Our Kitchen Garden
Tips and plant varieties from Sunset’s kitchen garden
Sunset’s test garden is designed around a zigzag split-rail fence that runs east to west. Tall plants like corn and sunflowers grow on the north side of the fence so they won’t shade shorter plants, while tomatoes grow against the fence for support. On the south side of the fence, triangular-shaped planting beds hold low-growing crops, such as melons, peppers, and squash; herbs; and flowers, such as bee balm and scabiosa, that attract beneficial insects. On the opposite side of the pathway, zinnias and shorter varieties of sunflowers―great for cutting―grow in an informal row. Pole beans climb a trellis at the west end of the row.
Stuckey started with seeds of easy plants like corn, and set out seedlings of annual vegetables, flowers, and perennial herbs. He spaced plants close together to minimize weeds and planted vegetables and flowers together to keep pollinators circulating.Plant collection Sunflowers (‘Florenza’, ‘Goldburst’, ‘Jade’, ‘Moonbright’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Taiyo’) Squash (‘Condor’ bush zucchini, crookneck, ‘Sunburst’) Lettuce (‘Ruby’) Tomatillos Dianthus ‘Amazon Rose Magic’ Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Florist’s Blue’ Parsley (Italian and triple curled) Peppers (golden bell, green bell, purple bell, red bell, ‘Tabasco’ hot pepper) Watermelons Tomatoes (‘Early Girl’, ‘Sungold’) Kabocha squash (‘Orange Sunshine’) Pole beans Low-growing sunflowers and zinnias