Green Beans. Nothing in the store can match green beans picked 20 minutes before eating. There are quite a few varieties available so I recommend the following: Contender, which are the fastest growing but produce most of their beans at one time. And Provider, which produces beans over a longer period. Both are disease resistant.
Swiss Chard. A spinach-like green but better-tasting. Swiss chard has been called the perfect green because of its incredible nutritional value. By the time it reaches the store however, it’s wilted and expensive. A variety called Fordhook Giant is one of the best.
Cucumber. Since it’s a vine, cucumbers can be grown vertically on a fence or trellis using very little ground space. It is efficient gardening and there are many varieties you can eat without peeling (the skin is where all the nutritional value resides).
Lettuce. In the mid-Atlantic this is an early-season crop since heat causes it to become bitter. Fresh lettuce is delicate and has a subtlety that dissipates by the time it reaches the produce section. It’s efficient because when the lettuce is finished you can then plant beans in the same space. The best varieties for tolerating late spring heat are leaf lettuces, although if a romaine-type lettuce is your thing look for seeds of Jericho - bred in Israel to grow in summer temperatures.
Basil. Obviously not a veggie but one of the most wonderful herbs. Pick fresh leaves and sprinkle on any pizza. It can turn that cardboard-box take-out pizza into something special.
Onions. Onion sets - those miniature, ready to grow onions - are both easy to plant and don’t take a lot of space. They can be planted around the perimeter of a bed where something else will be planted later on when it gets warmer.
Flowers. If you like cut flowers on your dining table, then Zinnias are your flower. Easy to grow and with a variety of colors, they can be cut for a table display and new stems will grow on the plant. Varieties range from tiny quarter-sized blooms to giant six-inch flowers, and with a wide range of petal shapes.
Just remember, right now it is too early to plant anything except lettuce and onions. The rest of the garden has to wait until warmer temperatures arrive, usually around April 15- May 15. Stay tuned to JustSaying for later planting dates and advice.