A little something to read

Y’all may or may not do much cruisin around the Internet; sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But if you haven’t found where my weekly gardening articles are posted, click here. As is the case with some newsprint websites, they won’t post current articles because “they” say folks will just read the online copy and stop buying the hard copy. I don’t know if there’s any merit to that or not, but I do know newsprint and newspapers in cities all over the country are in decline because of the ever increasing free content you can find online.

So, I’ve decided to post recent articles here, keep in mind though that it won’t be the current one you’ll see in the two PA newspapers I write for – Grove City’s Allied News or Sharon’s The Herald. They wouldn’t appreciate me posting articles that are due to go in that week’s papers! But they will be fresher than what’s posted on their website.

Here then is a little something to read.

New for 2012

New vegetable varieties of garlic, squash, tomatoes, melons, eggplant, peas, cucumbers and beans await a place in your garden this year. More new selections can be found in the 2012 seed catalogs arriving in your mailboxes (that thing on the post, out by the road) so be sure to look for your favorites and order early.

Consider this my little heads-up article, something that might help you narrow your choices and give you an idea about possibly trying a few new unheard of varieties in your garden this year. I’ll stick with vegetables, hybrids and heirlooms, and mention new varieties that are listed in several of my 2012 seed catalogs.

I love fresh green beans, and the taste of heirloom varieties is even sweeter. You might want to plant a row or two of ‘Bountiful’ beans this year. “The 16-18 inch plants, with their striking light-green foliage, resist rust, mildew and the bean beetle,” states the folks with Comstock’s 2012 Seed Guide. ‘Bountiful’ is a bush type, and has been around since 1898.

Pole beans strung up with grass string and two posts, simply and rustically gorgeous.

“Dunja is a high yielder of dark green, straight zucchinis,” says Johnny’s Selected Seeds. And if you’re not growing enough zucchini by now then it’s time you took the plunge like the rest of us! Newbie gardeners, if you’re thinking you can’t grow veggies, you’ve not grown zucchini – it practically grows itself.

Looking for a new cherry tomato for this year’s garden? Burpee offers ‘Cherry Punch,’ a new hybrid, ready to eat off the vine in 48 days. “These tasty red beauties are little giants when it comes to taste and nutrition,” the catalog states.

Tomato lovers, are you ready to plant in containers this year? If so, Tomato Growers Supply Company sells a new heirloom – ‘Big Dwarf,’ that grows well in a pot if your limited on space. Reaching to about 2 feet, “the plant stays small while delivering large and really delicious tomatoes.” This is a determinate variety, meaning once fruit ripens, it’s done for the season.

Heirloom tomatoes might not be very attractive, but WOW!! you with their taste!

Watermelons are ‘Oh So Sweet!’ And this new variety, originally from Texas, is a staff favorite of Seed Savers Exchange. ‘Oh So Sweet’ is a “delicious watermelon that definitely lives up to its name,” their catalog states. I absolutely love watermelon, unfortunately I don’t have good luck growing it in my garden. Most types need long growing seasons, ‘Oh So Sweet’ matures in 90 days, and for our Zone 5 gardens, that’s a long time to wait!

Looking more like a yellowish-white lemon, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offers their new cucumber ‘Crystal Apple.’ This cucumber comes to us via “Australia around the year 1930 from Arthur Yates and Co. But this type of cucumber is likely to have originated in China.” Baker Creek’s catalog states that it’s so tender you can eat it whole, skin and all!

This year I plan on trying a new (to me) variety of sweet corn – ‘That’s Delicious’ is bi-colored but “more yellow than white, tender, and freezes well,” according to local gardener Eileen Johnson. Eileen and her husband Larry grew about 15 rows of  That’s Delicious last summer and both recommended I give it a try.

When planning your garden for this year and when you put your seed order in, keep in mind that the average last frost date for our zone is May 15. We usually plant out on Memorial Day as a tradition.

(This article was originally published on January 11, 2012)

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