When it comes to choosing veggie seeds to grow in my garden, I have a terrible time narrowing it down to a select few. After all, the photographs in the seed catalogs make each one look so appealing. Once again, there are plenty of new and cool vegetables to try.
Ever grown celery? I haven’t but the Tango variety listed in the Seeds of Change catalog (www.seedsofchange.com) was specifically developed for growing in northern climates. Tango is an early variety, requiring 80 days to reach maturity.
If it drives you nuts that cilantro goes to seed at the slightest hint of warm weather, Seeds of Change offers Slow Bolt. This variety is supposed to give us a longer harvesting season which is very appealing. When it does bolt, don’t forget that the flowers attract the good bugs to our gardens and produce coriander seeds.
In addition to growing the tried-and-true Italian pole bean, also from Seeds of Change, I’ll add in some French Gold filet pole beans from Renee’s Garden (www.reneesgarden.com). They have slim pods and an attractive golden color. Renee’s also has a basil variety that made my mouth water just reading about it. It is touted to have a “full-bodied zesty flavor for really authentic Italian pesto sauce.”
Two offerings from The Natural Gardening Company (www.natural gardening.com) caught my eye. How about a gorgeous red butterhead lettuce called Avicenna? That would look fabulous in a salad and has good disease-resistance. Their Zephyr crookneck squash are equally attractive with their smooth yellow fruits that have green tips. They mature in 54 days and have a nutty flavor.
I like the look of Hungarian Cheese Mix sweet peppers sold by The Cook’s Garden (www.cooksgarden.com). These squatty heirloom peppers would be perfect for stuffing.
Another pepper, sold by Johnny’s Selected Seeds (www.johnnyseeds.com), is called Lunchbox Snack Peppers and looks just like those nifty colorful peppers you can buy at Costco. They mature in 55 to 60 days. They also have a new cherry tomato called Jasper that are crack-resistant, which is a good attribute. They will mature in 60 days but have a long harvest season. Jasper is an All-America Selections winner for 2013.
If you love cucumbers but don’t have much space, consider growing Patio Snacker from Territorial Seeds (www.territorialseed.com). It does well in containers and the literature promises it will grow on short vines yet be extremely productive.
I’ve never seen purple Brussels Sprouts before but Territorial sells Rubine, an heirloom variety that is supposed to be very prolific. Wouldn’t it look striking in the garden? They also offer Corn Salad or Mache, which is a salad green that has a nutty taste. I’ve seen it in other catalogs and at local garden centers.
Burpee Seeds (www.burpee.com) has a new variety of broccoli, Sun King, with “unrivaled heat tolerance.” Anyone who has grown broccoli knows how frustrating it can be when it bolts to seed as the summer temperatures rise. Sun King will have 6- to 8-inch diameter heads and plenty of side shoots for harvesting.
If you’re looking for a fun new tomato to grow, you will find Sunchocola at Burpee as well. Maturing in 67 days, it has a sweet, smoky flavor and is low in acid. The fruit is only an inch in diameter but very productive.
High Mowing Organic Seeds (www.highmowing seeds.com) is a new catalog for me this year. Two of their new varieties are Pink Passion chard and Jeanette carrots. The chard is described as having “veins and mid-ribs colored a striking bubblegum pink with emerald green leaves.” The carrots are notable for having crunchy, sweet roots that grow up to 9 inches long.