Ahh, it's January -- time to leaf through the latest seed catalogs looking for the best new varieties. One way to decide what to grow this spring is to trust the professionals. For more than 70 years the All-America Selections program has been trialing and awarding prizes to the best new vegetable and flower varieties. For 2006, here are the winning vegetables you might want to try growing at home. Bon appetite!
'Delfino' cilantro features fern-like foliage on a well-branched, 20-inch-tall plant. This variety produces more leaves than other cilantro varieties and is slower to bolt in hot weather. It grows best in full sun.
'Purple Haze' carrot is an improved purple variety. This hybrid imperator carrot grows 12 inches long and produces purple skins and bright orange centers. It is more uniform in growth and has better color than other purple varieties.
'Mariachi' hybrid pepper is the latest entry into the hot pepper arena. 'Mariachi' grows 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. This upright bush type produces fleshy peppers that hang down on the plant. Fruits first turn white, then mature to red. 'Mariachi' is moderately pungent and has better yield and color than similar varieties.
The last 2005 AAS vegetable winner is an improved sweet pepper. 'Carmen' is a hybrid bull's horn type pepper that grows about 6 inches long. It is one of the earliest sweet peppers to turn red, maturing in 75 days from transplanting. This variety is compact enough to grow in containers as well as in the garden.
For more information on these new vegetable varieties, go to: All-America Selections.