When faced with the huge variety of seeds available, it can be a challenge to choose only one of each vegetable for your garden. After all, you only need one, right? Well, not so fast!
There are actually a few good reasons to plant a variety of varieties in your garden, especially when you are getting started. There are so many different varieties, because they all thrive under various conditions. Some do better in the hot, humid summers of the Gulf Coast, while others grow better in the moderate temperatures of Oregon. Some are more or less resistant to bugs, which may or may not live in your area. And some do better in clay or sandy soils.
A couple years ago, I decided to plant three different types of pole beans because I wanted to harvest the seeds for cooking a variety of dishes after the green beans were too mature to be picked and eaten as string beans. I chose the Cherokee bean because it had a black seed, the rattlesnake bean because its seed looked a lot like a pinto, and the lazy wife bean because its seed was white. But I received an added bonus.
In the middle of summer when the Japanese beetles arrived for their annual buffet on our Illinois garden, they congregated on the lazy wife beans, almost completely ignoring the Cherokee and rattlesnake beans. My normal modus operandi for killing the beetles is to go outside near sundown with a bucket of soapy water and knock the beetles into the suds. Their infatuation with the lazy wife beans made my job much easier because I knew where to find all of them. The ultimate harvest from the lazy wife was quite a bit smaller than the other beans, but the green beans from the other plants were pristine, because the beetles had ignored them.
At first, I thought that we would not plant the lazy wife again, because they were obviously not at all resistant to the Japanese beetles, but after doing a bit of research, I learned that the idea of planting a sacrificial crop is not a new one. So, last year, we planted the same three types of beans, as well as two new varieties, and the beetles once again lunched on the lazy wife beans and ignored the rest.
Although the lazy wife beans might not be the answer to your gardening problems, if you plant a variety of varieties, you will figure out which ones grow best in your area.