I’m a happy camper when I’m surrounded by seed catalogs in the winter. Although I have favorites that I plant every year, there’s no way I can resist some of the new varieties with their gorgeous colors and promises of stellar production. Plus, I need to sort these things out to pass on the information to other gardeners. Sometimes the newbies are stunning successes, other times horrible failures or just plain “eh.” Here are how some of the new ones fared this year:
Indigo Rose tomato – This is a super deep purple tomato developed by Oregon State University. It’s small, but prolific. At least that’s how it grew for me on the ‘Maxifort’ rootstock I used for grafting it. (If anyone grew it on a non-grafted plant, I’d love to hear about its growing tendencies.) The plants were absolutely loaded with the small fruit. Initially the tomatoes are purple on the top and green out of the sunlight. They’re ripe once they turn an orange-red. It’s odd that the purple completely disappears. The flavor is questionable. I don’t like tomatoes so I’m not a good judge, but many of my friends gave input. My friend Nancy in Iowa called when she tried hers for the very first bite. She was less than enthused. It a mild tomato without much of the acidy bite of regular tomatoes. This will mean I’ll definitely have to add lemon juice to my sauce to ensure proper acid levels when I can them. The great boon of the ‘Indigo Rose’ tomatoes is the high anthocyanin levels, which are highly beneficial. Because of this I’ll grow them again next year.
Deadon cabbage – This was another vegetable that caught my eye because of its looks. I like cabbage a lot anyway, and when I saw this purple tinged savoy cabbage I wanted to give it a try. It was a nice plant, and very healthy, but overall I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t think the texture or the flavor of Deadon was very good. Unless something else catches my eye, I’ll most like fall back on the ‘Krautman’ cabbage from Pinetree Seeds this year.
Amana Orange tomato – My friend Nancy sent me seeds last year because they’re her favorite. I must say, I wasn’t impressed with the plants from the beginning. They looked scrawny and sickly. Even when I grafted them, they didn’t thrive. The leaves were brown and crinkled, and the plants seem to struggle to stay alive. But I left them. The resulting tomatoes were excellent. They were huge, orange and really, really good. Even I liked them sauteed with other veggies to make a delicious sauce. They do tend to split easily, but I’ll definitely add these to the list in the spring. The flavor is worth it.
Flowering Sprouts – I’m a big fan of Brussels sprouts and kale so when Johnny’s Seeds had a combination of both in one plant, I had to try it. Plus, it was so pretty! The good news is the plants are vigorous standing over 3-ft tall, and grew exceptionally well despite the hot summer. Plus, they’re really eye catching and pretty with their purple leaves. The bad news is they really haven’t produced much. The sprouts are tiny… less than the size of a dime in diameter. I know they’re supposed to be bigger, but I’m not sure what happened. I might try them again in 2013 if I have seeds left, but I don’t think I’ll spend the money on another packet.
Raspberry Sorbet zinnia – This is going to be a regular in the garden because they were absolutely gorgeous. Even though I don’t typically plant a lot of flowers since I want things I can eat, I got these seeds from Renee’s Garden this spring because the description caught my attention. (Plus, flowers are good for pollination.) They didn’t disappoint. The plants grew well and produced flowers from late summer until a heavy freeze. The bright magenta pink flowers really stood out. Raspberry Sorbet is on the list from now on.
These are just a few of the news varieties I tried this year. It’s nice to add the successes to the “must-grow” list for 2013, and be able to share what didn’t work for me this season. It’ll help when I’m drooling over the pretty photos this winter adding to my list.