New varieties for the new year

By on January 13, 2020
AAS Winner Pumpkin Blue Prince features a powder blue color outside and bright orange flesh inside. Photo courtesy of all-americaselections.org

AAS Winner Pumpkin Blue Prince features a powder blue color outside and bright orange flesh inside. Photo courtesy of all-americaselections.org

The new year is always an exciting time for gardeners as seed company catalogs appear in the mail box filled with new and improved varieties to try. 2020 is no exception and this column includes just a few of the new annual vegetable and flower varieties available in seed form right now.

If you start your tomatoes from seed, Johnny’s Selected Seed has a new cherry tomato called Citrine (F1), which is orange, crack resistant, and a reliable crop producer even in harsh conditions. Among the new All-American Selections (AAS) variety winners are several tomatoes including Early Resilience (F1), a rounded Roma tomato which is resistant to blossom end rot and features a deep red interior color on determinate plants which do not need to be staked. The Galahad (F1) tomato has a sweet meaty flavor and a high level of Late Blight resistance because both parents are resistant. The Buffalosun (F1) tomato also has Late Blight resistance and features a sweet tender flesh with no mushiness. Buffalosun has striking coloration with skin that is red/orange in a flame pattern.

Look for new varieties of peas featuring interesting pod colors. Honey Snap II has a yellow/green pod and Royal Snap II features a deep burgundy pod with green colored peas. Both varieties are available from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Snow pea ‘Shiraz Purple’ also has deep purple pods and is powdery mildew resistant. 

Zucchini Piccolo (F1) matures in 55 days and looks like a miniature striped watermelon. Piccolo grows on bush-type plants, making it a great choice for small gardens. Sweet Pepper Candy Cane has unusual white variegated foliage and yields bold, ivory-striped elongated green peppers which gain a red haze as they ripen to solid red.

AAS Winner Tomato Buffalosun is disease resistant and beautiful with red/orange flame coloration. Photo courtesy of all-americaselections.org

AAS Winner Tomato Buffalosun is disease resistant and beautiful with red/orange flame coloration. Photo courtesy of all-americaselections.org

If you enjoy growing pumpkins for fall decorating, look for Pip Squeak PMR from Johnny’s Selected Seeds which features wild, long curling stems. Pumpkins which are a deep-green color at harvest are being promoted as a way to add contrast to all the orange in your autumn displays. Dark Night (F1) pumpkins, can be harvested early while the skin is still a deep, almost black green. Black Kat (F1) is a small pie pumpkin which is also harvested while its color is deep green. Black Kat features deep ribs, making it a very attractive pumpkin for decorating. Pumpkin Blue Prince (F1) is an AAS Winner which is light blue in color. Blue Prince has a flattened shape, deep orange flesh, early yields and vigorous vines. It is also tasty to eat as a winter squash.

For flower lovers, look for great new varieties of celosia. Johnny’s Selected Seeds has Celway (TM) Terracotta and White varieties with elegant spikes of fluffy blooms. Terracotta is an unusual shade between rose gold and copper and the White variety has silvery pale lemon-lime blooms which would look great in bouquets.

Finally, look for Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush,’ a perennial flower and a new AAS Winner which has bright golden-yellow flowers with black centers and arched petals. This variety of rudbeckia has a compact dome shape with two-inch wide hairy foliage bred for resistance to septoria leaf spot. AAS says it is also loved by pollinators.