Here are the most promising of the new vegetable varieties for 1996 that were not available for testing last season.
At National Gardening, "new" means a variety that has never been offered for sale to home gardeners in the U.S. For hybrid varieties, this is easy to determine; in the case of open-pollinated and heirloom varieties, we go back about 10 years. This explanation is necessary because seed companies routinely promote varieties as "new" when they mean new to their catalog only.
Our staff reviews available information and selects only those that are, in our judgment, most noteworthy.
Beans and Peas
'Amish Heirloom' snap pea. 60-70 days. A hardy, drought-resistant, 4'- to 6'-tall vine with nearly stringless, sweet peas. Not related to newer snap pea varieties.
'Garden of Eden' pole bean. 65 days. A family heirloom from Spain. It's a long, broad, flat bean with sweet, tender flavor.
'Prestige Salad' bean. 49 days. A variation on Royalty Purple Pod. A bush bean with a glabrous skin like the southern "greasy" beans.
'Super Sugar Snap' pea. 63 days. This new version of the classic Sugar Snap performed extremely well in our trials. It is six days earlier than Sugar Snap and more productive, has shorter vines, resists powdery mildew better but still has the great Sugar Snap flavor.
Carrots, Beats, and Radishes
'Caroline Kuroda' carrot. 95 days. Wedge-shaped, 6 to 8 long; can withstand adverse weather better than the other Kurodas and has better disease resistance.
'Healthmaster' carrot. 130 days. Late-maturing, extra-large carrot produces 1-1/2-pound, crack-free roots high in vitamin A.
'Red Meat' radish. 50 days. An unusual green-skinned variety with sweet, red-pink flesh. Best planted for fall harvest.
'Spring Light' hybrid radish. 65-75 days. Smooth, tapered, 5- to 7-inch long white roots free of cracks and pithiness.
'St. Valery' carrot. 70-80 days. This French heirloom grows 10 to 12 long and is unusually high in amino acids.
'Tricolor' radish. 55 days. A Chinese heirloom that's green on top, pink in the middle and white at the tip. Good for storing.
'Brocoverde' hybrid cauliflower. 70t days. This light green, semi-domed 1-pound head can be grown in warm areas where other cauliflowers fail.
'Cumberland' hybrid cauliflower. 70t days. A self-wrapping main-season variety with good heat tolerance.
'Discovery' hybrid cabbage. 75t days. Light green midseason cabbage has a crisp texture and very sweet flavor, along with good disease resistance.
'Nomad' hybrid cauliflower. 265t days. European overwintering variety that produces 2- to 3-pound white heads in early spring.
'Stardust' hybrid cauliflower. 80t days. A good variety in hot areas. Self-blanching leaves make this a very reliable producer.
'Tasty Nuggets' hybrid Brussels sprouts. 78t days. High-yielding, early, with very sweet flavor.
Cucumbers, Squash, and Pumpkins
Eureka hybrid cucumber. 56 days. A monoecious, indeterminate, disease-resistant pickler with a small seed cavity.
'Howden Biggie' pumpkin. 115 days. An even larger version of the classic Howden pumpkin. Can grow to more than 40 pounds.
'Pay Day' summer squash. 51 days. A golden zucchini with vigorous habit and reduced leaf and stem spines, making it easier to pick.
'Baby Green' lettuce. 45 days. Miniature Bibb and Butterhead cross similar to Buttercrunch; 8-diameter, compact heads and thick, sweet leaves.
'Correnta' hybrid spinach. 45 days. For warmer areas. Smooth, round leaves produced on disease- and bolt-resistant plants.
'Little Caesar' lettuce. 70 days. Compact, nonsavoyed Romaine lettuce that's 1/3 the size of normal Romaines.
'Magenta Mix' Swiss chard. 45 days. Smooth green leaves with glowing magenta-colored ribs.
'Red Curl' lettuce. 30 days. Unusual, single-leaf variety. Produces large, flat, green with red-tinged leaves good for sandwiches garnishes. Fast-growing and bolt-resistant.
'Tamina' hybrid spinach. 38 days. Asian variety with crispy, smooth, arrow-shaped leaves and good disease resistance.
'White Russian' kale. 59 days. A very cold-hardy kale with mild flavor. Slow to bolt, good for the North.
'Black Plum'. 82t days. Fruit size about the same as Yellow Pear but with a deep mahogany color and juicy, sweet, fruity flavor.
'Bull's Heart'. 87t days. Large, pink oxheart-type Russian tomato grows 3-pound, meaty, solid, sweet-flavored fruits on tall plants.
'Elbe'. 89t days. Named after the Elbe River in Germany, this indeterminate produces 12-ounce deep yellow-orange fruits on vigorous vines.
'Jubilee Treasure'. 85t days. Indeterminate vines produce 6- to 10-ounce, firm, long-keeping orange fruits.
'Lollipop'. 79t days. A highly branched, indeterminate plant that produces small pale yellow fruits in clusters of six. The fruits are shaped like lollipops and have a sweet, lemony flavor.
'Matt's Wild Cherry'. 60t days. Wild cherry indeterminate tomato from Mexico; reportedly sweeter than Sweet 100.
'Memoirs'. 90t days. A super-firm, 4- to 6-ounce, long-keeping red tomato born on a disease-resistant, determinate plant.
'Romance'. 50t days. A compact, determinate plant that produces the earliest ever Roma-type tomatoes.
'Sandul Moldovian'. 85t days. One-pound, slightly flattened, beefsteak-shaped fruits from the Moldovian region.
'Schellenberg's Favorite'. 110t days. A huge, red-orange beefsteak-type indeterminate German tomato that's smooth and crack-resistant.
'Soldacki'. 75t days. From Poland, this tomato has vigorous potato-leaved foliage and produces 1-pound, ribbed, flattened, meaty, intensely flavored fruits.
'Southern Night'. 84t days. A determinate, potato-leaved foliage plant with 3-diameter mahogany-red fruits with a rich flavor.
'Sugar Cherry'. 55t days. A very early maturing, indeterminate, tasty red cherry tomato with wild currant tomato heritage.
'Thai Pink'. 75t days. An indeterminate plant that produces small, oval, cherry-sized pink fruits.
'Tiger Fuzz'. 60t days. An attractive, compact, "fuzzy" plant that produces early red-and-yellow striped fruits.
'First Prize'. 75t days. A large, globe-shaped fruit with excellent sugar-to-acid ratio. Disease-resistant, widely adapted.
'Goliath'. 65t days. Disease-resistant, indeterminate plant produces 10- to 15-ounce fruits all season and is widely adapted.
'Heatwave II'. 68t days. More disease-resistant version of Heatwave.
'Husky Cherry Gold'. 72t days. The latest in the Husky series of dwarf indeterminate plants, this is a golden version of Husky Cherry Red tomato.
'Nicklow's Doubletake'. 85t days. A determinate, midseason variety that produces 1/2-pound, crack-free red fruits that store well.
'Blenheim Orange' melon. 90-100 days. English heirloom produces 2-pound, netted-skinned fruit with sweet orange flesh. Does well in cool areas.
'Early Sugarshaw' melon. 80 days. Like the classic crenshaw melon, but these 10-pound fruits are produced three weeks earlier.
'Golden Jubilee' watermelon. 90 days. A yellow-fleshed version of the famous Jubilee watermelon.
'New Charm' hybrid melon. 80 days. This early, oblong, 2- to 3-pound vigorous-growing, orange-fleshed Hami melon hails from China.
'Summer Sun' hybrid watermelon. 85 days. A 3- to 5-pound yellow-fleshed seedless watermelon from Clemson University. Needs pollinator for best growth.
'Red Delicious' hybrid. 105 days. Jumbo red-skinned, white-fleshed, long-day onion; earlier than other red onions.
'Sweet & Early' hybrid. 90 days. A cross between a long- and short-day onion; produces sweet yellow onions just three months after seeding.
'Aruba' hybrid. 65t days. Early Cubanel pepper handles stress well and has large lime-green fruits.
'Guantanamo' hybrid. 60t days. A 7-long Cubannelle-type that outyielded other Cubanelles by 30%.
'Inferno' hybrid. 60t days. Similar to Hungarian Hot Wax, but more productive and on a larger plant.
'Jaloro'. 70t days. A yellow jalapeno that's a little hotter than other jalape-os and has more disease resistance.
'Lemme's Italian Sweet'. 74t days. A crimson red, thin-walled, 6- to 8-long pepper that's good to dry even in the humid East.
'Super Cayenne II' hybrid. 70t days. Plant is taller, has longer fruits and is more disease-resistant than the original Super Cayenne.
'Canadian Orchard Baby'. 60 days. Dwarf 3'- to 5'-tall plants germinate even in 40° F air temperatures and produce half-size yellow ears.
'Royal Gourmet' hybrid. 78 days. A white Sh2 (supersweet); husks are splashed with purple and cob is maroon. Good disease resistance; plants do best in warm soils.
'Seneca Appaloosa' hybrid. 73 days. Bicolor version of Seneca Scrumptious (below).
'Seneca Scrumptious' hybrid. 77 days. Yellow Sh2 variety in the Seneca hybrid line. Plants germinate well in cool soils and produce 8 1/2 ears with good tip coverage, ideal for freezing and canning.
t = days to maturity from transplant