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Choosing Large Vegetable Varieties For Easy Harvest & Fast Preparation In The Kitchen

By Edited Mar 2, 2016 2 4

'Painted Lady' Heritage Runner Bean - Great tasty yields

'Painted Lady' Heritage Runner Bean - Great tasty yields
Credit: Skeffling Lavender Farm

Lazy vegetable gardening, harvesting and prepping.

Save Time Harvesting your Veggies

We have a large raised bed organic vegetable garden full of vegetables waiting to be harvested.  With having the raised beds, weeding is minimal and most of the work is harvesting. Over the years we have tried many varieties of vegetable in the garden and have fine tuned it to "the-best-bang-for-the-work" varieties!

At this time of year, it is obvious that the larger or better shaped fruit or vegetables, the quicker the harvest and easier food preparation will be.  For example, imagine peeling and chopping 1½ inch diameter onions in your recipes instead of 4 or 5 inch Onions. 

After trying a different variety of carrot this year it also became very obvious that the shape of the vegetable influences how easy it is to collect and prepareSelecting the right vegetable variety is the key to delicious flavor and convenience for harvesting. 

By making the sure the vegetables have adequate water, light and food over the summer, it will give the highest yields of the largest vegetables.  By choosing the most suitable heritage varieties, or a mix of old and new varieties, great taste and convenience can both be possible.

Vegetable Variety Suggestions for Lazy Vegetable Gardening


Garden Peas

Peas can be extremely labor intensive to harvest.  With picking and podding, it can take quite some time to get a bowl of peas.  Podding peas seems to take a long time when there are only a handful of peas in each pod.  'Green Arrow' is a tasty variety that seldom has less than nine good-sized peas per pod and the bowl soon fills when podding them.

Runner or pole beans

Runner beans  come in many shapes and sizes but those with the longest pods will produce the best yield with the least effort.  Harvesting and cutting up runner beans is usually the most work.  An old bean variety we tried this year had deep red pods over 2 feet long.  The 'Red Noodle'  beans have a delicious nutty flavor and are simple and fast to harvest.

One of the best-tasting pole beans we have tried is a heritage variety 'Painted Lady' that produces enormous tender beans and pods.  The pods average 8 to 10 inches long and about an inch wide, and remain tender for some time.  Each pod provides a surprising amount of large beans  that can be dried.  On podding these beans, yields are good and the bowl soon fills up.


Most varieties of squash are fairly quick to harvest and collect.  The 'Butternut' squash is the easiest to prepare for cooking.  This is because the majority of the squash is solid at one end.  The overall volume of solid, easy to cut up squash meat is larger with the butternut.  Thinner, more wavy squash like an Acorn are more time-consuming and difficult to prepare for the yield you get.


The biggest, tastiest and best tomatoes we have grown are the 'Brandywine', and the 'Giant Belgian'.  Both are meaty and tasty, and the large volume of tomato meat means prepping for salsa and salads is fast and easy and only uses a few tomatoes.  Of course it depends what you want to use the tomatoes for.  Using an easily skinned tomato makes it more suited for canning.  Cherry tomatoes can be still be larger for easy picking and still mouth-wateringly good like the 'Black Cherry'.

Red Noodle Runner Beans

Long Pods Mean Huge Easily Harvested Yields

Red Noodle Runner beans - long pods mean huge easily harvested yields
Credit: Skeffling Lavender Farm

Vegetable Variety Suggestions for Lazy Vegetable Gardening

Root Vegetables


When it comes to peeling potatoes, it is always easier to peel the larger potatoes and get the most potato for the least work.  One of the varieties that produce the largest potatoes is the 'Carlton''Yukon Gold' and even 'Russet Burbank' can reach a good size if grown well.  The key to large potatoes is leaving them in the ground as long as possible.  There will always be a range in size in your potato crop, but the longer they get to grow the more of the potatoes will reach the large size.  Fingerlings are at the opposite end of the scale, requiring a surprising amount of work to get them ready for the table.


One of the most efficient beet varieties is the 'Cylindra'.  The Cylindra beet has a long cylindrical shape sometimes well over 6 inches long and is excellent for sliced beets.  The variety is tasty, productive and a cylindra beetroot can be sliced on a mandolin in about 5 seconds, yielding as much as 2 to 3 regular beets.  An additional bonus is that the slices are very uniform in size.


The best, tastiest and easiest to harvest carrot the we have grown is the 'Coreless Nantes'.  It produces a long cylindrical carrot that doesn't fork or divide in dry conditions.  The wide root tip mean higher yields with more uniform shape for chopping.  The 'Coreless' variety means there is less bitter core and more of the sweet orange flesh to enjoy.

Unfriendly Carrots, Not a Great Shape to Clean and Peel

Choose your variety wisely

Unfriendly Carrots, Not a Great Shape to Clean and Peel.
Credit: Skeffling Lavender Farm

Easy Vegetable Varieties

Are you Ready to Choose Vegetables that Will Make your Life Easier?

This is just the beginning!  I hope this has made think about choosing efficient time-saving vegetable varieties for your veggie garden.  If you are a lazy gardener and want to get the best yields with the least effort, you are not alone. 

Part of choosing the best varieties is trying a few new varieties each year, and keeping track of how well they perform.  Are they easy to peel, chop, skin, core, and prepare? Is the taste as great as it should be? 

Keeping a gardening journal of vegetable varieties that you have tried and enjoyed, is an excellent way to keep track of your trials.  While making note of the failures and their descriptions in catalogues,  it will help speed up the trial process.  A journal may even save you from mistakenly trying the same unsuitable variety the next year!

Saving money growing your own food is no saving if it takes hours and hours to harvest one vegetable and get it ready to eat.  Veggies have to be easy to grow, harvest and enjoyable to eat!



Sep 10, 2011 11:19am
My kind of article! We grew string beans for the first time this year and amazed at the yield. Next year we may try pole beans instead, as you suggest. The zucchini did well too, but not up to urban legends regarding the yield. Maybe it was the cool summer.
Sep 10, 2011 12:09pm
That's great Vic. A great thing about runner/pole beans with red or pink flowers is the hummingbirds love them too! I am lazy at heart but just love seeing the garden grow. Harvest is the best time by far!

We planted zukes for the first time last year and the yields were of biblical proportions, it was a good hot summer. I am sure there were still plenty for you!

That's the thing about gardening, you get hooked and want to try something different the next year, it's just a constant stream of delicious experiments!
Sep 10, 2011 4:48pm
I laughed when I went to the store yesterday and saw zucchini for $0.89 / lb. At that rate we likely ate $20 of zucchini this year.
Sep 10, 2011 5:52pm
That is a bargain Vic, just the cost of a packet of seeds. And hardly any calories either!
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