New and Trending Vegetables for 2016
At our Quarterly meeting on January 23, I discussed new vegetable varieties for our Greene Acres plots and some other trending vegetables that we might want to try.
February is a great month to give in to our seed buying addiction! There must be 70 catalogs out there for you to peruse. Obviously, we need to focus a bit and I suggest that you limit your catalog shopping to three or four. I bet you can do it!
Here are some other recommendations:
- Plan your plot first. Get out the graph paper and pencil (how retro is that?) and figure out what you and your family really like to eat. Always leave room, however, for one adventure –something you’ve never tried to grow.
- Remember spacing. Crowded vegetables don’t do well. The catalogs should give you an idea of how much space each vegetable type needs. Hint: one tomato plant needs about 18”-24” of space (in all directions). Remember too that this information is on seed packets, if you have any leftovers.
- Be careful about seed quantities. The catalogs should help you with this too, giving you some information about how long a row their packet could sow for each vegetable. Don’t worry if you get too much, however. Most seeds remain viable for at least two years – if you keep the extra, unused seeds cool and dry. You can put them in a glass (not plastic) container in the frig. Maybe we’ll get a seed swapping event organized for the fall.
When you want to try something new, look for the All America Selections in the catalogs. The AAS logo is like a stamp of approval, it means the variety has been grown and proven nationally and locally. Here are the eight new vegetable varieties that won AAS awards for 2016:
- Mizuna ‘Red Kingdom’: I’ve never tried to grow Japanese mustard, maybe this is the year.
- Onion ‘Bunching Warrior’: great for grilling as well as raw
- Pumpkin “Super Moon”: A white pumpkin that might be too big for our plots!
- Radish “Sweet Baby”: A spicy Daikon radish that’s long/oval, spicy, and crunchy. It’s also purple/white/rose colored.
- Pepper ‘Cornito Giallo’: The judges said “Double Yum” about this sweet Italian pepper. It’s yellow/orange and about 6” long.
- Pepper ‘Escamillo’: Another sweet Italian pepper that I’m going to try this year. Same color as Cornito, but 8’ long. I found the seeds in the Johnny’s catalog.
- Tomato ‘Candyland Red’: a currant type, smaller than a cherry tomato
- Tomato ‘Chef’s Choice Green’: a green tomato with subtle yellow stripes.
We also talked about several other trends I’ve seen in the catalogs:
- We’re still krazy about kale. There are newer varieties with different leaf shapes and some of the catalogs are selling seed mixes so you can try them all.
- The Dwarf Tomato project is trying to breed the shape of determinant varieties with the taste of indeterminants. Google it.
- If you’re into really hot peppers, you can now find the seeds of the ghost peppers, the hottest pepper according the Guinness Book of Records.
- There’s an eggplant variety out there (Burpee’s) that is supposed to have the texture and taste of meat. Wonder how it would work in a vegetable lasagna?
If the seed buying addiction really gets out of hand, let me know. There are therapies, interventions, etc. out there to help you! But there is no cure except, perhaps, the end of winter.
Jo Ann Bartsch
OSU Master Gardener
Greene Acres Mentor