A Few Favorite Varieties for Direct Seeding

A couple weeks ago I taught a class at the Portland Nursery on Growing Vegetables From Seeds.  I am always inspired when I get to teach a class and Saturday was no exception!  We wrapped up the class with a big seed giveaway from my own collection and people got to head home with seeds in hand!

Picking varieties for sowing in your home garden is a highly personal process.  Anyone who has grown a garden for more than a couple of years has their personal favorites.  I love hearing from other gardeners about what they are growing, what works well, and what they love.  In the spirit of exchange, I wanted to share a few of my own favorite varieties for direct sowing at home!

A Few Favorites

Turnips: "Hakurei."  Why am I starting with turnips you ask?  Because this turnip made a turnip lover out of me! Hakurei is a beautiful bone-white Japanese salad turnip.  This variety is easy to grow, fun to harvest, and succulent and sweet in a way that I have never known in another turnip.  I rarely cook it, slicing it thin, and eating it on some of the first spring salads!


Carrots: "Yaya."  I discovered this carrot just a couple of years ago.  It has incredible flavor, good size, and is relatively quick to mature as far as carrots go.  What's more, in winter plantings, it has proven itself to be extremely cold hardy withstanding temperatures in the low teens and coming through just fine!  A great all around carrot.

Radishes: "French Breakfast."  These slender red and white open-pollinated radishes are my preferred radish for early Spring plantings.  They have a very mild flavor lacking the spiciness that many radishes display.  It is called "French Breakfast" because in France they are often sliced very thin and eaten on buttered toast with a pinch of coarse salt.  I have certainly done the same on many occasions!

French Breakfast

Fava Beans: "Aquadulce."  People have strong feelings about fava beans. I love them.  They are notoriously difficult to harvest, peel, and process, but I swear its worth the work.  This heirloom variety comes from 19th century Spain, and its delicate buttery flavor is unrivaled.  I love to lightly boil the beans and eat them over a simple pasta with garlic, olive oil, herbs, and Parmesan cheese!


Sugar Snap Peas: "Super Sugar Snap."  Sugar snap peas are one of the true treasures of a Spring garden.  There is nothing like chomping on a sugar snap pea fresh from the vine.  Even peas from the farmer's market never have the sweetness and crunch of the home grown type.  Super Sugar Snap is one of the best:  Extremely productive, and sweet like no other.  You won't be disappointed

Super Sugar Snap

I hope you enjoy these varieties as much as I do!!!  And please please please share your own favorites by commenting below!  If this early evening sunshine is any indication, this growing season is just about here  No rain in the forecast, and I'm thinking I might just get out there, spread some compost, and get some garden beds ready for Spring!!!

Stay tuned for more seasonal hints, tips, and suggestion for growing your edible garden here in the Portland area.

- Ian Wilson, Owner and Founder, Portland Edible Gardens, LLC