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The following is a top 10 list of easy-to-grow vegetables and their recommended varieties.
1. Carrot Plant seeds several times throughout the growing season, early spring into fall for a continuous harvest. Soil should be loose and deep. Varieties: 'Nantes,' 'Chantenay,' 'Touchon,' 'Short n' Sweet'.
2. Cucumber Wait until warm weather to plant seeds. Varieties: 'Sweet Success,' 'Fanfare,' 'Lemon'.
3. Green Beans Plant seeds after frost danger. Bush types are easier to manage, but pole types are more productive in an equal space (because they're taller!). Varieties: 'Blue Lake,' 'Contender,', 'Kentucky Wonder'.
4. Lettuce Plant seeds as soon as soil can be worked-hot weather ruins the plants. Varieties: 'Black Seeded Simpson,' 'Buttercrunch,' 'Deer Tongue,' 'Nevada'.
5. Onion Timing the planting of seeds or the miniature onion bulbs called sets can be tricky. Also consider mail-order onion seedlings. Check locally for availability.
6. Peas Sow seeds early in spring as soon as you can work the soil. Varieties: 'Alderman,' 'Sugar Snap,' 'Oregon Trail,' 'Super Sugar Mel'.
7. Radish Sow seeds during the short, cool days of spring and fall. During these times, radishes are perhaps the easiest and fastest vegetable to grow. Varieties: 'Cherry Belle', 'White Icicle,' 'Scarlet Globe'.
8. Summer Squash Sow seeds after weather warms up. Grow bush types to save space. Varieties: 'Sunburst,' 'Yellow Crookneck,' 'Scallopini'.
9. Sweet Pepper Plant seedlings in warm weather along with tomatoes. Varieties: 'Bell Boy,' 'California Wonder,' 'Sweet Banana,' 'Gypsy'.
10. Tomato Set out seedlings after the air and soil have warmed up. Tomatoes come in countless varieties; among the best: 'Celebrity,' 'Big Rainbow,' 'Brandywine,' and 'Enchantment'. Tomatoes are one of those rare plants that actually benefit if seedlings are planted deeper than they grew in the nursery pot. Plants will be more anchored and sturdier, and roots will develop along the buried portion of the stem. Pinch off lower leaves once you plant.
Excerpted from Gardening for Dummies by Michael MacCaskey