Most gardeners try tomatoes at least once. After on and off attempts, each time thinking I finally knew how to do it right, a judgment has been made: skip the effort, buy local tomatoes. The only exception - cherry tomatoes. In the spring my compost is employed to fill garden holes and shore up new flowers. After this work, about one week later, volunteer tomato plants begin springing up. Most are pulled but two or three are left right where they emerged from the soil. Without an ounce of intervention these hardy plants thrive and produce more cherry tomatoes than you could possible eat.
A long perusal of the John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog (print is great but here's the site: www.kitchengardenseeds.com) has given me more ideas than I have room for but this is my short list for 2011:
Rainbow Cauliflower Mixture - Only 50 days until harvest. Pretty, perfect for Jacque Pepin's cauliflower gratin.
Parmex Baby Ball Carrots - These are French, round carrots which don't need peeling and can be grown in containers.
Silor Mini Cucumbers - Little cukes (4 1/2 to 5 inches). Billed as burpless and prolific. Prolific is nice.
Tintin Baby Romaine - Would choose these seeds for the name alone. Tintin is bug resistant, tolerates heat and is bright green.
Runaway Arugula - Reported to be super-speedy and productive.
Pequillo Pimento Sweet Peppers - These are Basque peppers, sweet and spicy.
Stevia - Stevia, or "sweet leaf" is the herb some foodies and experimental cooks use to make a sugar substitute so this is one to test.
And, I'm thinking about horseradish, maybe some more greens - will need to share the seeds!