15 Must-Have Vegetable Varieties

These cream-of-the-crop edibles range from heirlooms to our favorite new introductions. Try them in your next garden.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Photo By: Courtesy of W. Atlee Burpee & Co.

Photo By: Courtesy of National Garden Bureau

Photo By: Courtesy of National Garden Bureau

Photo By: Image courtesy of Vidalia Onion Committee/Photo by Joey Ivansco

'Brandywine Pink' Tomato

From 1885, this Amish heirloom, 'Brandywine Pink', is still beloved for its tangy, rich, old-fashioned flavor. The rosy pink fruits are beefsteak-sized and grow on indeterminate vines.

Eggplant 'Black Beauty'

An heirloom from 1902, 'Black Beauty' is widely grown for market. In the home garden, it's delicious and tender if harvested before the eggplants get large. Its glossy fruits and purple flowers are ornamental, too.

'Cherry Belle' Radishes

Toss crispy 'Cherry Belle' radishes into salads or use them to garnish other dishes. These easy-to-grow radishes are round, crunchy and bright cherry-red in color. This variety grows extremely well in most soils.

'Blue Lake' Green Beans

You'll recognize this variety from the commercial market, if not from your neighbor's garden. 'Blue Lake' beans are tender and stringless, and sweet and juicy enough to eat fresh. They're also great for preserving, thanks to their tender, meaty texture.

'Jimmy Nardello' Sweet Pepper

'Jimmy Nardello' peppers are red, sweet and have thin walls, which makes them excellent for frying. Try them raw or pickled, too; the taste won't disappoint.

'Moon and Stars' Watermelon

'Moon and Stars' watermelon is as sweet and delicious as it is beautiful; even the fuzzy vines have pretty yellow speckles. This heirloom melon has red, pink or yellow flesh. It's named for its rind, which has a big yellow "moon" and smaller "stars."

'Tom Thumb' Lettuce

With its compact heads, 'Tom Thumb' is ideal for planting densely in small spaces. Each head of this sweet-tasting, butterhead-type lettuce makes a single salad serving.

Brokali 'Apollo' Hybrid

Bring a new and exciting vegetable to your garden with Brokali 'Apollo'. This hybrid is a cross between Calabrese broccoli and kale, and it's a sweet, gourmet green.

'Silver Queen' Corn

This late-season variety has been called America's favorite corn, thanks to its creamy, sweet kernels and old-fashioned flavor. 'Silver Queen' is widely adapted to most growing areas.

'Honeyrock' Cantaloupe

Named for its coarse netting and rock-like looks, 'Honeyrock' has sweet, salmon-colored flesh. The vines grow vigorously, yielding 5 to 7 fruits per plant, and are great for backyard gardens.

'Super Sweet 100' Cherry Tomatoes

Every gardener should grow sugary-sweet tomatoes that are small enough to pop into your mouth as you work outdoors. This hybrid, Super Sweet 100, bears long clusters of cherry-sized fruits until the vines are hit by frost.

'Purple Top White Globe' Turnip

Heirloom 'Purple Top White Globe' turnips are vegetable garden staples, prized for their tender, sweet roots and purple-pink crowns. Southerners—and others—also enjoy a cooked side dish of the tasty, young leaves.

Bean 'Mascotte'

A 2014 All-American Selections winner, 'Mascotte' beans are crunchy and flavorful, and the plants' compact size makes them ideal for small-space gardens. This variety also has good disease resistance.

Carrot 'Adelaide'

Early-maturing 'Adelaide' carrots grow nicely in the garden and in cold frames. Crunchy and sweet, they're ready to harvest at 3 to 4 inches long, making them ideal "baby carrots."

Vidalia Onions

Famous 'Vidalia' onions hail from the town of Vidalia, Georgia, where the lack of sulfur in the soil produces their sweet flavor. You'll need to neutralize the sulfur in your garden to duplicate their taste (check with your extension service for information on testing and amending your soil), but they're worth the effort for eating fresh or cooking.