University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
VEGETABLES FOR 2013
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Each year, the best of the new seed-grown
vegetables are chosen as winners by the All-America Selections (AAS)
after trialing across North America. They
must represent either a totally new variety, or one improved in some
an existing one. There are three winning
vegetables for 2013, including a melon, watermelon, and tomato. All
three are F1 hybrids, meaning they are
bred from particular parents. This cross
results in vigor and traits of both, and means that you’ll need
to get the same selection. Sowing seeds
produced by these hybrids won’t give you the same plant.
‘Melemon’ melon was chosen as an AAS
winner for its superior taste to comparable melons, early fruiting,
yields. The taste is described as like a
honeydew melon, only with a pleasant tanginess.
It is similar to ‘Lambkin’ and ‘Kermit’ melons. It is a “piel de
sapo” type of melon, which
translates to “toad skin.” This refers
to the green skin with lighter blotches. Sometimes you may see this
called a “Santa Claus melon.”
Fruit are fairly uniform in size and
a small “personal” size, about 6 inches across and 4 pounds or
more. The green rind turns lighter
(chartreuse) when ripe, and flesh inside is beautiful white. Figure
on about 3 months from sowing seeds to
first harvest, sowing in the north about 4 weeks (mid- to
the last frost date, in peat pots. Keep
seedlings warm, and after
planting outside cover with hot-caps or similar to protect on cool
on a garden spacing
of between one and two feet apart.
‘Harvest Moon’ hybrid watermelon is
similar to the heirloom ‘Moon and Stars’ (available in both red and
only it produces healthier and shorter vines, is seedless, ripens
higher yields, and has a better taste.
The medium-sized fruits have a green rind with yellow spots, and
inside that is sweet and pink-red. Fruit
are just over a foot long, weighing 18 to 20 pounds.
Sow inside in peat pots 2 to 3 weeks
before planting out in the north, and keep the soil warm (85 to 90
degrees F). About 4 to 5 fruit will be produced per
plant, about 3 months from sowing seeds.
Figure on a plant spread, and garden spacing between plants, of 3 to
Not only is this plant a hybrid, it
is a “triploid,” meaning that it has three times the amount of
in cells. This is what makes it
seedless, but also means you’ll need another selection for
pollination and so
fruiting. If you sow all the seeds in
the packet, you’ll get this other selection that has been mixed in.
Otherwise, you’ll want to plant a standard
watermelon selection too, with similar flowering and maturity times,
standard plant for each 2 to 3 of ‘Harvest
Moon’ or other seedless triploid watermelon.
‘Jasper’ tomato is a new cherry type
bred by Johnny’s Seeds in Maine, and listed in their catalog. It is
similar to ‘Suncherry’, ‘Juliet’, or
‘Sweet Baby Girl’. In addition to vigor,
a great taste, fruit ripening over a long period, and uniform
fruits, it has resistance
to several diseases—early blight, late blight, and fusarium. The
deep red fruits are rounded, about
3/4-inch wide, borne in small clusters (“trusses”) with hundreds of
Figure on about 90 days from sowing
seeds to first harvest, starting indoors 5 to 6 weeks before
outside. Don’t plant outside until night
temperatures are above 45 degrees (F).
Frost damages plants, and cool temperatures may result in purplish
leaves from poor uptake of phosphorus,
similar to all tomatoes. Space plants
one to two feet apart and stake, as they are vining
(“indeterminate”) and will
reach over two feet tall.
As many new selections may not be
available from your local greenhouse or garden retailer, you may
need to start
them yourself from seeds. Also, since
these selections are brand new, you may not be able to find them
easily for a
year or two. Visit the All-America
Selections website (www.all-americaselections.org) to learn about
vegetables, many of which are readily available in seed catalogs and
displays in spring.