!

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I should note that it’s usually more like $18-20 for 1 lb sizes, so you can get a better deal at the expense of fewer varieties.

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When I first started growing garlic a couple years ago I went and got the named varieties from the farmers market. There’s a few sellers that specialize in garlic so there were quite a few options. It was much cheaper than ordering.

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