recommendations for demonstration plot?

runningriot(z4 MN)March 1, 2006

I am planning an heirloom demonstration garden at my community garden ( The garden will be used throughout the season for the public to visit, and will be featured at our August Heirloom Festival. All produce from this garden will be donated to a local food shelf.

With this in mind, what varieties of vegetables are especially liked and you'd recommend? I'm looking for crops that will be relatively high-yielding, so the food shelf gets lots of produce. I am also aware that food shelf recipients may not want to eat unfamiliar vegetables, so I am trying to resist from planting things like ARGG tomato, or Golden Sweet snow pea (but I might sneak something in).

Garden size is 19' x 19'. I'll be growing in raised beds, intensively planted, and will probably try for both spring and fall crops.

Looking forward to your suggestions.

Susan, who usually is visiting the tomato forum

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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Maybe people would have a better idea what to recommend if you specified what your summer climate is like - temperature and humidity. We can guess that it would be pretty cold in winter.

The organization below is all about intensive planting, and you may be able to incorporate some of their ideas. I think their summer temperatures are cool, though their season is doubtless longer than yours. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bountiful Gardens catalog

    Bookmark   March 15, 2006 at 8:55AM
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runningriot(z4 MN)

Our last frost-free date is usually May 15. Summers are unpredictable, but can be hot (80-90) and humid. First frost in fall can be as early as September 25 or so. That said, most all of the usual vegetable crops will grow here reasonably well.

What I am asking for specifically are recommendations of good-tasting vegetables with a history. I plan to grow different varieties each year, so would like several recommendations for peas, for instance, or bush and pole beans.

Varieties planned for 2006:
McCaslan pole beans
Black Valentine bush beans
Antigua and Lebanese Bunching eggplant
Costata Romanesco zucchini
White Velvet okra
Red Russian and Lacinato kale
5-color silverbeet chard
Carouby de Mausanne snow pea
Ailsa Craig onion
King Richard leek
Orange Bell and Italia sweet peppers
Bulgarian Carrot hot pepper
Pink Ping Pong, Aunt Gertie's Gold, Jaune Flamme, German Red Strawberry, Galina's Yellow tomatoes

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 6:45PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

It sounds like you have a lot of good ideas yourself. You might want to check to make sure the okra isn't daylength sensitive in a bad way for your location.

For fall, I like beans that can be used either snapped or shelled. Black Valentine has great flavor, so I would stick with that choice this year. And it is an American original. Two attractive beans in this category to consider for the future are Tongues of Fire and Coco Rose de Prague.

Kohlrabi is nice for demonstration plots, as many people are not familiar with it, it grows fast enough to be a succession crop with another quick growing vegetable (probably a leafy one) and it looks nice. Young leaves of thinnings are edible. You could consider showing how to do "cut and come again" gardens, mesclun mixes, baby vegetables, and selective harvesting of outer leaves of certain greens. Giant Italian Parsley is attractive and tastier than most parsley. Also consider some Asian greens and edible flowers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tongues of Fire bean

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 2:23AM
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