Favorite Vegetable Varieties for an Heirloom Garden
Egg-shaped, amazingly uniform 3-inch ovals (look like plum tomatoes, but aren’t). Very productive over much of the summer. So sweet—my favorite for slicing and eating.
Delicious—and a real visual standout. Also called Troutback because its chartreuse leaves are speckled with wine-red spots. Austrian heirloom variety.
Asiatic pole beans. Very pale green beans with a rosy tip that grow to a foot long or more. Also called Yard Longs. Taste slightly like asparagus, hence the name.
Joseph’s Coat amaranth
South American heirloom that has a walnutlike flavor. Striking magenta and gold leaves can be eaten raw in salads or steamed like spinach.
Blue Solaise leeks
Impressively large blue stalks with elegantly symmetrical, straplike leaves. French heirloom variety. These plants produce from May to September.
Imperial Star artichokes
The king of vegetable plants in terms of physical presence, growing to five feet or more. Like their cousins the cardoons, they’re often seen in decorative garden borders.
Succulent, flat pole beans that can grow to an inch wide and eight inches long. Unlike other beans, these remain sweet and tasty no matter how long they stay on the vine.
Green, tapering pods on long, arching stalks. Pick pods when young and eat raw, or add to a stir-fry for a hot, radishy bite. Pods later bloom with delicate white flowers. South Asian heirloom.
A “false spinach” grown in the tropics. Succulent, crinkly green leaves on vibrant red climbing vines. Sometimes called Land Kelp because it tastes slightly like seaweed.
Blue Curled Scotch kale
Deeply ruffled, blue-green leaves that, when picked young, can be used in salads. But they taste even better after a touch of frost, when everything else has stopped producing. Mature leaves can be steamed like collard greens.