With many people devoting time to their vegetable gardens last year, due to the pandemic, we thought we would start this year highlighting new edibles that you might want to try growing. The pandemic has shown us that people crave unique vegetables that are healthy and they can grow themselves. Whether you are in an urban setting and grow on your patio or if you are a great cook with a large kitchen garden, there is something here for everyone.
Here are 7 new vegetables that can broaden your vegetable selection:
Armageddon Pepper – The last few years we have seen an increase in the number of pepper varieties available to grow. Armageddon is the world’s first F1 hybrid super-hot chili pepper measuring 1.3 Scovilles. You would be quite daring if you tried growing this pepper. The fruits on this pepper plant are not larger than 2 inches and they turn fiery red about 2 weeks earlier than the ‘Carolina Reaper’. To grow this pepper choose a location in the full sun with good rich moist soil. You can grow this in-ground or in a container. It is also important not to grow this in a location that had tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or potatoes the prior year to avoid any potential disease problems. The days to maturity are 90-95 days. This plant is exclusive to Burpee!
Dragon Carrot – This carrot has pretty and unique magenta-purple skin. If you cut the carrot the internal color of the carrot is orange with a yellow core. It is thin and is easier to wash. The average length of the carrot is 5-7 inches and the flavor is said to be sweet and almost spicy. Plant your seeds outdoors 3-4 weeks before last spring frost, or as soon as soil can be worked. Keeping the soil moist throughout the germination period is important to success. Misting the planted area daily is recommended. Carrots are slow to germinate and need steady moisture until germination. Sow successively throughout the season for fresh carrots. The number of days to maturity is 75 days. You can get them at Johnny Seeds.
Harvest Moon Winter Squash – This unique looking gray-blue winter squash variety has an outer shell that is easier to open than other squash. It has a sweet taste and the fruit on this plant has a firm, dense orange flesh. This squash is quite nutritious as well as being delicious. Try roasting this squash with other seasonal vegetables or mashing it with brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and butter. The fruit weighs around 11 to 15 pounds and can be stored for up to a year. Plant the seeds directly in the garden in fertile, warm soil in full sun after the danger of frost has passed. Make sure you do not plant this squash in a location where you have grown other squash. The days to maturity are 90-100 days. Seeds for this plant can be found at Burpee.
King of the Garden Lima Bean – I always loved Lima Beans when I was a kid and this plant sounds interesting as Burpee is bringing back a classic variety. The beans have a nutty flavor. This particular plant is a climbing pole type, so you can grow it in a container since it does not take up that much space. You will need to make sure you have strong supports as it can grow up to 12-feet. Just make sure you plant your seeds in a sunny location. The soil needs to be warm so plant it in the late spring or early summer. It actually thrives in the heat and humidity and is known to be pest and disease-free. The number of days to maturity is 105 days. These are available at Burpee.
Midnight Moon Eggplant – This eggplant has dark-marooned skin and is one of the fastest maturing eggplants on the market. It will produce 3 to 6-inch eggplants in about 60 days. This eggplant is an excellent choice for making eggplant parmesan or grilling on your barbeque. The plant can be grown in a container or in-ground. Just find a location with full sun. It is also important not to grow this in a location that had tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, or potatoes the prior year to avoid any potential disease problems. Available at Burpee.
Kitchen Minis™ – This new collection is from Pan American Seed and will be available at garden centers throughout the U.S. Kitchen Minis were created so you can grow them inside on a sunny windowsill or a counter. They can also be grown outside on a patio. The hope is these plants will make it easy to grow and harvest year-round without using costly equipment. Currently, these minis are available with tomato or peppers (sweet and hot). Kitchen Minis will continue to produce tasty vegetables over 4 to 6 weeks when they can be replaced with new Kitchen Minis. This season there are 4 different tomato, 3 sweet pepper, and 9 hot pepper varieties. They will be available at garden centers.
Merlot Chinese Cabbage – This cabbage is a staple used in Chinese and Korean cooking. Merlot is an improved replacement for Red Dragon but has deeper colored leaves inside and out. The plant is multi-colored and will look great in your garden. Use it in a salad or a stir-fry dish. It will look pleasing mixed with green. The plant grows 10 inches long. Plant it in late May to mid-July. Harvest the cabbage when the heads are very firm. You can find it online at these two stores. The number of days to maturity is 60 days. Available at Johnny Seeds and Super Seeds.
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Photos courtesy of Ball Seed, Burpee, and Johnny’s Seeds.