Garden Lifestyle

New Fruits and Vegetables for 2014

An heirloom tomato that’s a hybrid!

Heirloom Green Hybrid tomato combines the taste of an heirloom with more disease resistance for easier growing. This new introduction is just one of many interesting offerings for vegetable gardeners this season.
Photo/Illustration: Park Seed Company

Gardeners may just be starting to think about what to plant for summer harvests, but seed and plant companies are way ahead of us. The new vegetable offerings that are just now showing up in catalogs have been in the works for years. Here are four interesting introductions for 2014.

Heirloom Green Hybrid by Park Seed Compan

Is it an heirloom? A hybrid? Both? 

This new tomato could be a gardener’s dream come true. Just imagine the taste of an old family heirloom that’s as easy to grow as a hybrid. This beefsteak-type tomato promises a long season of large, sweet and tangy fruits. The seeds are said to have a high germination rate, to make it simpler for seed-starters to get going on their season. It’s a good way to banish winter-time blues by starting seeds about 5 weeks before the soil and weather warms. After transplanting, these gems take only 75 days until harvest. If you wonder how to tell when a green tomato is ripe, you’ll know they’re ready when the green turns to gold.  

Kaleidoscopic Swiss Chard by Kitchen Garden Seeds 

I remember just a few years ago when Swiss chard was just plain old chard. But all that’s changed now with the beautiful new chards to choose from. An exclusive from Kitchen Garden Seeds, Kaleidoscopic looks to light up the vegetable bed with a colorful combination that’s as ornamental as healthful. This blend includes leaf stems that are pink and pink striped, bright yellow, red and orange. Chard is easy to grow in vegetable beds, flower beds, and even container gardens. Chard is a cool-season vegetable and can be directly sown in the garden or started indoors and transplanted when seedlings have several pairs of mature leaves. You can start enjoying chard once plants really get going-snip leaves from the outside and work your way in.

SteakHouse tomato from Burpee 

If seeing is believing, I’ll have to plant and grow these tomatoes to know if they really are the world’s biggest beefsteak tomato. The ‘SteakHouse’ claims that each tomato weighs about 3 pounds. These are state-fair sized tomatoes that would give any gardener unbelievable bragging rights. Besides their huge size, the tomatoes are said to be exceptionally fragrant with a good old-fashioned flavor. Burpee gives gardeners the option to start seeds ahead of the season or to order plants with a delivery date timed for your part of the country. Tomatoes are ready 75-80 days after transplanting. 

Urban Apple by Nature Hills Nursery 

There’s no space in my backyard for a standard-sized apple tree, but I’m sure I could squeeze in two of these new skinny trees from Nature Hills. Urban Apple was bred specially for small spaces with its tall, straight trunk and branches that reach only 2 feet wide. Cold-hardy to Zone 4, Urban Apple sounds like it would grow in tiny landscapes or large containers. To ensure cross-pollination and fruit production, two apple varieties, Tasty Red and a Blushing Delight, are sold together. Even though the tree is skinny, it grows full-size fruit.

What new fruit and vegetable introductions are you planning to try this season?

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