What was new for 2013?
Choice Series Tomatoes
The Choice Series Tomatoes Collection includes a great variety of tomato plants that look as great as they taste. We are introducing three new varieties for 2013! Be one of the first to try these in your garden before they’re available to the general public next year. Click on the thumbnail images below to view photos larger.
‘Container Choice’ Tomatoes:
A red beefsteak developed just for containers, this bushy determinate plant produces enormous yields of large, bright red tomatoes weighing 5-6 ounces born in clusters. This rugoso leaved (crinkled leaves) traditionally-produced hybrid offers excellent disease resistance along with a large crop of rich flavored tomatoes. An edible ornamental that sacrifices nothing for its compact size, Container Choice Hybrid is the premier variety in the garden as well as the planter. 65 days to maturity.
Trialed right here in Connecticut in 2012. Read this review:
Finally a tomato PLANT that looks as good as the tomato tastes! I only have room for 2 tomato plants in my container vegetable garden on my deck. Because it’s part of my outdoor living room, I need to keep it neat looking which has been a challenge since tomato plants look so ugly by summer. Not Container Choice! This very vigorous plant still looks good and it’s after Labor Day. Full of dark green leaves which have protected the tomatoes from the all day sun on my deck; it grew 4 feet in a 20 inch pot. It did need a tomato cage (I bought one of those red painted ones) not only for the size of the plant but because of the weight of the tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes! As of today I have picked more than I’ve been able to use (maybe 40 or more) and have shared them with my neighbors. Next year I’ll start a few extra plants to give to them since now they want to grow them on their decks, too. Thanks for this great addition to your line. – SG (New London)
‘Early Choice’ Tomatoes:
An indeterminate, very early maturing tomato with fruit weighing 4 ounces. Traditionally produced hybrid with excellent disease resistance. Fruit has an incredible sugar/acid flavor balance which is unique in early tomatoes. Has performed well in both coastal and dry valley areas in country wide trials. 70 days to maturity.
Trialed right here in Connecticut in 2012. Read this review:
Early Choice Tomato is incredible! The plant started bearing delicious fruit right on time (72 days from transplant) and never quit. By mid-September I had harvested over 300 ripe fruits with many green ones still on the vine when the first frost threatened. No sign of any disease until late September (early blight) which didn’t stop production at all; the plant just looked shabby by then. Finally, I think the plant succumbed to exhaustion after the third frost. I will be growing this one to show off to my other garden friends when I have ripe red delicious tomatoes at our annual 4th of July garden party! -AM (Stony Creek)
‘Gardener’s Choice’ Tomatoes:
An indeterminate large pink beefsteak tomato with fruit weighing 12 ounces. This Brandywine traditionally-produced hybrid has excellent disease resistance, less cracking, a large crop of beautiful pink tomatoes with that incredible Brandywine taste! This variety was selected for taste and best garden performance by a panel of master gardeners. 100 days to maturity.
Trialed right here in Connecticut in 2011. Read this review:
This improved “heirloom-type” tomato which resembles “Brandywine” in size, shape, color and taste, but doesn’t crack and had such a hot set that the entire center of the plant was one solid block of fruit – on each plant! It didn’t crack even in the wettest year on record. What’s not to like? I had my choice of about 30 types of tomatoes in the garden last year and this was the one I ate all summer long. -JB (Storrs)
All three were part of the 2nd Annual Great Tomato and Basil Taste at Smith Acres in Niantic. Ask them about the varieties they will be growing next year for sale and for their fields as requested by the participants.
New Herb and Vegetable Varieties
We had added several new varieties to our herb and vegetable seed collections in 2013, including Bronze Fennel, Malabar Spinach, Russian Red Kale, San Marzano Tomatoes, and Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes.
This deep bronze to purple form of annual fennel is really a short lived perennial. Tall feathery fronds not only smell and taste of anise, but are beautiful in floral arrangements. Grown in clumps, they become an edible accent in any garden. Yellow umbel flowers produce the fennel seed prized in the kitchen. If you plant fennel, parsley, dill and/or carrots, look for the black and green striped caterpillar with yellow spots. All these plants are host plants for the black swallowtail butterfly, and a welcome sight in any garden. Watch it grow, make a chrysalis and morph into one of the most beautiful butterflies in North America. Plant enough to share with these caterpillars though.
Malabar Spinach (Climbing Red Stem):
Not a true spinach, but a beautiful heat-loving vine grown as much for an ornamental as edible! Rich burgundy vines produce large crinkly leaves with a Swiss chard-spinach taste and a slight citrus bite. Vigorous vines can grow over 15 feet tall and cover a trellis or teepee quickly in hot weather. An Asian green know as Phooi leaf. Great to eat fresh, steam or stir fry.
Russian Red Kale:
Heirloom introduced by Siberian traders in the mid 1800’s. Hardiest and most tender of the kales, the blue-green frilly oak leaves are veined in purple red with red stems. Cold weather and frost sweetens the flavor and turns the entire plant a deeper purple. Rich in vitamins and calcium, this plant can be harvested through the winter with mulch protection.
San Marzano Roma Tomatoes:
This gourmet Italian heirloom tomato is considered the best for fresh sauce, paste, roasting and drying. The rich thick flesh with few seeds has a thin skin that makes it easy to peel. These are indeterminate plants that will continue to produce fruit over a longer season than determinate plum tomatoes. You should provide support for the vines – they can grow to 6 feet tall.
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes:
One of the best known cherry tomatoes, Sweet 100 plants bear long clusters of 1 inch deep scarlet fruit that are very sugary. Best eaten fully ripe right off the vine. These thin-skinned cherry tomatoes are indeterminate and will continue to produce up until frost if kept consistently watered and fertilized 3 times during the growing season.
Check out our flower collection additions! We now offer Love in a Mist Nigella, Picotee Blue Morning Glory, Shadow Dance Morning Glory, and Salpiglossis.
Love In A Mist Nigella:
An heirloom grown since the 1600’s. The multi-petaled flowers come in blue, mauve, pale pink, rose, purple and white and are nestled in a ring of fine lacy foliage. This foliage gives rise to the other common name for Nigella, “fennel flower”. Makes an interesting cut flower and the balloon-shaped seed pods with green and purple stripes are sometimes used in dried arrangements.
Picotee Blue Morning Glory:
From the French, meaning “marked with points”. As tribute to the origin of the word, this ruffled star-shaped cobalt blue bloom is edged with bright white surrounding a deep rose throat. Both double and single blooms can appear on the same vine. Each 3 inch flower opens in the early morning and lasts for only one day, to be replaced each morning by fresh blossoms.
Shadow Dance Morning Glory:
This sun-loving annual is the most dramatic contrast of morning glory blooms to be seen twining on a trellis; sparkling bright white and velvet rich deep violet. Each 2-3 inch flower opens in the early morning creating an eye-catching display.
Salpiglossis (Stained Glass Flower):
Trumpet-shaped single and double flowers bloom in many shades of cream, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, to nearly black with vivid contrasting gold veins. The patterns created by the overlaying veins give the flower a stained glass appearance. A good cut flower and container plant.