Best of Summer 2020

Let’s hear it for the warm-season veggies of 2020! Seriously, I want to hear what you think are the best of the season. What’s your favorite tomato, melon, herb, squash, cucumber, etc.? In some cases, you may not have tasted it yet (like for me with our pumpkins, winter squash, melons and peppers), but you might like how easily something grew, how it looks, etc. You can always amend your list.

Here are some criteria to make your top selections:

  • Easy to grow
  • Disease and/or pest resistant
  • Amazing taste
  • Good looking
  • Prolific
  • Heat / drought / neglect tolerant
A Jarrahdale pumpkin growing on a garden arch. This is my first year growing pumpkins, and this was my absolute favorite. I plan to create a whole pumpkin patch next year.

Here are my top picks (for now). These are plants that I plan to grow next year. Note that your list should be very personal to you, for your taste, your microclimate, your garden.

Christine’s Top Picks

  • Dunja ZUCCHINI: easy to grow, prolific, highly disease resistant, tastes good. It started producing in March and is still going at the end of August
  • Jaune et Verte SUMMER SQUASH: Great size, adorable, easy to grow
  • Slick Pik YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH: Easy to grow, seems to do even better late season, prolific, short spines (it doesn’t sprawl all over but just kind of grows upward)
  • Red Kuri WINTER SQUASH: these are the cute little deep orange pumpkin-like squash that I grew over the trellis. Easy to grow
  • Jarrahdale PUMPKIN: blue-grey, deeply ribbed pumpkin. Gorgeous. Easy to grow, prolific
  • PUMPKIN mix: a mix of seeds from San Diego Seed Company – provides a variety of pumpkin shapes and sizes. Easy to grow
  • Purple Opal BASIL: Gorgeous purple color, pretty pink flowers, easy to grow
  • Scarlet Runner BEAN: Easy to grow, easy to harvest the beans, beautiful display of red flowers cascading over arches
  • Tidy Treats TOMATO: A container tomato that produces a LOT of little cherry tomatoes; I’ve already purchased some for next year. These are F1 seeds, so I can’t save seed with these (more on that in another post)
  • San Marzano 2 TOMATO: A Roma-like tomato that is indeterminate, unlike a lot of Roma tomatoes; easy to grow, prolific, meaty tomatoes great for sauces. I’ve saved seeds for this one
  • Citrine TOMATO: an orange cherry tomato that tastes the best of any in the garden. I don’t actually like tomatoes very much but I’ve discovered I enjoy orange tomatoes. Easy to grow, prolific, disease-resistant
  • Costoluto Genovese TOMATO: Good tasting, gorgeous heirloom, easy to grow
  • Sharlyn MELON: I haven’t tasted it yet, but one vine is producing a ton of fruit, so it looks promising
These are some of the late-season plantings, including Sharlyn melon in the foreground, globe amaranth (flowers) and more melons and pumpkins to the right.

I have a bunch more fruits and veggies growing in the garden, including peppers that I haven’t eaten, except for a big, wonderful blocky red bell pepper that came from SDSC’s Rainbow Bell Pepper mix. The mixes can be fun because you get a variety of seeds in one packet. The downside is I don’t really know what each variety is, so it’s hard to get that specific variety the following year. I’m curious to see how the Espelette and Cornito Giallo/Roso peppers taste–they should be ready soon!

I also grew a ton of cucumber, but I liked all of them and none really stood out. Also, I’m waiting to taste our kajari melon as well as some Starry Night acorn squash that’s growing now. I did a late-season planting in July and am enjoying some fast growth of new starts.

What are your favorites of the season? What have I forgotten? Let me know!