Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation

Hybrid or Open Pollinated (page 6 of 6)

by Ben Watson

Hybrid Hall of Fame

For a hybrid to last longer than 10 years in the marketplace is a testament to its greatness. The following hybrid vegetables, a sampling of favorites, have become home-garden classics.

Broccoli -- 'Premium Crop' (1975). Hybrid broccolis come and go, but this one always performs well and has a fiercely loyal following.

Cabbage -- 'Stonehead' (1969). Truck farmers sing its praises, and home gardeners who make sauerkraut ask for it by name.

Cauliflower -- 'Snow Crown' (1975). Forms perfect white heads with little or no "buttoning," bolting prior to head formation.

Corn -- Several must be mentioned: 'Early Sunglow' (1956), 'Golden Cross Bantam' (1934), 'Illini Xtra-Sweet' (1971) and 'Silver Queen' (1960). Corn is the success story of the hybridization process.

Cucumber -- 'Sweet Success' (1983), Becoming more popular every year, its fruits have thin skins and sweet flavor.

Eggplant -- 'Dusky' (1975). Still the most reliable eggplant for northern gardeners.

Melon -- 'Ambrosia' (1975). Distinctive color and flavor; sweet, juicy, and widely adapted. After 40 years, 'Burpee Hybrid' (1955) is still among the best for gardeners in short-season regions.

Pepper -- 'Gypsy' (1981). Early, prolific, and tasty.

Squash, Summer -- 'Sunburst' (1985). After only 10 years, this patty pan has become the standard of its type. The bright yellow fruits are a fixture at farmer's market.

Squash, Winter -- 'Sweet Mama' (1979) is the most reliable and best-yielding of the sweet Japanese kabocha types. Acorn-type 'Table Ace' (1976) gains new fans every year.

Tomato -- Always hard to pick a favorite: 'Burpee's Big Boy' (1949) may be the longest-lived tomato hybrid on the market. 'Celebrity' (1984) and 'Early Girl' (1975) are bona fide classics.

Ben Watson is the author of Taylor's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1996; $18), and Gardener's Supply Company Passport to Gardening : A Sourcebook for the 21st-Century Gardener (Chelsea Green Co., 1999; $20). He lives in Francestown, New Hampshire.

Photography by National Gardening Association.

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