A Farmer's Advice: The Best Vegetable Varieties for 1988

Farmer Brent Elswick reviews the best new vegetable varieties for 1988, including lettuce, spinach and other greens, radishes, onions and potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots and parsnips, cole crops and corn.

| March/April 1988

Brent Elswick provides a roundup of the best new vegetable varieties recommended to MOTHER EARTH readers for 1988. 

The Best Vegetable Varieties for 1988.

There are literally hundreds of new vegetable varieties on the market this season, and—to save you both time and potential disappointment—I've already tested many of them in my garden. Here are some of my winners for 1988. Addresses for the seed companies I mention can be found in this issue on page 126.


Though 1987's weather wasn't as bad as that of '86, an unusual 18-inch April snowfall here in the Appalachian Mountains, followed by several rainless weeks, didn't exactly provide optimum growing conditions for early, cool-weather crops. Even so, some of my trials thrived. For example, Lollo Biondo from Le Marche Seeds proved to be a sensational new looseleaf lettuce. Maturing in around 55 days, it's akin to last year's highly recommended Lollo Rosso, and its bright, frilly, yellow-green leaves, tinged with red, are as prettyto look at as they are tender and tasty.

Biondo a Foglie Lisce (don't try to pronounce it, just grow it) is another wonderful leaf lettuce, from The Cook's Garden. Its smooth, pale green leaves can be picked as early as a month after seeding.

This year, Shepherd's Garden Seeds has one of the best Batavian-type lettuces—so esteemed by the French—that I've ever grown. Called Antina, its pretty, medium-green leaves edged with red are juicy yet crunchy. Left to grow to maturity, they form crisp rosettes; immature leaves can serve as a most acceptable loose-leaf lettuce. Antina stands up well to warm weather.

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