By Hugh G. EARNHART
OSU Master Gardener Volunteer
Each year we await the arrival of the new seed catalogs to preview the new vegetables and flowers. These new plants have been hybridized, field-tested and, finally, selected to be sold to the general public.
Each variety promises higher yield, more blooms, disease resistance, tolerance to climate changes and diverse growing conditions.
This week, we’ll talk new vegetables.
Grafting is done to develop a plant that produces more. Grafted vegetables are the result of attaching the top part of the desired plant to the root of a different plant. The rootstock provides the vigor and disease resistance and the top part contributes fruit and quality.
Grafting has been an agricultural adventure for many years in fruit trees, grapes, vines, roses, ornamental trees and shrubs. It is only recently applied to vegetables. New grafted plants for this year are:
Peppers: California Wonder Classic pepper is a large, four- lobe bell pepper that starts green and matures red; Early Jalapeno is not as hot as other peppers and has a thick-walled body that is juicy and spicy.
Tomatoes: Brandywine is the most popular heirloom tomato with fruit up to 7 inches across, squatty and lobed; Legend is an early maturing variety resistant to blight.
Other grafted tomatoes and pepper varieties are available in seed catalogs and on the Web.
New Seeds to Grow
Peppers: Ghost Peppers are the hottest (most pungent) in the Guinness Book of Records, have wrinkled fruit and are slow to germinate; Tai Hot Culinary is a chili pepper with dense branching which grows in upright clusters and produces high yields; Snack Pepper is very small, sweet and flavorful on a strong plant, and comes in yellow, red and orange; Candy Apple is a bell-type pepper about 4 inches across with a mild sugar taste.
Corn: On Deck Hybrid was developed for the container gardener, is 4-5 inches tall and produces 2-3 ears that are 7-8 inches long in 60 days; Fantastic XR is a 75 -day bicolor, mid-season corn with 8-inch-long ears that are sweet and tolerant to rust.
Cabbage: Vantage Point is a large, dense, 3-5 pound head that is dark blue-green in color.
Onion: SV4643NT is a large, red hybrid onion best suited for the Midwest and Eastern USA with medium storage potential, available in seeds only.
Garlic: Vietnamese Red is a purple-striped variety with a creamy texture, high sugar content and a sweet favor that’s easy on the stomach and stores well.
Watermelon: Harvest Moon All-American Selection is seedless and ripens early on a short vine; Affirmed Seedless produces 18-20-pound fruit with crisp, sweet, bright red flesh and dark green-striped rind.
Tomatoes: Pink Cupcake Semi-dwarf is a high-yielding plant that produces oblated, rose-pink fruit with good taste and good disease-resistance; Mountain Merit is resistant to blight and produces 10-14-ounce deep red fruit with beefsteak qualities; Jasper All-American Selection is a cherry type fruit on a very vigorous, tall and healthy plant with dark red fruit that is crack-resistant.
Green Beans: Jade II produces a 6.5-inch, deep green pod with a sweet flavor and tender texture on a bush-type plant that allows for multiple picking during the season; Bowie is a uniform bush green bean with a straight pod and good flavor and is disease-tolerant.
Broccoli: Lieutenant Dark has green crowns with medium-size heads on an erect plant with few side shoots which matures early; Sun King Hybrid has large green heads. with numerous side shoots and tasty flavor which matures in just 71 days.
Cauliflower: Terzolo Early is a medium-sized plant with bright white dome-shaped heads which produces plenty of wrapper leaves and matures in 62 days.
Lettuce: Caretaker has iceberg-type heads with good texture and taste and long wrapper leaves which matures in 88 days; Salanova Premier is a breakthrough in salad preparation which looks like head lettuce but makes a great salad mixture of green and red multi-leaf butter crunch and green and red oak leaf-type lettuce with super texture, color and flavor; Venetian is a large leaf variety measuring a foot long with lime green-colored elongated leaves with a tender texture and non-bitter flavor.
Carrots: Romance are high quality and mature in 60 days, with are uniform with a smooth cylindrical shape with excellent taste and flavor; Cracas Hybrid is a super 2-3-inch long deep orange baby gourmet’s favorite perfect for container gardens.
If you grow all the vegetables you can in your garden or in containers you will reduce the family grocery bill, eat better and you improve your physical and mental health. These new varieties listed for 2013 are just a sampling of what is available this year.