Sow new varieties of edibles this spring
In springtime, a gardener’s thoughts turn to new varieties of delicious edibles that can be planted in the soil. Growing vegetables in your own backyard garden gives you the opportunity to harvest many varieties of tomatoes, melons, beans and so much more that simply are not available in local stores.
Here are some of the best new varieties available from the best seed catalogs and websites.
Giant tomatoes keep coming all summer long
Great chefs use only the best fresh ingredients. When cooking with tomatoes, the freshest ingredients are the ripe tomatoes that you pick from your own garden. Chefs and gardeners alike can now enjoy the best fresh sauce tomatoes of their lives with Giant Garden Paste, a large, boat-shaped red Roma tomato offering the ideal blend of sugary sweetness and tangy acids. Weighing in at up to 10 ounces, these unusually shaped fruits deliver plenty of delicious nutrition on plants that keep producing all summer long.
These nicely lobed fruits will vary from 8 to 10 ounces, with a distinctive shape and plenty of gels and solids that add flavor and zest to any recipe. The Giant Garden Paste Tomatoes are quite crack-resistant, and the fruits grow generously on plants that resist both Fusarium and Verticillium Wilt. The result is a vigorous plant that is healthy, productive and easy to grow. Use the fruit for canning, saucing, and fresh slicing right out of the garden.
For best growing results, start the seeds indoors five to six weeks before the last frost date. Plant the seedlings outdoors when the danger of frost is past and night temperatures consistently remain above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If an unexpected late frost is forecast, protect young plants with plastic sheeting or other cover. The tomatoes will ripen about 95 days from setting out transplants. Giant Garden Past Tomato plants have an indeterminate growing habit, so the plant keeps growing and it keeps producing fruit throughout the summer and into fall. A packet of seeds sells for $2.95 from Park Seed, www.parkseed.com, 800-845-3369.
Big watermelon taste in a small package
Everyone knows that watermelons are huge fruits, and growing watermelons takes a large garden plot. But a new watermelon called Mini Love is going to change all of that. Mini Love Hybrid Watermelon is small enough to grow on a deck or in a small garden.
Mini Love Watermelon is an award-winning hybrid that’s super-compact, so instead of the usual sprawling vines, each plant is a compact 3-foot by 3-foot spread. On each relatively small Mini Love Watermelon plant grows up to half a dozen delicious fruits.
The mini size is just the beginning, because this new hybrid also boasts impressive disease resistance. Mini Love Watermelon stands up to anthracnose—a scourge of many other watermelon varieties—and the fruit has a thin rind that is strong enough to resist cracking and splitting. Best of all is the taste, because the dark red flesh is juicy, sweet, aromatic and deliciously mouthwatering.
Each ripe Mini Love melon weighs between 7 and 9 pounds, with a shape that varies from oval to round. Just right for two people, this is a melon you can actually finish without having to refrigerate. A 2017 All-America Selection winner, Mini Love is certain to delight both experienced and novice gardeners.
Sow the seeds directly in the soil in raised hills or rows three inches high when all danger of frost is past. Thin to three plants per hill and space hills three feet apart. If planting in containers, sow several seeds in a raised hill at the center of the container, then thin to one plant per pot. For earlier fruit, seeds may be started indoors. A packet of seeds sells for $5.95 from Park Seed, www.parkseed.com, 800-845-3369.
A champion ‘Roma’ tomato with unbeatable flavor and yield
The new Gladiator Hybrid Tomato is a champion ‘Roma’ variety that boasts impressive vigor, flavor, aroma and yield. Roma tomatoes are known for their flavor when cooked, and ‘Gladiator’ grows large, delicious tomatoes. The vigorous plants produce a bounty of oval half-pound (8 ounce) fruit in the garden or in a container on a patio or balcony. The dense flesh and tangy taste make ‘Gladiator’ victorious for imparting rich, robust flavor to paste, sauces, soups, salsa, or ketchup. The vigorous roots conquer tomato plant enemies such as blossom end rot.
Gladiator Hybrid Tomato has an indeterminate growing habit, and the plant will keep producing fruit throughout the growing season. A packet of Gladiator Hybrid Tomato seeds sells for $6.95, or three garden-ready plants sell for $16.95, exclusively from Burpee at www.burpee.com or 1-800-888-1447.
Use “Seed Bombs” to start an edible garden
Looking for an easy way to grow fresh herbs? Want to get kids away from their phones and tablets and into the garden for a lesson on growing backyard edibles? Seed Bombs are a great way to teach children how to garden, and they are perfect for novice older gardeners, too.
Seed Bombs are hand made with red clay and worm castings to help bind them together and enrich the soil. If you’re planting them in your own garden, re-use the adorable pouch to store change, plant tags and more. These easy-to-grow seed bombs can be planted early in the spring once the chance of frost has passed. Just throw them in the garden, give them a little water, and watch them grow! Each Seed Bomb covers about five square feet of garden space.
Inside each gumball-sized Herbs Seed Bomb is a mixture of delicious non-GMO herb seeds such as Basil, Parsley, Dill and more. Also available are Salad Greens Seed Bombs that contain non-GMO seeds of Chervil, Red Lettuce, Cress, Swiss Chard and Arugula. A bag of five Seed Bombs sells for $8.95 from www.americanmeadows.com.
Enjoy the homegrown taste of Huckleberry Gold potatoes
Homegrown potatoes offer a delicious taste, texture and freshness that simply can’t be duplicated by store-bought potatoes. This popular vegetable is a culinary staple, and yet it is overlooked by many backyard gardeners.
A new potato variety called Huckleberry Gold is distinctively different than most common potatoes, beginning with its dark purple skin and soft yellow flesh. Huckleberry Gold plants produce small to medium-sized tubers that are roundish or oval shaped. When planted in the cool weather of early spring, the potatoes are ready for harvesting in mid-summer.
Huckleberry Gold seed potatoes are organically grown in the USA. A two-pound bag of seed potatoes sells for $9.25 and a five-pound bag sells for $18.75 exclusively from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, www.IrishEyesGardenSeeds.com. In addition to offering a wide selection of seed potatoes, Irish Eyes also sells garlic, vegetable seeds, gardening supplies and natural pest controls.
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