annuals beets Cucumber Perennials Seed

Beet – Cucumber – An Annual – A Perennial – Varieties of Interest

I was shopping for seed online at Pinetree Garden Seeds last night and I came across some interesting facts that influenced my choices.

These bits of information were so interesting I thought I’d pass them along to you.

Diva Cucumber

What appealed to me first about this cucumber was that it doesn’t require pollination to set fruit. That makes it perfect to grow under row covers to try to keep the cucumber beetles at bay and thus extend my harvest of cukes.  (This is assuming of course that the adult beetles don’t winter over in the same spot I plant and then come up beneath the covers!)

The fact that made me click the “add to cart” button was that Diva is considered a Beit Alpha type. (I had to look up what that meant first.)

From what I found Beit Alpha appears to be a very popular variety that originated in the Middle East. The 8 to 12 inch long thin-skinned beauties are very sweet with never a trace of bitterness. They are almost seedless, burpless, have high yields and a great shelf life. What’s not to love!

Pinetree gives credit to Johnny’s Selected Seeds for this 2002  All American winner.

Lutz Winter Keeper Beets

This old time variety is said to be the best for storage AND beet green harvest at any time.  Since I mainly grow beets for the beet greens, that really appealed to me.

If you’ve never tried tender beet greens in your spring and summer salads you really should.  If you love fresh spinach, more than likely you’ll love fresh tender beet greens.

Glean Mix Nasturtium – An Annual

Nasturtiums are fun because they’re edible.  Both blossom and leaf can be added to salads for a little spice. They’re also pretty in hanging baskets and the Glean Mix plants are long enough to use for that.

But here’s the part I found most interesting. The original strain of this variety was discovered in a Mexican convent garden in the 1920’s.  It became a real sensation when it’s seeds sold for 5 cents a piece in the midst of the Depression!

That little tie in with the past made me select them for my nasturtiums this year.

Golden Margerite (Anthemis Tinctoria) – A Perennial

Golden Margerite is a plant you’ll want more than one of in your garden and borders.  It’s one of the best perennial herbs you can have to attract a wide range of beneficial insects. If you buy it as a plant and have to wait until it grows so you can take cuttings, you won’t have as many plants as you need the first year.  Seed makes it easy and inexpensive. You get about 50 seeds to a package.

Marguerite is one of the best perennials for drawing beneficials.

Final Thoughts

A plant with a little history or one that has a special characteristic can make gardening even more fun. Also, it makes for great conversation when you have garden visitors.

Have fun choosing! It’ll soon be time to plant.


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • The Lutz beet, also known as Long Season or Winter Keeper, is a slow grower, but can get to four pounds and still be tender, not woody. It is reputed to be ugly, but who cares- it is tasty and sweetens in storage. Enjoy. I think I’ll get some, also. I haven’t had much luck with beets in the soil in this area- I think it is lacking in boron. I’ll sprinkle a small amount of borax around before I plant this year- that worked in my last place, which is a few blocks away.

  • I’ve grown diva and it is perfect- good flavor,no need to peel. The first thing I look for when buying cucumber seed (and squash and melons) is resistance to powdery mildew. I usually forget a weekly spraying of a baking soda/water mix and lose everything. It is easier to buy plants that are already resistant.

  • Thank for the input GardenDmpls.

    Just for the record – so readers will know — I don’t (won’t) add borax to my soil.

    Also — there is no way that I would be able to prioritize a weekly spraying of baking soda/water mix for cucumbers. There’s enough to do without adding that as a chore.

    I read somewhere that Diva IS mildew resistant.

    You’re right — its a lot easier to buy plants that are already resistant. Your point is excellent! Look for resistance to powdery mildew before you buy!

    Thanks again!

  • Diva are PM tolerant and somewhat resistant to cucumber beetles. I add the borax to my soil because it is deficient in boron, which is peculiar to the beach sand area I live in. I only put a tiny amount and only once, as too much boron is also a problem. I would not add anything without knowing for sure that it was a problem.

  • OK I marked the Diva cucumber in my seed catalog list to order. I hope I have better luck with these than I had with my cucumbers last year. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Danita, it’s always good to have a backup. I’ve grown Marketmore for years and they’re excellent. Last year I grew American Slicing and it outperformed even my Marketmore! Two or more varieties is always better than just one. 8)

    I like what GardenDmpls said about Diva being somewhat resistant to cucumber beetles. I’m looking forward to growing it. But of course I’ll have Marketmore and American Slicing as well.

    Good luck with them this year!

  • Yes, I’ll plant more than one kind. I just haven’t decided which one. I did plant Marketmore a few years back. I don’t remember why but I had a problem with them. I’ll have to go back in my garden notes to see what I wrote.

  • I’ll be interested in what your notes say, so if you have time — let me know. Thanks!

  • I learned about diva when, as a student we participated in pre-market trials (one year before the vile hit the market). It was the best cucumber ever–no disease or insect problem. Last summer was the first time I’ve ever seen an insect on the plants but it was a very bad year for squash bugs and cuke beetles for me. The flavor is mild, skin is tender–and shape is very regular. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Another cuke I discovered this summer was poona keera, from India. It is supposed to turn a red/brown when ripe, but I picked them when they were still ivory. Wonderful flavor and crispness and very good output. It also was the last to succumb to powdery mildew, managing to hang on through October.

  • GardenDmpls – I absolutely must try any cucumber that is reported to hang on through October! That has to date — been unheard of in my garden — and if I can get that to happen — I will certainly be forever in your debt! Thank you for mentioning it.

    Regarding the golden margerite – it’s common name is yellow camomile — so I guess a tea – like in Peter Rabbit — a tea of camomile would be soothing. I know of no reason to eat it, but have never researched it.

    It’s a great plant. One of the larger plants in my garden is still blooming. Only about 5 blooms — but blooming none the less.


  • I’m excited too Danita! Can hardly wait to taste those great veggies from the garden!
    In the meantime — I’m fixing a blueberry tart tonight. Those fresh frozen berries sure taste good in the winter.
    Also having fresh frozen peas from the garden tonight.
    Won’t be long!

  • Not much left in my freezer from the garden. This year will be different. We added 3 more raised beds last fall,so I have more room to grow this year. I just hope Mother Nature smiles on us this year.
    Thanks for all the encouragement.

  • Three more raised beds sounds terrific. You’re gonna fill that freezer this year.
    Glad I could be an encouragement, Danita!

  • Just wondering how was your Diva cucumbers this year?
    I also want to plant those cucumbers. By the way do you have article about cucumber diseases?

  • Alyona, my Diva was just great! I always thought Marketmore or American Slicing were my favorite. (Grew Marketmore for years for market.) But now that I’ve had Diva —- I never want to be without it! It is one great cucumber.

    And no — I don’t have any article about cucumber disease. I guess the reason is — I don’t know what to do about it. My cucumbers always look great and very healthy and then sooner or later succumb to that cucumber disease (for lack of a better term). I always thought it was from the cucumber beetle that carries the disease ——- but I haven’t seen one beetle this year! Granted — the Diva have lasted a long time — but one of plants has the disease now and is starting to die. I know it will spread through the others and eventually kill the plants.

    I have more cukes coming — but they are not Divas. Next year I’ll plant Diva for my late crop as well.

    I’ll try to elaborate on what I do in an article before next cuke season. In the meantime – put Diva on you list. It’s great!

  • Thank you for your response. Today I ordered Diva cucumbers for the next season along with a lot of other seeds. 🙂

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