12 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.

Photo By: W. Atlee Burpee & Co. at Burpee.com

Photo By: W. Atlee Burpee & Co. at Burpee.com

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.

'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."

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.