I’ve been enjoying an annual tradition of mine this past month: reading my favorite seed catalogs and dreaming of the coming garden. I especially like seeing what new varieties there are and finding varieties may have been around, but are new to me. Every year I try to grow some things I haven’t grown before. Last year I grew three new vegetables:
- Romanesco Cauliflower (sometimes classified as broccoli, but trust me, it’s all cauliflower) which is pictured above. This was fun to grow and eat, so I’ll grow it again for sure.
- Celery- the seed was really hard to germinate, so I only had one plant, but I found that I could take some outer stalks all summer when I needed a bit of celery flavor and it continued to grow into a nice full head that I harvested in the fall. I’d really like to have about six plants this year.
- Dinosaur/Lacinato Kale- I’ve only grown the frilly kales in the past and I did like the dark green leaves and lettuce-like shape, but in my garden it was WAY more susceptible to cabbage moths than the other kales I’ve grown. I’d like to grow both this and some of the other kale this year.
- UPDATE: How could I forget the tomatoes I tried last year for the first time? Pineapple Heirloom and Black Cherry – we loved these and I’ll definitely grow them again!
So far I’ve found ten new (or new-to-me) varieties that I’d like to try (though notice last year there were only three…maybe my dreams are a bit bigger in January than in April?):
Note: I’m providing links to these for your convenience in case you’re interested in them as well, but I am not affiliated with any of the seed providers. The images are all from the linked sites, as well.
1. Lipstick Pepper – this was recommended (by a reader, I think?) because it’s early and ripens well in the north. It’s a sweet pepper that’s characterized as “super sweet.” Hmmm…I’m always looking for a pepper that ripens all the way in our season (remember: green peppers are just unripe peppers!).
2. Alma Paprika Pepper – it’s a different shape than I’m used to, but I think it would be fun to grow and dry my own paprika and they say that this one “is the perfect pepper to dry to produce the popular spice but is also eaten fresh, and yields are very abundant so you can use it both ways.” And it starts out cream, which would make for a pretty plant.
3. Amarillo (Yellow) Carrot – I just think it’s fun to grow different colored carrots! This one is supposed to be really sweet and tasty (I have found that we don’t care for white carrots, so I stick to red, orange, and yellow varieties).
4. Diamond Pepper- Another small pepper that ripens early with good yields (see a trend here?). Again, I think it’s fun to have different colors and this is a creamy color that has a “mild flavor” – whatever that means.
5. White Russian Kale – I think this would be a beautiful plant in the garden- even in pots close to the house for easy harvest in the winter! And this was interesting from the catalog: ” From a flavor standpoint, there’s no question that the Siberian/Russian kales are unequaled.” Maybe I shouldn’t bother with the dino kale?
6. Green Mist Cauliflower – I know, another green cauliflower…but isn’t it pretty?
7. Black Krim tomato - I’ve tried lots of tomatoes over the years and like to keep exploring all the options out there. This description sold me on this one: “Krims are strikingly iridescent purple on the outside, usually with dark green-black shoulders and noticeable catfacing. Interiors are part black, too, with an unusual juicy yet meaty taste and texture.” Interestingly, they should be harvested when half green and still firm. I can’t wait for tomato season!
8. Tigerella tomato – this one’s right up my alley as it has high yields AND produces in cool summers!
9. Chianti Rose tomato – I just can’t help trying lots of new tomatoes each year…what is it about tomatoes and gardeners? This tomato is supposed to be earlier than other large fruited heirlooms- and remember how hard I try to get those first tomatoes?
10. Indigo Rose tomato – dare I? A black-purple tomato? Actually, the purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion starts out green and turns deep red when mature. This is all over the place and “the” new tomato this year, so I think I have to try it, don’t you?
What varieties would you like to grow this year?