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Vermont Garden Journal: Colorful Vegetables

AP/Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

January is veggie seed ordering time. But I can't look at those veggie catalogs on an empty belly. Everything in those print and on-line pages looks delicious! I know I can't fit them all in the garden, so each year I look for a few new and unique varieties to try. Here are my selections.

Color is a great part of vegetable gardening. I still remember the first time I glimpsed 'Graffiti' purple cauliflower. I almost screamed! This year is no exception. There are green and yellow skinned cucumbers, but now we have a white skinned variety. 'Silver Skin' slicing cucumber features tender, white skin that makes peeling obsolete. This slicer is crisp, juicy, mild flavored and powdery mildew disease resistant.

Color in pumpkins has gotten a bit wild, too. There are orange, red, white, and even blue pumpkins. Now we can add pink to the list. 'Porcelain Doll' has a squat Cinderella pumpkin-shaped fruit with a pink skin color and tasty orange flesh. And it supports a good cause. A portion of the sale of 'Porcelain Doll' seeds is donated to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation to support breast cancer research.  

If you love basil like I love basil, you want as much as possible. Unfortunately, once basil start flowering, production is decreased. The solution is 'Bam' basil. This new variety keeps producing during the heat of summer without ever bolting.

I can't talk new veggie varieties without a word about tomatoes. One of the more recent trends is hybridizing heirloom varieties, such as Brandywine, to maintain their unique color, shape and flavor, but improve yields. The latest hybrid is 'Chefs Choice'. This orange tomato variety is similar to 'Amana Orange', but matures sooner, is more productive and disease resistant.

And now for this week's tip, inventory your seed starting pots, soil and markers to get ready to sow indoors. Consider buying a heating mat to place under pots for faster germination.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about hellebores. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Broadcast on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 5:57 and Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.
The Vermont Garden Journal with Chalie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and Gardeners.com.

All American Selection Winning Vegetables
Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation
Bam Basil
Charlie Nardozzi

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