University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter News Article


Dr. Leonard P. Perry, Extension Professor

Among the new vegetables you can grow this year from seeds are three All-America Selections winners.  The All-America Selections is a national non-profit association of the horticulture industry.  Each year they receive the best new seed selections from breeders, and send them out to trial across North America.  Those showing a new trait such as color or habit, or an improvement such as disease resistance, over existing varieties become All-America Selections (AAS) winners.

If you're one who looks for goods "Made in America," look for seeds of the AAS winner 'Sunshine' winter squash.  It was bred in Maine and can trace its origins, as can all squash, to the Americas. Squash in fact were a staple food crop of the first nations of the Americas.  For these reasons, 'Sunshine' also received an American heritage award.

Compared to similar varieties of winter squash, 'Sunshine' showed an improved growth habit, flavor, and adaptability.  It is a vigorous, short vine, only reaching about eight feet in length.  This makes it good for gardens in small spaces.  The bright orange meat can be baked, steamed, or microwaved.  The cooked meat has a nutty flavor, is smooth, and is stringless.

This squash has no special soil or fertility requirements, being adaptable to any site where squash can be grown. In the north, you should sow its seeds indoors three to four weeks before planting outside after the last frost date.  After transplanting outside, spacing plants six feet apart, mature fruit may be ready for harvest in about 80 days.

Canary type melons have become popular as travelers have seen them in South America, Spain, and southern Mediterranean countries, and then wanted to grow them at home.  They are desired for their sweet, white, and aromatic flesh.  Rinds of these smooth, globe-shaped melons turn a bright golden yellow when mature, similar to a canary bird feathers, hence the name.

'Amy' canary melon is an AAS winner for 2004, a gourmet melon to serve at meals or even as a dessert.  It is earlier than other canary melons, ripe two to three pound melons ready to harvest about 70 days from transplanting young plants outdoors.  Start seeds indoors about three to four weeks before planting outside after the last frost date. Space plants about four to six feet apart in the garden.

For northern gardeners who have to worry about a short growing season, 'Sweet Beauty' watermelon may be one to consider.  This AAS winner for 2004 was bred for earliness, maturing under good conditions in only two months from planting outdoors.  Seeds should be sown indoors about three to four weeks before planting outside after the last frost date and when the soil has warmed. Space plants six feet apart in the garden.

The bright red flesh of 'Sweet Beauty' also has very good flavor.  The six to seven pound melons are an "icebox size," considered a single serving size for a family of four.

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