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Mary's Favorite Heirloom Varieties for 2021

Mary's Favorite Heirloom Varieties for 2021

Mary Smith |

A few weeks ago I was asked about my favorite heirloom varieties to grow.  That's a tough one because there are so many amazing varieties so picking out favorites took a little time to sort out.

CHEROKEE PURPLE TOMATO is hands down my favorite heirloom tomato.  In fact, it's my #1 favorite overall. It has a bold flavor and it's the perfect summer snack.  I can eat Cherokee purple tomatoes all by themselves.

If you've followed me on social media for any length of time you probably already knew this.

My second favorite tomato is the San Marzano tall vine.  This is an indeterminate variety and it's the ultimate sauce tomato

Swiss Chard is definitely my #2 favorite crop and one I recommend to just about everyone.  However, it's a tie between the Ruby Red and the Flamingo Pink.  Both are delicious and add vibrant colors to the garden.  The Ruby Red in my experience has been a bit hardier and produces a larger plant.

Jade Bush Beans are now my favorite even over the Blue Lake bush

Don't get me wrong, the blue lake is a staple in the garden but I had a tremendous year with Jade beans and the Dilly Beans we produced are/were amazing.



CHIOGGIA BEETS!!  These are beautiful on the inside AND the outside.  Beets are what I consider a "double Duty crop" because the leaves and the root are edible.  The bonus on this variety is the beautiful red/pink and white inside that looks kind of like a peppermint candy and they don't stain like red beets.  I've eaten them raw, roasted and pickled.

SQUASH- I've grown so many and love them all so this one is definitely a difficult decision.  For summer squash it's Benning's Green Tint scallop.  It's just more fun than the regular yellow patty pan.

Ronde de Nice is a close second because it's so versatile (stuff it/slice it/bake it). 

For a winter squash it's definitely HUBBARD BLUE

This one is on our website with me holding it up.  Blue hubbard is a "trap crop" but if you plant enough you;ll get a beautiful harvest.  You can use this variety in place of pumpkin for pie. Gete Okosomin is the most unique variety is winter squash we've grown.  The last batch didn't store as well as the Hubbard Blue


I get excited about these little globes of deliciousness.  From seed to harvest in 45 to 55 days.  You can eat them raw or roasted.  Excellent sub for potatoes if you eat low carb.

Casaba Golden Beauty Melon might be an unexpected one but it is lovely to grow in the garden and so juicy when harvested at the peak of ripeness.

Glass Gem Corn is not only my favorite but definitely a customer favorite as well.  Each ear is unique and colorful.  I have posted several videos on growing, harvesting and popping this heirloom corn variety.






I almost forgot about PEPPERS!  For a sweet, it's definitely Chocolate Baby Bell.  These are so small that it would take quite a bit for a large recipe but they are perfect for stuffed appetizers or eaten raw

For spicy I actually have 2!  The Yellow Scotch Bonnet is one that I love so much that I included it in several videos.  One was seed saving and another was fermenting peppers.  My fermented pepper salsa recipe is AMAZING

My second fave is the Peter Pepper.  It's a fun addition the garden and while HOT it's not as hot as the scotch bonnet


My favorite "snacks" in the garden are yellow pear tomato, nasturtium flowers and Borage flowers.

What about flowers?  No, I didn't forget about flowers.  As I mentioned above, Borage and Nasturtium are garden snacks.  They are also beneficial companion plants.  Calendula is another favorite of mine.  I don't think my gardens are complete without Calendula.

My favorite sunflower is Mammoth Grey Stripe.  This mammoth sunflower really lives up to it's name!

What are your favorite heirloom varieties?

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!



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