This Year’s Varieties: Part One

Every year we try to improve our selection of varieties from the previous year.  As vegetables are more or less popular with our shareholders, or seem to do well or poorly with our growing practices, we alter our choices.  We also try out new varieties — ones we’ve heard of but never tried, and some that have only recently been developed.  Here is a sample of our selections for this year.
Artisan Tomatoes

We’ve selected the best of last year’s cherry tomato varieties for growing this year, and added an exciting new set.  From last year, we’ll have the bright red “Jasper,” our customary orange “Sun Gold” (we’ve grown it every year!) and the “Black Cherry,” a large, dark cherry tomato that tastes distinctly like the cherry fruit.

New this year will be a collection called “Artisan” tomatoes. We were impressed by the look of this new set of hybrids — beautifully striped and mottled, as you can see in the picture below. We think they’ll make a splashy addition to our mixed containers.

Hakurei Turnips

Once again, we will be growing Hakurei turnips. Our shareholders have enjoyed these sweet and delicate turnips for years. Excellent in salads, on their own as a light snack, or cooked.

Nasturtium Scarlet Frills

For years, we have made a spicy salad mix with an intensely rich blend of mustards, Asian greens, and kale. Very popular as a retail item at the Harvest Market in Hockessin, we will be growing the mix again for shareholders at the Kranz Hill Farm CSA.

The mix includes some set of “Southern Giant Curled,” “Golden Frills.” “Scarlet Frills,” and “Red Giant” mustards, tat soi, a lacy mizuna, and this year, we will be including an Ethiopian mustard, “Amara.” We are also planning to grow colorful nasturtiums, an edible flower, as an ornamental addition!

Bright Lights Joi Choi

We’ll be growing our customary selection of cooking greens again this year, and adding broccoli raab back in the to the group.

“Bright Lights” Swiss chard is always pretty and tasty, and the “Joi Choi” bok choi, with its bright and thick white stems, has done excellently for us the last two years. We will also have two varieties of kale, “Siberian” and “Toscano,” and some collards, “Top Bunch.”

We’re excited to try broccoli raab again — some of our shareholders are very fond of it, and it has done well for us in the past. The variety we’ve chosen, “Sessantina Grossa,” is a traditional Italian variety.

 [photos from vegetablegardener.com, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Growing Magazine, and others]
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