B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension


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New Garden Vegetable Cultivars for 2003

It's that time of year when seed catalogs arrive just in time to cure the winter blues and blahs! Each season, plant breeders tempt us with better, healthier and unique new spins on familiar crops. Here's a look at what's new for vegetable gardeners in 2003.

Bean 'Heavyweight II' sets a bountiful harvest of 8-inch pods on 18-inch, bush-type plants, ready to harvest just 53 days from seed. Available from Burpee Seed.

Eggplant 'Calliope' is a beautiful white- and purple-streaked, oval-shaped, Indian-style eggplant. 'Calliope' is suitable for baby (2 inch) or mature (3-4 inch) harvest, ready in 64 days from transplants. Available from Johnny's Selected Seed.

Melon 'Angel' is an Early Mediterranean-type with crisp, white flesh and outstanding sweet flavor. The lightly netted melon skin will turn creamy yellow when mature, 60 days from transplant. This is one of the 2003 All America Selections winners.

Pepper 'Cherry Pick' is a small, round, salad pepper, about 1.25 inches, on 24-inch plants. Cherry Pick is early to mature with heavy yields, just 68 days from transplants. Available from Park Seed.

Pepper 'Gourmet' is an early, orange, bell-type pepper with thick, juicy walls and fruity, sweet taste. The immature green fruits are ready in just 65 days; fully orange fruits will take about three more weeks on the plant. Available from Johnny's Selected Seed.

Pepper 'Tangerine Dream' was developed as an ornamental pepper, featuring a compact 18-inch plant topped with bright orange, cone-shaped, 3-inch peppers good for salads or pickling. Peppers are ready to pick in about 70 days.

Summer Squash 'Papaya Pear' has an unusual shape and early production on semi-bush-type plants and can be harvested in about 40 days from sowing. A 2003 All America Selections winner.

Sweet Corn 'Whiteout' tapered ears are 8-8.5 inches with 16-18 rows of tender, white, sweet kernels, about 73 days from seed. Available from Johnny's Selected Seed.

Swiss Chard 'Neon Lights' is said to have improved color over the 'Bright Lights' cultivar, available from Burpee Seed Co. Swiss chard is suitable for both spring and fall planting.

Tomato 'Brandy Boy' is a huge, pink, hybrid beefsteak type with 'Brandywine flavor yet high yields. The 5.5-inch diameter fruits are ready 70-75 days from transplanting, available from Burpee Seed Co.

Tomato 'Sweet Baby Girl' is a prolific, sweet cherry-type tomato on half-sized vines. Fruits are ready to harvest in 65 days from transplants, available from Burpee Seed Co.

Tomato 'Red Grape' produces loads of grape-type tomatoes with excellent sweet flavor and relatively few seeds. You can expect approximately 20-plus fruits per cluster about 60 days from transplants. Available from Johnny's Selected Seed.

These are just a small sampling of what's new for 2003. Try some of these new cultivars along with your old standbys so you'll be able to give them a fair comparison. Transplants of many of these will be available at your local garden center later this spring. Seed is available through many of the popular mail-order catalogs, as well as local garden shops.


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox