A pea is a pea is a pea, and lettuce would taste as crunchy by any other name. Apologies to both Gertrude Stein and William Shakespeare, but in the gardening world new names for peas, lettuce, (roses, of course) and many more generate excitement. New vegetables for 2016 include lots of yellow peppers and Brussels sprouts. Look out, kale, you are so 2014.
What’s new in 2016?
Yellow Peppers — The 2016 All-America Selections vegetable award winner is a small yellow pepper called Cornito Giallo F1. Bred by Johnny’s Selected Seed, Cornito Giallo is described as sweet and fruity. It can be eaten fresh, fire-roasted or fried. Growing on 24-inch-tall plants, this pepper is ready for harvest 75 days after transplant. The 6-inch long peppers start out green, but develop a bright yellow color as they ripen. Johnny’s has another new yellow pepper called Escamillo.
Brussels Sprouts — Several seed companies are offering a new variety of Brussels sprouts called Hestia. This Dutch variety was bred to produce heavy yields of firm, tasty sprouts. It handles frost well, which could lengthen the growing season here. To grow in the North, you will want to start seed indoors four to five weeks before the last frost date. Renee’s Garden Seeds recommends enjoying these Brussels sprouts roasted in olive oil with whole garlic cloves, apple slices and bacon. What’s not to love! If you still love kale, consider trying the newish kale-Brussels sprouts cross called Kalettes®. One blogger refers to it as “kale on stick.”
Broccoli — If you prefer broccoli to Brussels sprouts, how about trying Artwork baby broccoli, a 2015 All-America Selections winner? Baby broccoli forms heads along the stems, so instead of having a large head (often with a tough stalk) you get many small heads with edible stalks. These are perfect for light steaming or stir-frying. Established plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 26 degrees F, but you may want to protect young transplants if the spring weather turns cool.
Tomatoes — Every year, it seems there are dozens of new tomatoes — big ones, little ones, green ones, red ones. AAS picked two winning tomatoes this year: The prolific, sweet currant tomato, Candyland Red, and Chef’s Choice Green, a slicing sized tomato with green-yellow coloring and a citrusy flavor. Other new tomatoes getting lots of press: Madame Marmande, a French hybrid with big fruits and flavor, and a disease-resistant variety called Mountain Merit.
What new vegetables for 2016 will you be trying?