University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter News Article

New Vegetables for 2006

Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont

Each year the best of the new vegetables, as judged in official trial gardens across the country, receive the coveted All-America Selections (AAS) award.  There are four vegetable winners for 2006 including a carrot, cilantro, and two peppers.  The AAS program provides a few tips on growing and using these, including full sun and well-drained soil.

'Purple Haze' is a unique new carrot, straight and to 12 inches long, purple on the outside and orange on the inside.  This gives slices an orange center with purple halo.  Use this new carrot in cole slaw or raw in salads for a trendy touch of color.  Cooked in water the purple color may fade, but cooked quickly as in stir-fry and it will remain.  Not only is this carrot colorful, it has a sweet flavor too.

Sow seeds of 'Purple Haze' in early spring, about a half inch deep.  Soil should be deeply worked and loose to produce straight carrots.  When seeds germinate in two to three weeks, thin seedlings so they are two inches apart.  The best purple color occurs when soil temperatures are about 60 to 68 degrees (F), and the soil is well-drained.  If heavy clay soil, or cool temperatures, try growing this in raised beds or containers.  Time from seed to harvest is listed as about 70 days.

'Delfino' is a new selection of cilantro, sometimes known as Chinese parsley.  It is a versatile and edible herb, tasting like a strong parsley with hints of citrus.  Unlike other coriander, this one has fine, fern-like foliage.  Use in salsas and salads.  Cut leaves, with stems, may last a week if placed in water that is changed often.

When weather turns warm this plant will bolt, or flower, with small white blooms.  These taste like the leaves and can be used in salads.  Allow some flowers to produce typical coriander seeds, which can be harvested when brown.  Use these seeds in soup or chili.  Space plants or thin seedlings to 12 inches or more apart, and plants may grow to about 18 inches high. Sow about eight weeks before you want to harvest.

'Carmen' is a new sweet pepper, not shaped like the usual bell pepper.  Fruits are elongated to about six inches long, an Italian bull horn type.  Peppers are sweetest when red and ripe, but even sweet when green and immature.  This plant is noted for high yields, sweetness, and early harvest.  Plan on about 75 days to ripe harvest from transplanting out into warm soil.  Plants may reach about 18 inches high and across in a good warm year.

'Mariachi' is the other pepper winner, a chili type with high yield. This plant has hanging peppers, which are attractive even in ornamental beds as they turn from creamy white to rose and then red. Harvested young, the peppers may have hints of melon flavor.  Harvested when red and ripe, the peppers are mildly hot.  Harvest ripe peppers during stress, such as high heat or drought, and peppers will be even hotter to taste.  You can use these raw or cooked, roasted on the grill, or in many dishes such as soups and salsas. Plan on about 66 days to ripe harvest from transplanting out into warm soil.  Plants may reach about 18 inches high and across.

Being an AAS winner means these vegetables are superior to similar existing selections. The AAS winners may not be available in many garden stores, so to make sure you have them you may need to sow them yourself.  Seeds are available from catalogs and in many complete garden store seed displays.

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