How to Grow: New Vegetable Varieties

Learn about new vegetable varieties, including how to plant and grow them.

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Every year hundreds of new vegetable varieties grace seed catalogs, websites, and garden center shelves, each with the promise of higher

Purple bush bean

‘Velour’ is just one of the new vegetable varieties with unique colored fruits

yields, fewer problems, and better taste. They can’t all be the next best thing since ‘Brandywine’ tomato, so how do you decide which to try? Well, I’ve been looking at new vegetable varieties for more than 20 years and I’d like to think I can spot something that’s truly unique. So here are some of my picks for the best new vegetables for 2011.

Early and late blight diseases have been the scourge of Northeast gardeners for years. Two years ago it crescendoed into a full blown epidemic where many gardeners had to pull out and destroy plants before harvest. Now there are two new hybrid tomato varieties that have resistance to the blight. ‘Defiant’ is a determinate tomato that produces 6 to 8 ounce sized red fruits. ‘Mountain Magic’ is a red cherry tomato with good crack resistance.

I love French filet beans. The beans are slender with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a delicate flavor. Green filet beans are good, but now there are two new colored filet beans on the market. ‘Velour’ is a purple colored filet, while ‘Concador’ produces a yellow bean.

Winter squash are known for some interesting and unique shapes and sizes. The Japanese heirloom ‘Black Futzu’ is truly weird and wonderful. The 4- to 6-pound, warted, black skinned fruits turn a chestnut color when mature. The golden flesh has the taste of hazelnuts and fruits last for months in storage. Try some of these varieties in your garden and let me know how they do on the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio’s Facebook page.

For this week’s tip, as the snow melts resist the urge to start lawn cleanup duties. Let lawns dry out to avoid compacting the soil. If you can see your footprint after walking on the lawn, it’s still too wet to work.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.