Promising New Varieties for 2015

The  only thing better than actually getting my hands dirty in the garden is ordering seeds vintage_vegs_lg
and plants. Like you, I’ve got my old stand bys I’ll always order, like my Celebrity tomatoes that do so well in the north. However, this time of year I’m perusing the catalogs to find new items that might do well in our climate. Here is what I came up. Please feel free to share your own tried and true varieties.

J.W. Jung Seed Co.

Jung seems like an old friend, I’ve been ordering from them for that long (in fact, we’re getting old together!). This year they’re offering Patio Baby Hybrid Eggplant. As the name implies, it can be grown in a container and will ripen in 45 days. Like most short-season varieties, the fruit is petite, but I don’t mind as long as I can have fresh eggplant. An added bonus is that it is a 2014 AAS (All-American Selections) Winner. I’ve had a lot of success the AAS varieties.

Another AAS Winner is Mountain Merit Hybrid tomato. I don’t think this variety is new this year, but it is new to Jung’s. They say if you like Celebrity tomato you’ll like this one. It grows on determinate vines and is ready to harvest in 75 days (from transplant). I’ve also heard that this variety is resistant to late blight, a fungus that has affected many growers here in the Upper Midwest.

Victory Hosta, which was bestowed the title “2015 Hosta of the Year,” has large leaves and distinct foliage. These can be purchased as plants in 3” pots and is hardy to zone 4.


This company, known for its stellar breeding program, has many new offerings, I’ll mention a few that I think hold promise for us northern gardeners.Calibrachoa_Kabloom

Cupcake Hybrid summer squash caught my eye right away. It only requires 52 days to maturity and sets 2-5” dark green fruit shaped like a cupcake. It can be served up by grilling, roasting, slicing, and boiling. I can’t wait to try this in the garden and in the kitchen!

Kabloom is being touted by Burpees as the first Calibrachoa offered from seed. They come in 4 different colors, ten seeds per pack at $5.95 per pack. I’m going to start this one inside the house under a grow light and move it to the greenhouse in late April when the weather warms. It may be a challenge to grow this one to maturity in our short season. So if you’re up to a challenge, give this one a try and let me know how you make out.

Cloudy Day Hybrid Tomato sounds like the perfect fit for this climate, though I haven’t actually tried growing it yet (it’s on my wish list for this spring). It purportedly thrives in cold weather and is early and late blight resistant, a problem that has plagued growers in this area for a few years now. Expect 4-5 ounce fruit on 36″-48″ vines that will need support.

 Neil writes for Michigan Gardening, Country Lines and several horticultural trade magazines.
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