Check out these new varieties to feed the family
After the bizarre and challenging 12 months we’ve just experienced, it’s time to plant a garden that will nourish and sustain you and your family.
This year I am going to plant a killer kitchen garden. In addition to my favorite tomato varieties and salad greens, it’s time for new beginnings and new adventures—and that includes some new things in my kitchen garden.
Experts predict 2021 will be a banner year for vegetable gardening since the COVID-19 pandemic created a huge interest in growing backyard vegetables. But order these right away—the most popular varieties are sure to sell out before spring is over.
A hybrid red tomato
Tomatoes are the #1 crop in America’s kitchen gardens, and here’s a juicy red tomato. Red Snapper is a hybrid variety offering early ripe fruit throughout most of the country’s growing zones.
Red Snapper tomatoes are on the large side at 8-12 ounces each, with smooth skins and a deep-red color. This variety is determinate, so the vines won’t spread all over your garden. With good heat set potential and strong disease resistance, Red Snapper is a reliable choice for your garden.
Plant the seeds in pots indoors and set out transplants after the threat of frost has passed. Buy seeds at HarrisSeeds.com.
Why not a purple green bean?
Bean Celine is a delight to be seen. Celine Bean is a dwarf bush bean plant that puts out plenty of delicious purple beans. In fact, Celine is the first purple "wax" bean, which are typically yellow.
Celine is a sweet, tender and string-less bean. The slender pods reach about 5 inches long and ¼ inch wide on 20-inch-tall plants. Some say the beans are tender enough to be eaten raw. Seeds are available from HighMowingSeeds.com .
A tasty sweet pepper trio
Even a few mature pepper plants can take up a lot of space in the garden, but here’s a space and money-saving alternative. Gurney’s Sweet Pepper Triple Delight Mix contains seeds for two different varieties of peppers—a sweet red and a sweet yellow. When you pick either variety early, it’s still green. So, with one package of seeds, you can grow red, yellow and green peppers all at the same time.
These peppers are longer and flatter than a typical bell pepper, and offer a crisp, sweet taste at maturity. The smaller seed cavities have fewer seeds, so the peppers are easier to clean. A packet of 20 seeds sells for $8.99 at Gurneys.com.
Perfect small-space cantaloupe
One of the delights of a kitchen garden is growing varieties that cannot be found in grocery stores. Aspire Cantaloupe is a small, 1-2 pound melon that tastes great but doesn’t ship well. You will never see it in the produce section of the supermarket.
But Aspire Cantaloupe will fit perfectly in your garden. The semi-compact vines grow to about 30 inches long (which is small for any type of melon). The outside of the rind is light green with soft, darker green stripes—very different from a typical tan cantaloupe. Inside, the deep rich orange flesh is beautiful and mouthwatering. Grow this melon and you won’t be sorry. Seeds are available from WillhiteSeed.com.
Cook up some Xtreme cabbage
Cabbage is a dependable cool season crop that grows well in the spring and fall. The key to good cabbage production is moist, fertile soil. Xtreme Vantage cabbage offers excellent uniformity in the large (6 pounds!) dense heads. The bright white interior color is also appealing.
Xtreme Vantage cabbage has a strong tolerance to tip burn, and good resistance to diseases such as Fusarium and black rot. For highest yield, cut the cabbage heads when they are solid (firm to hand pressure) but before they crack or split. Buy seeds from HarrisSeeds.com.
A big, beautiful watermelon
Fresh watermelon is a summer treat, and there is nothing better that a freshly-picked watermelon from your own garden. Legacy Watermelon is an Allsweet type of watermelon that grows large fruits with a dark, green-striped rind. The deep red flesh is firm, juicy, and very tasty!
Legacy watermelons have a very uniform, oblong shape, and each fruit averages 22 to 25 pounds. The firm flesh holds well, giving a longer harvest window and shelf life after it has been picked. Seeds are available from WillhiteSeed.com.
About the author
Randall D. Schultz is the content editor for HomeGardenandHomestead.com, a website filled with new products and helpful advice for homeowners and homesteaders. For daily home and garden tips and ideas, “Like” the Home, Garden and Homestead pages on Facebook and Pinterest.