Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Yard & Garden Planning

Guide to Great Vegetable Varieties for 1998 (page 2 of 5)

by Charlie Nardozzi

Peppers

Good bell pepper varieties to grow are 'Ace', 'California Wonder', and 'La Bamba' (test winner in 1990). Standard sweet frying peppers are 'Gypsy' and 'Sweet Banana'. Although two standard hot pepper varieties are 'Super Chili' and 'Hungarian Hot Wax', NG testers have had many favorite hot peppers over the years. These include 'Mirasol' (1995), an attractive, flavorful, and high-yielding chili with 3-inch-long upward-facing fruits; 'Senorita' (1996) a 3-inch-long mild jalapeno; and 'Big Chili' (1997), a mild 10-inch-long chili.

'Aji Dulce': 111 days. Venezuelan heirloom habajero with added spice and sweetness and less heat. The 2-inch-long fruits are very aromatic.

'Caribbean Red': 110 days. One of the hottest habajero varieties. It grows like a traditional haba-ero but is more productive, has more uniform fruit size and shape, and is hotter. Not for the faint of heart.

'Charleston Belle': 67 days. This compact bell pepper, developed by the USDA Vegetable Lab in Charleston, South Carolina, is the first variety to have root-knot nematode resistance, a great boon for southern gardeners. Its growth and production are similar to 'Keystone Giant'.

'Chervena Chujski': 85 days; NG. This Bulgarian heirloom produces extremely sweet, 6-inch-long fruits that ripen to bright red. Testers liked the large, sturdy plant and the large, sweet, and fleshy peppers. However, testers in cooler areas said that the fruits matured late.

'Chile Lombak': 90 days. This Indonesian heirloom has 5-inch-long fruits that are mostly grown for drying but can also be eaten fresh. They have a unique quality: the bottom half is sweet, but the top half is pungent.

'El Chaco': 75 days. This South American variety produces 4-inch-long, slightly curled, hot, thin fruits that mature to a deep orange-red. Excellent for drying.

'Fat 'n' Sassy': 65 days; NG. Thick-walled bell pepper produced early in the season. Testers said it was big (one reported a pepper 1 foot in circumference), meaty, and prolific. The only negative aspect was that it stopped producing early.

'Figaro': 75 days; NG. This blocky 4- by 4-inch, thick-walled sweet pepper produces over a long period. Testers reported that this hybrid was a strong, bushy plant with good fruit production. However, it wasn't outstanding in any specific category.

'Golden Jubilee': 90 days. Russian heirloom yellow pimiento pepper with 1/2-inch-thick walls.

'Gold Standard': 88 days. This hybrid 5- by 5-inch, thick-walled, yellow bell pepper matures to gold earlier than other gold-skinned varieties.

'Kovinchu': 115 days. These 3 1/2-foot-tall plants produce 6-inch-long, tapered fruits that are sweet yet juicy and mildly hot.

'Mandarin': 75 days. This large, elongated high-yield hybrid bell pepper has sweet juicy flesh picked green or when matured to orange.

'Sweet Toro': 80 days; NG. 'Sweet Toro' is a hybrid version of 'Corno di Toro', but with added disease resistance and higher yields. Testers liked the sturdy, bushy plants and the large, plentiful peppers that ripened early and had sweet flavor.

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