The top 10 vegetables for California gardeners -- and everybody else

Russ Parsons
The California Cook
The top 10 vegetables for California gardeners -- and everybody else

What’s going to be in your garden this summer? Burpee knows.

According to the giant seed catalog’s 2015 retail seed forecast, California’s many backyard fruit and vegetable farmers dig tomatoes most of all, followed by peppers, squash, cucumbers and carrots.

You might think those would be the favorites everywhere, but you would be wrong. It turns out there’s a bit of regional variation when it comes to what we plant. For example, New York gardeners’ favorite are beans, and they’re a lot higher on cucumbers than we are as well.

Nationally, Burpee says, tomatoes make up about 10% of all vegetable seed orders, followed by a close race between beans and cucumbers (9% each) and squash and peppers (8% each).

Digging through the results of the Burpee survey, there are some fascinating results. While tomatoes rank high across the board, they’re not the top favorite in any of the six regions covered. Beans are tops in the north central and Northeast, while peppers are tops in the south central and Southwest. Squash is the favorite in the Southeast and carrots are No. 1 in the Northwest (carrots? What is up with that?).

Rounding out the top 10 California choices are beans, lettuce, sweet corn, watermelon and radishes.

Overall, vegetables make up roughly 60% of Burpee’s seed orders every year, followed by flowers (25%) and herbs (13%). The most popular herbs are basil, cilantro, parsley, chives and lavender. Can you imagine living someplace where you had to grow your own cilantro and parsley?

And just what is going to be going into your garden this summer?

Here's a rundown of the Top 10 for California: 

1. Tomatoes

2. Peppers

3. Squash

4. Cucumbers

5. Carrots

6. Beans

7. Lettuce

8. Sweet corn

9. Watermelon

10. Radishes

Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter @russ_parsons1

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