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New Garden Vegetables for 2004
The fresh crop of garden catalogs brings me hope for the coming spring gardening season. Once again, plant breeders are tempting us with new, better and unique looks to our old, familiar crops.
Carrot 'Romeo' blends a petite ball shape with smooth skin that needs no peeling. Harvest for peak flavor when they reach about an inch or so in diameter, about 60 days from seed. (Renee's Garden Seeds)
Cucumber 'Yellow Submarine' bears large, 8-inch-long cukes that start out with a light green skin, changing to pale yellow as they reach full size. But the best part is that these are seedless cucumbers! Ready to pick in 60 days. (Seminis)
Melon 'Amy' is an early, yet high-yielding, specialty melon with smooth, bright, golden-yellow skin indicating that it's ready for harvest. The juicy, white flesh has great flavor and aroma with a relatively small seed cavity. 'Amy' will produce melons in 70 to 80 days from transplanting on vigorous spreading vines and is one of the 2004 All-America Selections winners.
Onion 'Candy' should deliver extra sweet and mild flavor in a large, flattened, globe-shaped bulb. The 3-4 inch bulbs are ready to dig in 90-100 days, or get a head start with transplants.
Pea 'Caseload' boasts exceptional flavor that is slow to turn starchy, allowing for a longer harvest season. Vines reach up to 2.5 feet tall and can be grown with or without support. Peas are ready for shelling out of the pod in 57 days from planting. (Johnny's)
Pepper 'Krimzon Lee' is a spicy, yet sweet, paprika-type that ripens to a deep, rich red color. Green immature fruit are ready in 62 days, red ripe ready in 82 days. (Johnny's)
Pepper 'Sweet Knight' bears large bell peppers that ripen early to a deep red color. Ready to harvest in 66 days from transplants. (Seminis)
Potato 'Lucky Charms' is grown from true seed, rather than tubers, yielding a crop of small, white, nutty-flavored potatoes. You'll want to start the seeds indoors to get a head start on the season. Potatoes are ready to dig 85 days from transplants. (Renee's Garden Seeds)
Radicchio 'Indigo' produces a medium-sized, deep burgundy head with good heat and cold tolerance, lending itself to spring, summer and fall planting. 'Indigo' is ready to harvest in 65 days. (Johnny's)
Radish 'Rudolph' is a petite, early radish with deep red skin and flavorful "bite," ready to harvest in just 28 days. (The Cook's Garden)
Snap bean 'Festina' is a bush-type plant that continues to produce through summer's high temperatures. The tender pods reach up to 6 inches long and are ready to pick in 56 days. (Seminis)
Squash 'Sunny Delight' is a scalloped, summer-type squash that produces very early, just 40 days from seed! The bright yellow fruits can be harvested at about 3 inches in diameter or can be picked earlier for use as a "baby" vegetable. (Seminis)
Squash 'Flying Saucer' is a unique, bi-colored, scalloped-type summer squash featuring a dark green center with yellow scalloped edges. The fruits are also deeply ribbed, lending an even more "alien" appearance! Fruits are ready to harvest in 50 days. (Johnny's)
Sweet Corn 'Sugar Pearl' yields sweet, white kernels ready to pick in 73 days. (Burpee)
Tomato 'Bushsteak' promises meaty 8-12 ounce fruits on compact plants reaching up to 2 feet. The determinate, compact growth habit and early production (65 days) make this a great choice for a container or patio garden. (Burpee)
Tomato 'Glory' is a hybrid tomato with flavor similar to that of the popular heirloom 'Brandywine.' The indeterminate growth habit continues to grow and bear fruit throughout the growing season. First harvest in about 75 days from transplants. (Seminis)
Watermelon 'Sweet Beauty' packs sweet flavor and crisp texture into a small, "ice box"-size package. Weighing in at 5 to 7 pounds, these oblong melons, with dark green skin and medium green stripes, are the ultimate in convenient, single-serving size. But the plants are far from compact, spreading about 8-10 feet in the garden! 'Sweet Beauty' is ready to pick about 77 to 80 days from sowing seed and is one of the 2004 All-America Selections winners.
Winter squash 'Sunshine' boasts a bright orange-red skin surrounding the 3-4 pound, flattened-globe fruit on semi-compact vines. The bright orange, smooth-textured flesh is sweet and nutty in flavor. 'Sunshine' is ready to harvest about 95 to 100 days from sowing seed or 80 days from transplants and is one of the 2004 All-America Selections winners.
These are just a few of the many new offerings for 2004. Try some of them 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.