Seven new vegetables have been given awards for 2019 by All-America Selections, the non-profit testing organization for new flower and vegetable varieties. All seven of them are early enough to mature in our short season climate.

Watermelon Cal Sweet Bush has short 14 to 18 inch vines. It is suitable for containers and small gardens. It produces 10 to 12 inch oval fruits with sweet, crisp red flesh. It is resistant to powdery mildew. Cal Sweet Bush watermelon is rated to harvest first fruit in 65 days from transplanting (which means about 80 days in our cool climate).

Melon Orange Silver Wave produces 5 inch (3 pound) oval shape melons on vigorous 5 to 6 feet vines. Outer rind is a unique silver with green speckles. Firm orange flesh is extremely sweet. It is rated 75 days from transplanting (90 days in our climate).

Pepper Just Sweet Yellow has shiny vivid yellow elongated fruit 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Plants grow 36 inches high and 15 inches wide. It is suitable for containers. Aromatic sweet/tart fruit can be eaten raw for fresh snacks. It is rated 65 to 75 days from transplanting (80 to 90 in our climate).

Tomato Chef’s Choice Black is a large beefsteak type tomato. Deep mahogany brown/black globe shape fruit grows up to 5 inches (8 ounces). 5 foot plants require support. Full sweet flavor. Rated 75 days from transplanted plants (90 in our climate).

Tomato Fire Fly produces small cherry size fruit (less than 1 inch). Very sweet mild acid flavor. Disease resistant 5 foot plants require support. Rated 80 days from transplanting (95 in our climate).

Tomato Red Torch is an early, disease resistant variety with excellent flavor and texture. 1½ inch oblong red fruit has light green stripes. Five foot plants require support. Rated 60 to 70 days from transplanting (75 to 85 in our climate).

Tomato Sparky XSL produces 1 ounce, very sweet cherry size red fruit on 5 foot plants. XSL stands for extended shelf life. Rated 60 to 70 days from transplanting (75 to 85 in our climate).

All four new award winning tomatoes have indeterminate or vining plants. Although they will all produce some fruit if transplanted early, varieties with determinate or bush type growth such as Bush Early Girl will produce more total yield.

Days to Maturity for Vegetables

Variety descriptions for vegetables almost always include “days to maturity” ratings. This rating for fruiting vegetables is the number of days from transplanting to first harvest. These ratings are determined in the Midwest where both day and night temperatures are much higher than we have. I have found that it is necessary to add about two weeks to the ratings for fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, melons and squash to make them appropriate for our area.

Allen Wilson can be contacted at allenw98663@yahoo.com.

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