Spring brings a bountiful crop of new vegetable seeds
Each spring brings the anticipation of a new gardening season—and the promise of a bountiful crop of new vegetable varieties to grow in the garden. This spring is no different, with lots of new vegetable varieties and seed collections to entice new and experienced gardeners alike.
Seed catalogs and websites strive to introduce vegetable varieties that put a new spin on garden favorites. Sometimes these new varieties offer bigger harvests and better hardiness. Sometimes the appeal is a different color or a new variety designed especially for container growing.
The new vegetable varieties presented here are sure to be among this year’s popular favorites. So, gardeners, get your garden plots ready for something new—and delicious!
A tomato to honor a 150-year legacy in seeds
New for 2018 is Park’s Legacy Hybrid Tomato, which was named to honor Park Seed’s legacy of 150 years as a seed company. (The Park Seed Company was founded in 1868 by 15-year-old George Park, who started selling the seeds he had harvested from his own backyard garden.) Bursting with true vine-ripened flavor, this new tomato variety is a fitting tribute to a seed company that has thrived for a century and a half. Park’s Legacy Hybrid Tomato produces firm, round 10-12 ounce ruby-red tomatoes. The plants boast superb disease resistance to Fusarium Wilt race 3, Nematodes and Tobacco Spotted Wilt Virus. That means higher yields from the easy-to-grow determinate plants.
Like most tomato seeds, Park’s Legacy Hybrid seeds can be started indoors 5 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Plant the seedlings outdoors when danger of frost is past and night temperatures consistently remain above 55 degrees F. If a late frost is forecasted, protect young plants with plastic sheeting or other cover. A packet of 20 seeds sells for $4.95 from www.parkseed.com, or call 800-845-3369.
The first-ever beefsteak tomato for porches and patios
Beefsteak tomatoes are always a popular choice for backyard gardens. These large, meaty tomatoes deliver excellent taste and lots of deep-red fruits. Now there’s a new beefsteak variety called ‘Atlas’ Hybrid Tomato that is designed to grow in smaller spaces such as on porches, patios and decks. That means gardeners can grow tasty beefsteak tomatoes in a container right outside their kitchen door!
The bushy, compact ‘Atlas’ tomato plants produce a bountiful harvest of one-pound tomatoes in any sunny spot. The ripe tomatoes deliver old-time flavor with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. A packet of seeds sells for $6.99 or three starter plants sell for $16.99 from www.burpee.com, 1-800-888-1447.
‘Gateway’ to a new, delicious cucumber
Full-sized, slicing cucumbers are a wonderful garden crop because they are delicious, prolific and easy to grow. Gateway Hybrid Cucumber is sure to become a favorite variety. (Park Seed, which introduced this new variety for 2018, likes Gateway cucumber so much that the company featured it on its 150th Anniversary mailorder catalog.)
Gateway Hybrid Cucumber is a long, dark green cucumber that stands up to downy mildew, powdery mildew, target leaf spot, angular leaf spot, anthracnose and other diseases that can plague other varieties of slicing cucumbers. These 8½- to 9-inch fruits are delicious, holding well on very adaptable plants. Direct-sow the seeds in a sunny garden spot after all danger of frost is past, or start indoors and transplant when the first true leaf appears. Cucumbers can be allowed to grow on the ground, but for longer, straighter fruit and to save garden space, grow them in a cage or on a trellis, allowing one foot between plants. A packet of 20 seeds sells for $3.50 from www.parkseed.com.
Enjoy the homegrown taste of Blue Belle 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.
If you’re looking for an unusual variety of potato to grow in your garden, look no further than Blue Belle Potato. This new variety is a mid-season potato with pale yellow skin and purple splashes around the “eyes.” The tubers are oval-shaped and have medium yellow flesh. Blue Belle is a wonderful culinary potato that tastes great when roasted, boiled, baked or mashed. The plants are resistant to powdery scab and silver scurf, and they store well. A two-pound bag of seed potatoes sells for $9.25 exclusively from www.irisheyesgardenseeds.com. Every order of Blue Bell Potato seeds comes with a free recipe book filled with colorful photos and delicious French-inspired recipes by chef Jason Bayes including Blue Belle Millefeuille and Blue Belle Flower. Irish Eyes Garden Seeds also sells garlic, vegetable seeds, gardening supplies and natural pest controls.
A whopper of a bell pepper
It’s back and even better than before. A garden favorite for many years, Park’s Whopper II Hybrid Bell Pepper returns with better disease resistance, higher yields, and even more delicious fruit. The fruits measure 4 inches across and 4 inches long, and this giant summer-season bell pepper is unsurpassed for appearance as well as taste. Inevitably drawing astonished stares in the Park Seed trial gardens, the fruits have very thick walls and a sweet, juicy and tender flavor perfect that’s great for raw or cooked eating.
Park’s Whopper II Hybrid Bell Pepper plants bear excellent yields, and the foliage effectively shields the fruit from sunscald. As the peppers mature, they turn from bright green to red—and the flavor sweetens still further. Resistant to tobamo po virus and bacterial leaf spot, Whopper II receives top ratings from Florida to California.
Start seeds indoors when all danger of frost is past. Then set seedlings out in the garden, spacing them about 18 inches apart in a sunny garden spot. Peppers will be ready to pick about 70 days from setting out transplants. A packet of 15 seeds sells for $4.95 from www.parkseed.com.
Plant some history with the Landreth Vegetable Seed Collection
Landreth Seed Company was founded in 1784, making it the oldest seed house in America. The Landreth Vegetable Seed Collection features five historic varieties of vegetables that have thrived in American gardens for many decades. Included in this seed collection is high-quality Sweet Corn, Rutgers Tomato, Laxton’s Progress Peas, Bloomsdale Spinach and Late Flat Dutch Cabbage seeds–all in original historic packets.
Filled with fresh seed for 2018, these packets are collectible works-of-art that have come straight from the historical archives of Landreth’s Seed Company. All of the seed is non-GMO, neonicotinoid-free and guaranteed to grow. The Landreth Vegetable Seed Collection of heritage garden favorites sells for $20.00 exclusively from American Meadows, https://www.americanmeadows.com/landreth-seeds/landreth-vegetable-seed-collection.