Each year, plant breeders introduce dozens (maybe hundreds) of varieties of new plants. Some plants end up being garden all-stars — others not so much. Some plants are put through their paces through plant trials run by All-America Selections (AAS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to testing new plants and telling consumers about which ones did well. A few Minnesota gardens are among the trial sites for AAS.
So, it’s always interesting to see which new plants are among the winning vegetables and ornamental plants. Recently AAS announced it’s first five vegetable winners for 2020. They should be available for next summer’s garden. Here are the picks:
Green Light Cucumber is a tiny cucumber that has no spines and produces abundant crops. If you grow it on a trellis, it grows neatly and can produce up to 40 cucumbers per plant. They are described as tasty and are best harvested at 3 to 4 inches long. They can be planted intermittently over several weeks for a succession of harvests.
Three of the winning vegetables were tomatoes, and two of the three were more petite varieties that grow well in containers. Celano is a grape tomato that produces early on plants that get about 40 inches tall. The fruits are described as sweet with a good texture. A great plant for a large patio container. Early Resilience is a Roma-style, bush tomato that can be grown in a container. It has lots of bright red, rounded fruits and here’s the good news for Minnesota gardeners who struggle with downpours in the summer. Early Resilience resists getting blossom end rot, which often occurs with heavy rain. The third tomato is called Galahad and it’s a larger tomato with broad shoulders, resistance to diseases, especially late blight and a meaty texture. Even better than that, it’s a large, very flavorful tomato, according to testers.
Mambo watermelon sounds like a winner for us northern gardeners with short seasons. Mambo produces round, 11 pound fruits about 75 days after transplant. The plant has a small seed cavity so it looks like many seedless melons, but — according to testers — the taste is as flavorful as an old-fashioned melon filled with seeds.
It is a little early to be planning next year’s garden, but it’s good to know there are plenty of winning vegetables and fruits on hand for our gardening future.