Cream of the New Crops for 1983

Our gardening expert tested a number of new crops introduced last year and tells us what we'll reap when we sow.

| March/April 1983

Never, in close to 20 years of gardening, has my plot produced as abundantly as it did last summer. And that achievement came as a bit of a surprise to me, because the weather in our mountain valley in eastern Kentucky was either extremely hot or downright cold, and ranged from very wet to very dry. In short, 1982 didn't offer what I'd consider ideal gardening conditions!

I'm inclined, therefore, to attribute my success to the fact that I had more outstanding new varieties to include in last year's trials than I've ever had before. And those cultivars produced so well (despite the "off" summer) that my family had all the fresh vegetables we could eat, can, and freeze ... and plenty left over to give away.

Here's a rundown on the new crops that promise to be tops in your garden for '83.

Princely Peas

Although I usually plant my early crops in February, I was forced by extreme cold to wait until mid-March to put out the coolweather lovers, such as peas. Despite that late start, however, my garden produced an abundant harvest of the early bloomers.

Folks who are familiar with succulent Sugar Snap peas will be glad to know that there are now three dwarf varieties, and the new cultivars require no staking! Check with Henry Field (and others) for the earliest and most compact of the trio, Sugar Bon. This plant's vines reach only 18" to 24" high, but are extremely productive. The second, "midget" to mature, Sugar Mel, sports prolific 24" to 28" vines. And Sugar Rae, the latest bloomer of the bunch, matures at much the same time as does the original Sugar Snap, but its loaded vines are only about half as tall. (You can purchase either of the latter two varieties from Gurney Seed & Nursery.)

Thompson & Morgan is also offering a snap pea similar to the dwarf strains just mentioned. The firm's Edula matures a few days before Sugar Snap and yields a profusion of crisp, sweet peas on 26" determinate vines. And Sweet Snap, a new semi-dwarf cultivar that's available from several sources, not only has all the attributes of the other introductions, but also displays remarkable resistance to powdery mildew, legume yellows, and virus, three of the most devastating pea diseases. Dwarf White Sugar, a new offering from Vermont Bean Seed Company, is another definite winner in the snow and sugar pea category. It's the most productive variety of this type that I've ever grown and has excellent resistance to fusarium wilt.

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