Almanac Contributors Share Their Favorite Crop Varieties

MOTHER's almanac contributors share their favorite crop varieties, including regional crop suggestions for New England/Maritime Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Southern Interior, the Gulf Coast, Central/Midwest, North Central and Rockies, Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.

196-88-i3

Tromboncino squash.

COURTESY TERRITORIAL SEED CO.

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Learn about MOTHER's almanac contributors favorite crop varieties.

Our Almanac contributors name their favorite crop varieties.

ROBERTA BAILEY MARITIME CANADA/ NEW ENGLAND

"Amplissimo Victoria" soup peas — Nutty, delicious flavor; prolific 5- to 6-foot-tall vines. Great cold-climate substitute for garbanzos. Let dry on vine, then shell and dry before storing. 80 days.

"White Russian" kale — Silvery leaf, white ribs, sweet and tasty. The best producer of young shoots and new growth in spring on over-wintered kale.

[Available from FEDCO Seeds: www.fedcoseeds.com]

CRICKET RAKITA, MID-ATLANTIC

"Costata Roenesca" squash — The best-tasting zucchini ever. Heavily ribbed fruits are striped with alternating light- and darkgreen shades. Italian heirloom. Tender up to 18 inches. 62 days.

"Old Time Tennessee" muskmelon — So fragrant it can be harvested in the dark. Salmon flesh; large fruits, averaging 12 pounds. Not a good keeper, but flavor is outstanding. 95 days.

[Available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; www.southernexposure.com]

DEAN LOLLIS, SOUTHERN INTERIOR

"Flamenco" pansy, hybrid mix — A one-of-a-kind mix of 2 1/2- to 3-inch double-flowered pansies in shades of violet, burgundy, rose, yellow and white.

"Spring Swallow" cucumber — Six-foot vines produce a bounty of 7- to 10-inch, dark-green fruits. Thrives in heat and humidity (unlike many other cucumbers) and resists watermelon virus and cucumber mosaic virus, while tolerating mildew.

[Available from Park Seed Company; www.parkseed.com]

BILL ADAMS, GULF COAST

"Purple Calabash" tomato — Its wonderful, complex flavor more than compensates for its purple-black color and plentiful folds and creases. Grow this delicious old-timer anti let your tastebuds decide.

"Tromboncino" squash — Smooth, buttery texture. Vigorous enough to outgrow squash-vine borer. The seeds develop in the end of this 12- to 18-inch-long beauty — the rest is "pure butter."

[Available from Territorial Seed Company; www.territorialseed.com]

MATT BARTHEL, CENTRAL/MIDWEST

"Speckled Roman" tomato — Meaty tasting, gorgeous orange- and yellow-striped fruit from a naturally stabilized cross between heirloom "Antique Roman" and "Banana Legs" tomatoes. Predicted to he as popular as "Brandywine."

"Fish" Chile pepper - Pre-1870s African-American heirloom pepper from the Philadelphia and Baltimore areas. White variegated leaves, 2- to 3-inch-long fruits changing from striped cream to orange to all red as they ripen. Great ornamental.

[Available from Seed Savers Exchange; www.seedsavers.org]

CONNIE DAM-BYL, CENTRAL/MIDWEST

"Shining Star" lettuce — Large, medium-dark green, glossy Waldman-type heads. Very slow to bolt tinder summer heat, but sizes up quickly. This was the best-looking leaf lettuce in our trials.

"Harmony" tomato — A perfect saladette tomato. Superb flavor, deep red color and firm fruits that ripen in clusters of eight to 14. "Harmony" grows well, both in the greenhouse and in the field.

[Available from William Dam Seeds; www.damseeds.com]

BILL MCDORMAN, N. CENTRAL & ROCKIES

"Sasha"s Altai" tomato — Siberian variety with incredible earliness (59 days); extraordinarily sweet and juicy flavor. Three-inch, 5- to 8-ounce, slightly flattened, bright-red fruits. Indeterminate.

"Galina" tomato — Another Siberian, producing round, yellow, 1-inch cherry tomatoes nn vigorous plants. Arguably our most flavorful tomato. Indeterminate and early (59 days).

[Available from Seeds Trust High Altitude Gardens; www.seedstrust.com]

JOSH KIRCHENBAUM, NORTHWEST

"Papaya Pear" summer squash — Unique papaya-shaped fruit can be harvested in about 40 days from direct sowing. The semibush plants pump out a continuous supply of fruit best eaten when just 3 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide.

"Poinsett 97" slicing cucumber — New, emerald green, nonhybrid slicing cucumber bred at Cornell University. Very crisp and meaty with a sweet, mellow flavor. Organic growers will especially appreciate the 12 separate disease tolerances.

"Purple Majesty" ornamental millet — An All America Selection Gold Medal winner! Deep purple plants are crowned with 8- to 12-inch purple flower spikes. Use immature spikes for dramatic floral arrangements or let them mature for generous supply of birdseed.

[Available from Territorial Seed Company; www.territorialseed.com]

SUE AND CRAIG DREMANN, SOUTHWEST

"White Bullet" habanero pepper — White fruit, 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch long. Absolutely the hottest, earliest maturing, most productive, and rarest of the habanero group.

[Available from Redwood City Seed Company; www.ecoseeds.com]

ROSE MARIE NICHOLS MCGEE, NORTHWEST

"Lemon" cucumber — Lemon-shaped fruit with a mild, sweet flavor. My family simply can never have too many and we always harvest when they show only a touch of yellow at the stem end. 60 days.

"Romano" pole bean — Very tender, flat pods, with a rich green-bean flavor.

[Nichols Garden Nursery; www.nicholsgardennursery.com]