Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Try Something New in 2013

by Susan Littlefield

Variety is the spice of life! Part of what makes growing your own vegetables so much fun is trying something new and different. While you may always want to include your tried and true favorites in the garden each year, experimenting with new crops and varieties keeps things interesting. And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a new ″must-have″ to add to your list this year!

Love those Leafy Greens

Nutritionists tell us that leafy greens are among the most healthful vegetables we can add to our diets. Kale and mustard greens are nutritional superstars, delivering loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for few calories. But they also deliver on good taste, adding a piquant flavor cooked up with some olive oil and garlic or added to soups, stews, even salads. Colorful lettuces and chicories form the basis for tasty salads and add vitamins and fiber to the diet. Tolerant of cool weather, all these leafy crops are great for both early and late harvests.

The Seeds of Summer

Here's a trick question. Which says "summer" more -- sweet corn or watermelon? They are both equally evocative of long, hot summer days -- and both do best when planted from seed sown in the garden when the soil is well-warmed and all danger of frost is past. The same is true for other heat lovers like basil, okra, and summer squash. Grow them all and it will be easy to meet the recommended five-a-day fruit and veggie servings that nutritionists recommend for good health.

Here are some the exciting new varieties we are offering this season.

'Blue Lake FM1K' Bean (63 days)— A prolific pole bean variety, this white-seeded bean sets crisp, stringless, dark green pods from the base to the top of the 5.5 to 6 foot vines.

'Dwarf Long Green Pod' Okra (50 days) —This early bearer produces high yields of dark green, 7-8 inch long pods.

Summer Basil Blend —This blend of colors and shapes includes Bush Spicy Globe, Purple Dark Opal, Siam Queen, and Italian Large Leaf.

Mustard Braising Greens—A medley of tasty greens, this blend contains tatsoi, mizuna, Red Giant, mibuna, and Red Russian kale. This cut-and-come again crop can be used for salads or braising.

'Total Eclipse' Scallop Summer Squash (49 days) —Dark green, pie shaped, scalloped fruits have fine grained white flesh with good flavor.

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