The right vegetable varieties can make a big difference in the success of a home vegetable garden. Although a huge selection of seeds and transplants are available through garden centers, seed catalogs, and the internet, choosing what to buy can be confusing.
It's best to start with the vegetables you and your family like to eat. Then, refer to the varieties listed in the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide (https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021). Unfortunately, at times, these recommended varieties can be difficult to find from mail-order seed catalogs, internet suppliers, and local garden supply stores. Since some of these sources also charge shipping and handling fees, it can become costly to buy varieties from different sources.
To overcome this, consider buying from the seed company (catalog or internet) that offers the most of your desired varieties. Then, buy missing varieties locally from seed stores or substitute them. Anything marked "All-America Selections" (AAS) is usually a good substitute because these varieties were tested in nationwide trials for superior adaptability and vigor. Look for seeds that are disease and pest resistant or tolerant, which is usually noted on the packet label or indicated by a series of letters, such as V, F, N, and T. (For more information about "All-America Selections," please visit http://www.all-americaselections.org/about/index.cfm.)
Many new varieties are introduced each year, but a new selection's performance can only be determined by actually growing it. Be sure to keep notes on what vegetable varieties were planted and how they performed. Do not save seeds from hybrid varieties because they will not grow true to type and may produce poor-quality vegetables.
Some of the best varieties for Florida gardens are listed in Table 1. The numbers listed beside them correspond to the seed suppliers that currently sell them in Table 2. The exclusion of other varieties or seed companies in no way indicates that they are undesirable.
"All-America Selections." 1311 Butterfield Road, Suite 310, Downers Grove, Il 60515-5625. http://www.all-americaselections.org/about/
Bonina, Jennifer and Cantliffe, Daniel J. 2009. Seed Production and Seed Sources of Organic Vegetables. HS981. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS227
Park Brown, S., Stephens, J.M., Treadwell, D., Webb, S., Gevens, A., Dunn, R.A., Kidder, G., Short, D., and Simone, G.W. 2012. Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. SP103. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/VH021
Vegetable varieties and sources.