Virginians have been harvesting their own crops since the country was first settled. Many vegetables that are commonly grown here may also be adapted to grow in containers, which is good news for city dwellers. Coastal and central Virginia are in USDA hardiness zone 7 and can begin planting crops two to four weeks earlier than eastern Virginia, which is in hardiness zone 6.
Bush bean varieties that can be successfully produced in Virginia include Roma, Derby, Kentucky Wonder and Slenderette. Bush beans may be planted in traditional gardens or in two gallon containers. Bush beans will be harvested anywhere from 45 to 60 days after planting. It is recommended that you plant one variety at a time, followed by a different variety two weeks later.
Broccoli varieties that do well in Virginia include Packman, Windsor and Green Goliath. Packman and Green Goliath varieties are planted in the spring, while Windsor is planted in the fall in low-lying areas and in the spring in mountainous areas. Packman produces in 60 days, Windsor in 66 days and Green Goliath in 80 days. Packman and Windsor do well in heat, but Green Goliath fares better in moderate temperatures. That fact, coupled with the extended time needed to produce, means that Green Goliath should be planted earlier in the season--late April to early May.
Carrots came in Virginia as early as 1609 when settlers in the New World brought it here from Europe. Gold King, Danvers and Imperator are three types of carrots that do well in Virginia. Carrots should be protected from soil where pesticides have been used in the past. Organically grown carrots are high in vitamin A, potassium and magnesium. Virginia carrots may take approximately 75 days from seed planting to harvest.
Dasher, Everslice, Sweet Slice and County Fair are good cucumber varieties for Virginia. Fruits may be picked from 55 to 65 days after planting. Dasher, Sweet Slice and Everslice are good for fresh eating and salads, while County Fair is best for making pickles. Cucumbers may be grown in large containers that have a five gallon capacity or larger. Plenty of space needs to be given to cucumber vines as they spread a long distance. A trellis or form of support should be given if these are grown in containers.
Sugar Snow, Dwarf Gray Sugar, Queen Anne and Green Arrow are good pea varieties for Virginia. These may be planted in late April in central Virginia and early May in eastern Virginia. A second harvest may be planted if done 10 weeks or more before the date of first frost. They may be planted in full sun or partial shade. Peas should not be grown in the same location for a period of four years.
Turnips are best planted in the fall in Virginia. Varieties include Tokyo Cross, All top and Purple Top White Globe. All top turnips are produced only for the greens which grow atop the turnip plant. Tokyo Cross and Purple Top White Globe will produce root crops and greens which are edible. Turnips in Virginia take very little time to produce-some may be harvested as early as 40 days after planting. Turnips can be grown in either full sun or partial shade.