All-American Selections New Flowers and Vegetables for 2009
Three exciting new vegetables and one cool-season bedding plant were chosen as All America Selections (AAS) 2009, based on superior performance in test gardens throughout the country.
Eggplant 'Gretel' is a follow up to the 2008 award-winning 'Hansel.' 'Gretel' is the earliest of the white eggplant, bearing clusters of glossy mini-fruit. The pure white fruit are sweet with tender skin, even if they are allowed to mature beyond the ideal fruit size of 3 to 4 inches. 'Gretel' plants are relatively small, about 3 feet wide and tall, making them well adapted to container gardening. 55 days.
Melon 'Lambkin' was selected for its early production of outstandingly sweet, aromatic, white, juicy Christmas-type melons. Each oval-shaped fruit weighs between 2-4 pounds with a thin rind. 'Lambkin' is expected to be ready for harvest up to a month before other Christmas-type melons. The unique yellow melon skin with green mottling is named Piel de Sapo, which literally translates to toad skin! But the flavor is better suited to Prince Charming! 65-75 days.
Squash 'Honey Bear' acorn squash is so named for its sweet-as-honey flavor when cooked. 'Honey Bear' promises high yields on compact bush-type plants, reaching only 2-3 feet tall and 4-5 feet in spread. Each dark green fruit weighs about a pound, perfect for baking and serving on the half shell. Plants have good tolerance to powdery mildew, so 'Honey Bear' should continue to bear fruit throughout the growing season. 100 days.
Viola 'Rain Blue and Purple' is a trailing pool of cool blue colors. The plants show both cold and heat tolerance resulting in a long season of bloom. The 1.5-inch blossoms change color as they mature, beginning as purple and white and changing to purple and blue with age. The plants' trailing stems spread 10-14 inches in the garden or container, making it an excellent choice for hanging baskets and planters. 70 days.
AAS winners are selected from many new cultivars, based on performance in the garden, as well as in the greenhouse. Although no plant offers a guarantee of success in an individual garden, the AAS winners have proven themselves worthy over a broad range of growing conditions. Try these new selections alongside your old standbys so you'll have a means of comparison. AAS winners should be available through local garden centers and mail-order catalogs next spring. For more information about these and previous years' winners, point your Web browser to http://www.all-americaselections.org/.