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As you dive into the seed catalogs for 2020, I thought I would share some veggies that worked especially
well for the past two growing seasons in my zone 5b garden.

Tomato Red Torch F1,

A 2019 AAS Edible/Vegetable Winner is a cute little striped oblong tomato with 1.5” long fruits that weigh about 1.5 ounces. We found this hybrid to be a great producer, even in our early cool Connecticut season. Despite snacking on them when we were working outside, we still had more than enough for the table. Plants have been bred with excellent tolerance to disease and high summer heat. This is an indeterminate variety that takes about 60-70 days to ripen from transplanting.

Another AAS Edible/Vegetable Winner is Tomato Mountain Rouge F1.

It’s a splendid pink beefsteak tomato with exceptional flavor and a robust disease package of Verticillium, fusarium,
nematodes, and Late Blight resistance. The prolific tomatoes weighed in at about 12-14 oz, with lots of
flesh and minimal seeds. We loved their taste of just the right balance of acid and sugar. This indeterminate
variety was touted as doing especially well in cooler climates and that’s exactly what we experienced.

I favor colorful tomato salads so I grew Tomato Fire Fly F1,

yet another AAS Edible/Vegetable Winner. The fruits were round, super sweet pale yellow, less than 1 inch in size and weighed about 1/2 oz. We got tons of fruit from the indeterminate plants that had excellent disease resistance. The small juicy fruits exploded with flavor and were perfect for snacking and in salads.

Whoever named Jelly Bean Hybrid Tomato couldn’t have been more accurate. This little gem had a
fantastic, sweet flavor that just exploded at first bite. The plants were very disease resistant and fruitful,
with little or no cracking. This might be our favorite grape tomato and it only takes about 66 days from
transplanting to deliver.

As much as I love San Marzano plum tomatoes, I must confess a new preference for GRANADERO F1 TOMATO.

Granadero produced loads of tomatoes, enough for the table and processing. The attractive 4-5 oz. fruits were bright red, with great flavor. In a season when disease pressure was high, this variety showed no sign of any pathogen. It has been bred to have a high resistance to Fusarium wilt 1 and 2, powdery mildew, tobacco mosaic virus, and Verticillium wilt. It also has intermediate resistance to nematodes and tomato spotted wilt virus. We saw no blossom end rot on these indeterminate plants that produced in about 75 days from transplant right until frost knocked them down.

We have become fond of growing Butternut Squash South Anna,

a downy mildew resistant variety. South Anna started as a cross between a Seminole pumpkin from Florida and a Waltham Butternut from Massachusetts. After about 100 days, our plant delivered many great tasting fruits with rich sweet flavor, mostly butternut-shaped. Some looked more like pumpkins (a parent) than squash but they were squash in all other respects. The best part of this variety is its downy mildew resistance, coupled with great
keeping quality.

Our next favorite squash was Honeynut.

It looks like something went terribly wrong as the fruit is tiny. They come in at about 6″ long, and look like a diminutive butternut squash. But the flavor is much more concentrated and they deliver an intense natural sweetness (ergo the name) that becomes rich and caramel-like when roasted at high heat. I’m especially fond of the fact that these petite squashes don’t need peeling because they have such thin edible skin, with three times the amount of beta-carotene
packed in. It’s a “personal-size” squash you will want to use in place of sweet potatoes.  We all know that no matter how well plants have been bred to produce excellent results, it’s a combination of factors that gives us strong plants with great flavor, disease resistance, and yields. It all starts with the soil so remember to include treatments in your 2020 veggie garden plan. Compost is a must in addition to fertilizer. Veggie plants pull an enormous amount of nutrients from the soil which must be replaced regularly, ergo the need for fertilizer. Coast of Maine offers both. One is organic Quoddy Blend™ Lobster Compost, and the second is Liquid Crab Fertilizer for Fruit and Veggies.

So enjoy those catalogs. They are full of inspiration and winter dreams.

Written by Lorraine Ballato, author of Success With Hydrangeas, A Gardener’s Guide

One Comment

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  1. Hello, I really enjoyed reading your article about ideas for a vegetable garden, I found it very helpful. Thank you, Richard

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