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Guide to Great Vegetable Varieties for 1998 (page 3 of 5)

by Charlie Nardozzi

Beans and Peas

Some standard varieties of bush and pole beans include 'Blue Lake', 'Kentucky Wonder', and 'Romano'. For English peas, try 'Maestro' and 'Wando'. For snap peas, try 'Super Sugar Snap' (a special NG test winner in 1996, a shorter and more mildew-tolerant version of 'Sugar Snap') and 'Sugar Ann'. For snow peas, try 'Oregon Giant'.

'Borlotto' bean: 75 days. This Italian pole bean has red-splashed pods filled with white beans. Eat them fresh or dry, or cook them in any bean dish.

'Rondo' pea: 56 days. This high-yield, main-season, sweet English pea features 10 peas per pod.

'Straight 'n' Narrow' bean: 53 days; NG. This hybrid of the classic French filet-type bush bean produces high yields of tender, thin pods that are longer than other filet varieties. Testers loved the high productivity and thin beans that stayed tender even when large. However, many felt it wasn't a major improvement over other French filet varieties.

Sweet Corn

Two standard open-pollinated sweet corn varieties are 'Golden Bantam' and 'Silver Queen'. For modern sugar-enhanced varieties (indicated as SE on packages and in catalogs), try 'Bodacious' and 'Miracle', both yellow. Testers liked 'Fancy-Full' (1992 bicolor winner), 'Early Choice' (1996 yellow winner), and 'Sir Prize' (1997 bicolor winner). For supersweet varieties, try the white 'How Sweet It Is' or yellow 'Early Xtra Sweet'.

'Jackpot': 82 days. Disease-resistant hybrid plants produce slim, bicolored se ears filled with sweet, tender kernels.

'Kandy Plus': 78 days. Yellow SE hybrid has good husk cover, flavorful kernels, and good disease resistance.

'Silver Princess': 74 days. This new SE white corn has the eating quality of 'Silver Queen' but is earlier and more disease resistant.

'Sweet Chorus': 67 days; NG. A bicolor Sh2 (a supersweet type that holds its sweetness longer after picking) corn that produces sweet ears early in the season. Testers loved this hybrid's shorter stalks and the fast growth. The ears tasted good for an early corn, but they weren't significantly better than other supersweet varieties.


Some widely adapted slicing cucumber varieties include 'Fanfare' (a productive and disease-resistant, short-vine slicer, and a test winner in 1994), 'Salad Bush', and 'Sweet Success'. For pickling cucumbers, try 'Bush Pickle' or 'National Pickle'.

'Cool Breeze': 45 days. French pickling hybrid has all-female flowers that set fruits parthenocarpically (they don't need cross-pollination). The plant produces 4-inch-long, smooth-skinned, crisp cucumbers early and under any weather condition.

'Green Sleeves': 53 days; NG. This hybrid started producing its 7-inch-long fruits early and continued all season regardless of weather conditions. Testers said it outproduced the standard 'Sweet Slice'. The flavor was mild and the texture crunchy.

'Marketmore 97': 55 days. The latest 'Marketmore' versions produced sweet 10-inch-long slicing cucumbers. The plants are more resistant to powdery mildew and cucumber mosaic virus than other 'Marketmore' varieties.

'Parade': 55 days. This Russian heirloom has 4-foot vines that produce uniform crops of 4-inch-long cucumbers.

'Stix': 57 days; NG. According to testers, this sweet 4-inch-long, nearly seedless cucumber had compact growth and produced an abundance of thin-skinned crisp, smooth fruits. The flavor wasn't outstanding, though, and some testers mentioned that the fruits didn't store well after harvest.

'Tamra': 59 days. Shiny, dark green fruits 6 inches long have thin, smooth skin and crisp flesh. This hybrid is gynoecious (it produces mostly female flowers) and very disease-resistant.

'Wautoma': 60 days. This USDA-bred open-pollinated pickling cucumber has no bitterness and is resistant to almost all the major cucumber diseases.

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