New Vegetable Varieties for 2000
by Neil Moran (moranneil(at)hotmail.com)
Copyright by Neil Moran, 2000; All Rights Reserved.
O.K., enough of all this millennium crap, all us gardeners want to know is, what's new in the line of vegetables for the year 2000? Plenty. In fact, there's more new varieties of vegetables than there are garden catalogs, if you can believe that! So whether you're planting a large vegetable garden, a small raised bed, or just a few things in containers out on your patio, there's plenty of new varieties to choose from.
Speaking of patio gardening, Jung's has a new tomato that's ideal for container planting. 'Patio Hybrid' is a 70 day variety that's excellent for a container or small garden. It is a determinate variety that supports an abundance of delicious fruit on a short, compact plant.
If you're more into production per square feet, check out R.H. Shumay's Totally Tomatoes. As the name implies, they're totally committed to providing just about anything and everything you want in a tomato. Topping their list of heavy producers is the Arnold Schwartzenegger of tomatoes: 'Better Bush Hybrid' VFN. According to Shumay's, this is one of the thickest stemmed tomatoes on the market. So thick, it can support a 48 inch tall tomato--one handed! Now that's a tough guy. It will start producing an abundance of large tomatoes in only 68 days after it's transplanted to the garden.
If you get a little queezy anytime someone mentions the dreaded word "pesticide," check out R. H. Shumay's new 'Jet Setter Hybrid' VFFNSTA (also offered by Jung's). This one is specially bred to resist disease without resorting to harmful pesticides. It only requires 64 days of good growing days after it's transplanted to the garden. Shumay's gave it a "two thumbs up" in their test trials.
Watermelon offers sweet tooths the sugary fix with far fewer calories, than say, a chocolate bar. This year, a number of seed companies are offering new varieties of this tasty treat. For instance, Henry Fields is serving up 'Hybrid Summer Gold', an 80 day yellow fleshed watermelon that grows to 25 lbs., while Gurney's is offering one half the size, 'Hybrid Sugar Doll', a short season variety that produces a 12-15 pound fruit in a remarkable 73 days.
Growing asparagus is like learning to play a musical instrument. You can't expect to get in tune with it the first year or two, but then watch out! Before you know it you'll have asparagus for the whole neighborhood. You can start a new patch of asparagus or expand an old one with some nifty new hybrids on the market (for tips on growing asparagus see my GardenGuides article "Go the Distance With Asparagus"). Hybrid 'Jersey King', from Gurney's is an all male turbo charged variety that won't waste energy producing seed--it all goes into producing an over-abundance of thick, luscious stalks of asparagus. Or try 'Purple Passion' Asparagus, a new variety offered by Johnny's Selected Seeds out of Albion, Maine. It's sure to come up in conversations around the old neighborhood this summer. It's actually grows purple stalks of asparagus that turn green when cooked. Expect both male and female plants for a smaller yield than 'Jersey King'.
I was also impressed with Johnny's 'Green Jewel', a heat tolerant variety of one of the most nutritional vegetables on the planet: broccoli. This new brand of broccoli is right at home in southern climates where it has been so hot and dry the last couple of years. It's a 56 day variety that produces uniform heads on short stalks.
Speaking of nutritional veggies, why not try Johnny's new high octane, high beta-carotene carrot variety, 'Sugarnax'. This one grows long, slender carrots with that county fair, blue ribbon quality, not to mention a sweet flavor.
I'm not sure how the folks at Willhites in Poolville, Texas found me way up here in northern Michigan, but they did. I almost filed their catalog away in the "round file," but then I spied a couple of things. First, they do a nice job of distinguishing between hybrid varieties and open pollinated varieties. Second, they offer some truly unusual veggies. Take, for instance, 'Armenian Yard Long Cucumbers'. That's right, it grows to 3 feet! You all do know how to grow big vegetables in Texas! Willhite's claims it has a mild flavor and a crisp texture.
Another BIG find out of Willhite's was A 15" long green bean. Asparagus Bean is the name of a new bean offered by Willhite's. It's suitable for warmer climates like Texas. It has a nice flavor especially when "mixed in with other vegetables."
The Vermont Bean Seed Company has a few new offerings for the millennium. Their 'Mr. Big' Pea caught my eye right away. This All-American Selections Winner produces longer than average pea pods with "extra sweet" peas. Allow 58-62 growing days for this one. Also heating up the market is Vermont's 'New Ace' and 'Corno Di Torro Rosso' hot peppers. These new varieties were created to fill the increasing demand for hot peppers for salsa and traditional culinary fare.
These are just a few mouth-watering temptations to add to your already stretched garden seed budget. To find out what else these fine companies have to offer visit their web sites below:
Vermont Bean Seed Company
Henry Field's Seed & Nursery Co.
R.H. Shumay's Totally Tomatoes
Willhite Seed, Inc.
Jung Quality Seeds
Gurney's Seed & Nursery Co.