B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension


Download the audio files or subscribe to our podcast.





Download the audio of Yard & Garden News: MP3, WMV.

New Garden Vegetables for 2006

Perhaps the only thing gardeners enjoy more than tending their crops is making plans for the coming growing season. Garden catalogs fill the mailbox, and online seed houses come alive with tempting photos of luscious ripe harvests. This is a perfect time to plan the spring garden! Here's a look at what's new for vegetable gardeners in 2006.

Carrot 'Purple Haze' will surely jazz up your salad with long dark-purple roots with bright-orange centers. 2006 All-America Selection, 70 days. (Harris, Johnny's, Jung)

Cauliflower 'Cheddar' is aptly named for the orange (yes, orange!) rather than white heads that deepen in color when cooked. No need to tie up the leaves! 68 days. (Harris, Jung)

Cucumber 'Rocky' is best grown for early production of seedless baby cucumbers, about 3.5 inches. 46 days. (Johnny's)

Cucumber 'Sassy' promises loads of dark-green picklers. 57 days. (Harris)

Eggplant 'Beatrice' boasts early high yields of bright violet compact sized fruits. 62 days. (Johnny's)

Lettuce 'Blackjack' is a dressy leaf lettuce with dark-burgundy ruffles. Baby leaves, 29 days; full size, 55 days. (Johnny's)

Lettuce 'Red Star' is a mini butterhead type with red highlights. 49 days. (Johnny's)

Lettuce 'Tropicana' boasts good heat resistance in this frilly loosehead type. 52 days. (Johnny's)

Lima Bean 'Big Mama' is huge, promising beans that cook up to about the size of a teaspoon, produced on 8-10 foot vines! 80 days. (Burpee)

Melon 'Lilly' is an exceptionally early Crenshaw type with juicy, light-orange flesh. 78 days. (Johnny's)

Melon 'Sensation' is a specialty melon with unique flavor and aroma. Harvested while slightly immature, the flesh is sweet, crisp, green and white. When harvested mature, the flesh is even sweeter, soft and pure white. 85 days. (Harris)

Muskmelon 'Lil Loupe' is a personal-sized melon on moderate-sized vines with good disease tolerance. 76 days. (Harris)

Onion 'Ruby Ring' is a dark-red, long, storing-type bulb, maturing in 112 days. (Johnny's)

Pepper 'Carmen' boasts a sweet, horn-shaped Italian-type pepper, perfect for grilling or stir frys. Compact plants reach only 28 inches tall; fruits get sweeter as they ripen from green to red. 75 days. 2006 All-America Selection. (Burpee, Harris, Johnny's, Jung)

Pepper 'Mariachi' offers early high yields of mild chili peppers. 2006 All-America Selection, 67 days. (Harris, Johnny's, Jung)

Pepper 'Orion' yields jumbo-sized bell peppers. 65 days, green; 85 days, ripe red.

Pumpkin 'Wolf' is a late-maturing moderate-sized jack-o-lantern type with thick flesh and extra thick sturdy stems. 120 days. (Johnny's)

Radish 'Fire 'n Ice' is a colorful, but mild 3-4 inch long French Breakfast-type radish that is bright red on the leafy end, bright white on the root end. 25 days. (Burpee)

Spinach 'Bordeaux' has striking red veins, contrasting the dark-green, arrow-shaped leaves. Baby leaves, 21 days; mature, 32 days. (Johnny's)

Spinach 'Reddy' will dress up your salads in a hurry with fast production of dark-red stalks and veins contrasting with deep-green blades. 40 days. (Burpee)

Spinach 'Whale' is an early, large, smooth leaf. 37 days. (Harris)

Squash 'Floridor' is a bright-yellow, round summer squash. 50 days. (Johnny's)

Sweet Corn 'Applause is a midseason yellow, sugary enhanced type. High yields of large ears. 75 days. (Harris)

Sweet Corn 'Augusta' is a white, midseason sugary enhanced type. Large ears promise melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 79 days. (Harris)

Sweet Corn 'Maple Sugar' packs lots of sweet, creamy corn flavor into petite 6-8 inch ears. 78 days. (Burpee)

Sweet Corn 'Montauk' is a bicolor, midseason sugary enhanced type. Large ears protected by tight husks. 79 days. (Harris)

Sweet Corn 'Mr Minim Mirai' packs big, sweet flavor in a small 5-inch package. 74 days. (Harris)

Sweet Corn 'Spring Treat' is an extra-early, tender sugary enhanced type with good seed vigor in cool soils. 66 days. (Johnny's)

Tomato 'Black Pearl' is a unique purplish-black, cherry type that actually gets sweeter and fruitier in flavor after chilling. Plants are indeterminate. 65 days. (Burpee)

Tomato 'Patio Princess' produces loads of 2.5-3 inch fruits on compact plants reaching only 2 feet tall, perfect for container gardening. 68 days. (Burpee)

Tomato 'Red Lightning' is an improved 'Red Zebra' with bright red, 2.5-3 inch fruits striped with yellow. Plants are indeterminate, reaching about 5 feet tall. 82 days. (Burpee)

Tomato 'Yellow Magic Stuffing' looks like a yellow pepper at first glance; the 4-inch lobed fruits are perfect for stuffing. 75 days. (Burpee)

Watermelon 'Big Tasty' is a seedless, icebox type at 10-12 inches in diameter. 85 days. (Burpee)

Watermelon 'Mini Yellow' is a "personal-sized," seedless, yellow-fleshed melon with good disease resistance. 78 days. (Johnny's)

These are just a small sampling of what's new for 2006. 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 them 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