University of Vermont
Department of Plant and Soil Science
NEW VEGETABLES TO GROW IN 2015
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Five more new vegetables, including three herbs, have recently been awarded
the prestigious All-America Selections (AAS) award. These include a
basil, beet, broccoli, chives, and oregano.
Each year, the best of the new seed-grown vegetables are chosen as AAS
winners after trials across North America. They must represent either
a totally new variety, or one improved in some way over an existing
one. This year there are a much larger number than usual of winners—19
vegetables, and with flower winners a total of 25. This is a 75 year
record, the last year with so many winners being 1939. Another first is the
three organically-grown herbs.
Basil Persian is a new, vigorous variety with later flowers than most
others. This is a bonus since basil is grown for leaves not flowers,
and when the plant is flowering the leaves may develop a bitter taste.
When flowering, though, bees usually flock to it so this makes it a good
plant for pollinator-friendly gardens. It also may be known as Thai or
sweet basil, and grows about 15 to 18 inches high and
wide. It makes an attractive ornamental with silvery green
leaves and purplish stems. Figure on about 75 days from sowing seeds
to harvesting leaves.
Beet Avalanche is, as you might guess from the name, a beet with white
roots. Unlike many beets, this has no earthy taste nor bitterness, but
instead is mild and sweet. It is an easy vegetable to grow, and quick,
taking only 50 days from sowing seeds to harvesting roots. Avalanche
has good resistance to a key leaf spot disease (Cercospora) of beets.
You often see this late summer under high temperatures, humidity, and leaves
staying wet into the night.
Broccoli Artwork is a new hybrid, often called a sweet stem broccoli.
It starts out as the usual heading type but, once harvested, tender and
tasty side shoots develop late into the season. This hybrid resists
“bolting” (flowering prematurely) during hot weather better than other stem
types. Now you can grow this gourmet broccoli from seeds at home, a
type only available before in gourmet markets, restaurants, and specialty
farm stands. Allow enough time and start seeds indoors early, as it
takes 85 days from sowing to first harvest.
Chives Geisha is a garlic chives, with some of this flavor. Leaves are
slightly wider, flatter, and more refined-appearing than regular
chives. These, along with the white flowers late in the season, make
it an attractive ornamental as well as culinary herb. Butterflies like
the flowers, too. Use it in stir-fries, soups, as a garnish, or in
salads. Figure on about 75 days from sowing seeds to harvesting leaves
although, like other chives, you can harvest leaves earlier.
Oregano Cleopatra is a compact, trailing plant (to about 10 inches wide)
with silver gray leaves. It is unique from Greek and Italian oreganos,
having a mildly spicy, slightly peppermint flavor. This makes it good
used in Mediterranean dishes, soups, and sauces. You can dry the
leaves for later use, too. If starting these rather than buying plants, sow
seeds indoors early as they need 100 days to harvest from sowing.
More All-America Selections, both flowers and vegetables, and seed sources
can be found on their website (www.all-americaselections.org).
Return to Perry's Perennial