With so many new varieties on the market this year and fabulous plants from last year, the plants we chose to highlight came highly recommended by local greenhouses and nurseries or were put to the test by our staff. They had to be great to make the cut. This year’s “must have” colour is purple. To ensure your garden is on trend we included a few for you to choose from. We also searched for the brightest and best performers, focusing on bright colours and bloom time. Our search unearthed a few new varieties of trees and shrubs as well as some healthy new vegetables to plant.
Cabbage ‘Red Express’.A heritage cabbage specifically bred for Canada and northern United States. Enjoy the mild flavour of this compact early-producing red cabbage. Plants produce two-to three-pound split-resistant heads. 63 days.
Carrot ‘Harlequin Mix’. Try these colourful carrots which produce an assortment of purple, orange, yellow and white roots. Add colour to salads or interest to your vegetable platters. Each colour has a slightly different taste. 84 to 98 days.
Cauliflower ‘Cheddar’ and ‘Graffiti’. Who wouldn’t want to eat these beauties? Fantastic colours that are sure to brighten any veggie platter, these show-stoppers will have everyone screaming for cauliflower! ‘Graffiti’retains most of its brilliant purple colour when cooked, and ‘Cheddar’(bright orange) has 25 times the beta carotene of regular white cauliflower. They are prettier and healthier. ‘Cheddar’, 68 days. ‘Graffiti’, 80 days.
Chickpea ‘Orion’. A large-seeded chickpea developed for our short growing season by the University of Saskatchewan, these super-nutritious, pea-shaped legumes taste amazing straight off the plant. They are also incredible cooked or made into hummus. If you have never tried fresh chickpeas, they are something special! These high protein snacks taste so very different from their canned or dried counterparts. They grow in individual fuzzy pods and have a mild nutty flavour; guaranteed to become a favourite snack. 75 days.
Cucumber ‘Armenian’. A heavily-ribbed, pale green cucumber with a mild, sweet taste. Fruit is best eaten when it is between two and three inches wide and 24 inches in length. 70 days.
Peppers ‘NuMex Easter’. An award winner, this compact pepper plant sports fruits in lavender, yellow, cream, orange and red all season long. It makes a beautiful container plant or can add interest in the garden. Plants produce clusters of four to six miniature peppers in the assorted colours on well-branched stems. Super easy to grow, this hot tamale can reach eight inches tall and spread up to 10 inches wide.
Rapini ‘Sorrento’. One of the most popular vegetables in Italy, it is also known as broccoli rabe. Unlike broccoli it does not form a large head but rather stalks topped with florets. This variety matures early with large florets and blue-green, narrow, turnip-shaped leaves. ‘Sorrento’ has a low bolt tolerance and is excellent for growing under cold frames or fleece. The stems, leaves and florets are edible and have a robust and slightly bitter taste that intensifies if it is overcooked.
Tatsoi ‘Rosette’. An Asian green similar to spinach, also referred to as spinach mustard or rosette bok choy. The leaves grow in a compact rosette form and can be harvested throughout the season. Its mild flavour has made it a popular addition to salads and stir-fries. Easy to grow.
Tomato ‘Black Krim’ (Black Crimea). This heritage tomato is a real Russian beauty with dark brown-red flesh. A beefsteak variety, ‘Black Krim’ is heat tolerant; in fact the flesh darkens as the temperature rises. It produces a tangy, rich and sweet fruit, perfect for munching on fresh out of the garden. Start plants indoors six weeks prior to the last frost. This plant produces high yields in 70 to 90 days and will need to be staked, caged or tied to a trellis.