Growing veg: our reliable favourites.

Crops picked in March

Are you new to growing? Wondering which varieties of veg to pick to try in 2020? Here is our guide to ‘what grows well’ for us at Don’t Crop Me Now.

There are many different varieties of each vegetable out there from a range of suppliers. These are the varieties that we tend to grow every year . ‘What grows well’ depends on a few things: local growing conditions/climate, variable annual weather, growing methods etc and don’t forget personal taste! If you are starting out we would recommend that you pick a few veg that you like to eat. Don’t try and grow everything at once! It’s pretty challenging to get all year round supplies (took us years to get this right). Start with some reliable summer crops and you can get good results to motivate yourself further!

Every year we consistently grow varieties we know we like and that we are confident will give us good returns. We always like to throw in experiments too. This year we are planning to expand our beans for drying and have also signed up to the Hertiage Seed Library. Here is the low down on our ‘go to’ vegetable varieties:

Location: Manchester, UK (For non-UK we are USDA Zone 7).
Local conditions: Open allotment site which can be quite windy.
Soil: Loam ground. Well manured/composted ground (no dig). Mixture of raised beds and open ground.

  • Beetroot: Boltardy: Super reliable! (Standard looking beetroot ), Alto F1 (cylindrical shaped which is good for cooking similar shaped pieces for pickling)
  • Black Kale: Nero di Tosca. Dark and Rich and a heavy cropper.
  • Bolloti beans: Firetongue – a climbing variety which is good for space saving.
  • Broad bean: Giant Exhibition Longpod – lots of beans per pod.
  • Brussels: Trafalgar – perfect for Xmas sprouts
  • Butter bean: Gigantes (very large beans)
  • Cabbage: Summer – Primo for a round green cabbage, Greyhound for a pointed type.
  • Carrot: Early Nantes (early) and Autumn Giant (late sowings)
  • Cauliflower: Clapton (if you can find them), All Year Round.
  • Chillies: Tongue of fire, Apache (small and hot), Hungarian hot wax, Jalapeno (for pickling), Cayenne (standard cooking)
  • Climbing beans: Blauhide (blue),  Cobra (green)
  • Courgette: Any F1 variety usually do well
  • Cucumber: Carman F1 (standard looking cucumber in a greenhouse), Marketmore (outdoors)
  • Dwarf bean: Purple Teepee (purple), Delinel (pencil green – grow nice and tall off the ground)
  • Leek: Musselburgh
  • Lettuce: Tom Thumb (little gem), Warpath (iceberg)
  • Parsnips: Gladiator,Albion F1
  • Peas: Show Perfection,Alderman (Climbing), Keveldon Wonder (Dwarf)
  • Potato: International kidney (early), Picasso, Kestrel, Anya (maincrop/second early)
  • Runner bean: Polestar
  • Shallots: Golden Gourmet
  • Spring onion: White Lisbon
  • Squash: Blue Hubbard (large and good storage), Harrier F1 (butternut for Northern climates), Rouge vif d’Etampes (Cinderella type), Jack of all Trades (for carving)
  • Swede: Best of all or Magres
  • Sweet pepper: Sweet banana or long red Marconi (pointed), Californian wonder (bell)
  • Sweetcorn: Lark
  • Tomato: Gardener’s delight (red cherry), Sungold (yellow cherry),  Red pear (beef tomato)