New Seeds for the '83 Gardening Season

A sneak preview of new seeds the major seed companies are introducing for the 1983 gardening season.

| January/February 1983

  • gardening season new seeds - super beefsteak tomato
    The Super Beefsteak tomato is among the new seeds Burpee will introduce for the next gardening season.
    Photo courtesy of Burpee Seed Company

  • gardening season new seeds - super beefsteak tomato

Chill winds whistle down corridors of creaking trees as sleet sizzles on a carpet of cold-crisped leaves. But water still flows in the ice-crusted streams, and beneath the blanket of snow seeds sleep, awaiting the awakening touch of spring's warm hand. Lay your plans and dream in contentment of the gardening season to come, for the sowing time approaches.

New Seeds for '83

Compactness continues to be the garden watchword in 1983, and the seed companies will be introducing many new space-saving varieties. Burpee, for example, takes pity on the cantaloupe-lover who's short on garden space by offering Honeybush, a fullsized (2 1/2- to 3-pound) melon that grows on bushy vines about 5 feet long. Honeybush is reported to have a small seed cavity and to be fusarium-wilt-tolerant. The plants can be spaced every 1 1/2 to 2 feet, in rows 3 to 4 feet apart.

Burpee's Green Bouquet basil can produce a trim 12-inch-high hedge around your flower or vegetable garden. The compact, rounded plants will also flourish on windowsills, providing a year-long crop of leaves for seasonings or pesto. Another Burpee compact is the Crispy Hybrid pepper, which sets a heavy crop of 3- by 3 1/2-inch fruit on tidy 15-inch-tall plants. You can begin to harvest these saladmakers just 70 days after setting out the transplants.

At the other extreme, Burpee's Super Beefsteak tomato is anything but small. These 80-day 'maters are claimed to average 17 ounces, but our test planting this past year produced quantities of 1 ½-pound beauties. Better still, unlike many large varieties, Super Beefsteak has a smooth skin and a small blossom-end scar. There's lots of tangy tomato flavor, and inbred resistance to verticillium, fusarium, and root-knot nematodes.

Disease resistance is also an important feature of Burpee's Early Pride Hybrid cucumber. An all-female variety (every blossom sets a fruit, producing huge harvests), Early Pride has good tolerance for mildew and mosaic diseases. The harvest begins early, too — about 55 days after setting out — and the 2 by 8-inch cukes are good for slicing, salads, and pickling. And, even though it's not a compact type, Early Pride can be kept in line if it's trained on a space-saving trellis or fence.

There's also a new cucumber that is dwarfed in habit: Bush Pickle, a 1983 introduction from Park Seeds. This variety produces an abundance of small gherkin-shaped fruit on compact, thick-stemmed plants, and cropping will commence just 46 days after the seedlings are set out. Park's real breakthrough in cukes for 1983, though, is a European type, and the first completely seedless variety (like those that often sell for over a dollar each in fancy grocery stores) that's suited for outdoor growing. Sweet Success (an All-American winner that's available from both Park and Nichols) produces crisp, slender, thin-skinned 14-inch fruit on 6-foot vines and exhibits multiple-disease resistance.

Park also claims that it's introducing the hottest pepper ever listed in its catalog. It's called Thai Hot, in honor of the role it plays in Oriental cuisine. The inch-long red, green, and yellow fruit covers diminutive 8-inch-tall plants, making Thai Hot perfect for container or hanging-basket gardening. And, for folks who like their peppers "cool," Park has Sweet Pickle, with crispy 2-inch pods that match the color range of ornamental peppers: orange, red, yellow, and purple. This early-fruiting variety is sweet and thick-walled, and it grows prolifically on plants just 12 to 15 inches high.

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