Every year we ask our retail seed sellers about the vegetables and flowers they’re most excited about for the coming season. Read about their picks here. You’ll be wanting to plant a few of these luscious vegetables and fun flower combos in your garden this year, guaranteed!
Clockwise from top left: Sparky, Red Torch, Apricot Zebra, Clare Valley Red, Large Lucky Red, Galaxy, Willamette, Honeycomb
From AWhaley.com: two Cream of the Crop tomatoes, products of a breeding venture that seeks to merge exceptional taste with multiple disease resistances and interesting coloration. Sparky XSL F1 is a striped cherry with an indeterminate habit, and Red Torch F1 is a tasty and prolific early season hybrid. Both won AAS awards. Hudsonvalleyseed.com is enthused about Apricot Zebra tomato, a new variety with appealing tangerine colored skin and attractive green striping which fades as the fruits mature. Plants are disease resistant, and set tons of golf ball size, juicy fruits, with notes of tropical, fruity flavor. Victoryseeds.com has brought back several older tomatoes in 2019, in addition to adding several newly bred tomatoes to its lineup. Large Lucky Red, a recent introduction, is a potato leaf plant that produces meaty, juicy beefsteak-type fruits that average about 1 pound each. Clare Valley Red is a compact sturdy plant, about 3 feet in height, which yields ample amounts of 3-6 ounce multi-purpose fruits for fresh eating and canning. Highmowingseeds.com wants you to know about their Cornell-bred Galaxy Suite grape tomatoes: Starlight, Comet, Midnight, Sungrazer, and Supernova. These delectable morsels in a “suite” of colors and oblong shapes are prolific and hold up well on the vine and after harvest. You’ll be tempted to try all five! Irisheyesgardenseeds.com is offering Willamette tomato for the first time. Developed at Oregon State University in 1964, this bush (determinate) tomato bears medium sized, mild flavored fruits that ripen reliably in the cooler climates of the Pacific Northwest. Burpee.com describes Honeycomb as a “sinuous 6–7’ vine garlanded with 12–15” trusses that cascade into clusters of sweet petite ½ oz. golden-orange tomatoes rich in flavor and aromatics.”
Peppers and Eggplants
From left: Gurney’s Salsa Hybrid Pepper, Bulgarian Carrot Pepper, Annina Eggplant
Gardensalive.com calls Gurney’s Salsa Hybrid Hot Pepper “your salsa’s secret ingredient.” Compact plants produce generous yields of jumbo serranos—up to 5 inches long—that ripen to a vibrant red. Reneesgarden.com highlights heirloom Bulgarian Carrot Pepper, compact plants with early, heavy sets of 3-inch orange pods that look a little like glossy little carrots. Taste is hot AND fruity—delicious in recipes calling for both heat and great flavor. Heat level is between Jalapenos & Cayennes. Highmowingseeds.com describes Annina F1 Eggplant as prolific, flavorful, and beautiful. Plants are vigorous with no spines, and the striped purple fruits grow to 7 inches.
From left: Six Shooter, Double Red, Simply Irresistible™
Victoryseeds.com has an impressive assortment of 52 open-pollinated (OP) corn varieties. Reintroduced this year after a long absence from the trade, Six Shooter is a productive old-fashioned sweet corn. Check out the whole line! Hudsonvalleyseed.com also offers OP corn varieties, including beautiful Glass Gem and Martian Jewels, and extra nutritious, anthocyanin-rich Double Red (pictured), a sweet corn that can also be dried and ground. Gurneys.com calls Simply Irresistible™ “our best sweet corn yet!” A taste-test winner with nice, deep kernels that you can really sink your teeth into, it germinates reliably and matures relatively quickly, in 78 days. The 200-seed packet will plant a 50-foot row.
Squash and Melons
From left: Mango Hybrid Melon, Brûlée Butternut Squash, Honeyboat Delicata
Burpee.com calls Mango Hybrid Melon the “go-to melon for gardens in the Northern US and Canada.” The hardy 14-24 inch plants bear luscious colored fruits with a mango-tinted sweetness. Highmowingseeds.com describes Cornell-bred Brûlée Butternut as earlier and better storing than the popular Honeynut. Vigorous plants produce high yields of savory ½ to 1 pound fruits with just the right amount of sweetness. Territorialseed.com touts 1½ pound Honeyboat as “a shoe-in for a new found favorite delicata.” Fruits are arguably sweeter than traditional varieties. Plus, they store well and retain their sweet flavor better on the shelf.
From left: Red Centennial Lettuce Mix, White Ice Mustard, Pagoda Purple Pak Choi
Rohrerseeds.com is celebrating 100 years of providing seeds to gardeners in 2019! In honor of the occasion it introduced Red Centennial Lettuce Mix, which combines Red Salad Bowl, Red Romaine, Carmona Red and Merlot lettuces in a striking blend that will bring beauty to your garden and a gourmet flair to your salads. MVseeds.com (Mountain Valley Seeds) offers dozens of microgreens, many of which can be ready for eating within a week. They range from Chrysanthemum greens to Chinese mahogany to the White Ice Mustard pictured above, an unusual mustard microgreen with a sweet and spicy flavor. Green cotyledons have a speckled purple reverse and a fuzzy stem. Also new from MV Seeds is Pagoda Purple Pak Choi, 6 to 8 inches tall, with wonderful color. Well suited to a container, the greens can be harvested at the baby stage for salads.
From top left: Pink Moon Poppy, Jimi’s poppies, Summer Pinwheels Zinnias, Sombrero Zinnias, Edible Flower Mix, Beekeepers Early Blooming Mix
Hudsonvalleyseed.com named Pink Moon Poppy after a favorite Nick Drake song and describes it like this: “One of the largest and sturdiest poppies we’ve ever seen! Makes quite a statement, particularly en masse.” Territorialseed.com is offering Jimi’s Poppies in 2019 in a color spectrum right off a Hendrix album cover. These breadseed poppies are a psychedelic blend of reds, purples, pinks, and whites, with lots of multi-hued blooms. Use the dried pods in flower arrangements, and the edible seeds in breads and muffins. Reneesgarden.com offers over 20 showy zinnias. New Summer Pinwheels, whose double blossoms have cherry-pink centers and white tipped petals, are standouts. Plus they bring in the butterflies. You can count on long lasting bouquets from these 3 to 3½ foot plants all season long. Also check out Beekeepers Early Blooming Mix, Renee’s mix of 22 annual flowers that produce an irresistible supply of nectar and pollen. They make lovely bouquets, and attract many species of bees and other pollinators throughout late spring and summer. Rohrerseeds.com chooses to highlight Sombrero, out of the 4 dozen zinnias in its 2019 catalog. Bold and beautiful, the bi-colored red and yellow flowers stand 18 to 30 inches tall, and they attract pollinators. MVSeeds.com (Mountain Valley Seeds) has combined all your favorite edible flowers—including borage, calendula, chives, nasturtium, sage, spearmint, and many more—in one beautiful packet. Edible Flower Mix promises sweet fragrant blooms best grown like wildflowers and planted outside near a window or walkway until ready to eat.