It’s a busy time of year here at Savvy Gardening. We’re attending gardening shows and conferences, giving gardening talks, and writing A LOT about… you guessed it, gardening. But most importantly, we are planting seeds in anticipation of the coming season. We’re not content to merely plant the usual produce suspects. We are constantly on the lookout for interesting edibles – flavor, color, texture – that we can add to our plots. Here is just a sample of what we’ll be planting.
Jessica says: I am so excited to grow this awesome little veggie for the first time this year. Most gardeners know that broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, and several other cole crops are actually all the same species of plant, Brassica oleracea. They were each bred and refined over many years to exhibit the unique, and stable, traits that make them the vegetables we recognize today. Well, the folks at Tozer Seeds in Great Britain have spent the last fifteen years using traditional hybridization techniques to come up with a new member of the cole family by crossing kale with brussels sprouts. Kalettes grow like brussels sprouts, forming tiny heads of kale on the exterior of a large stalk. I’m told the flavor is the perfect mixture of kale and brussels sprouts; sweet and nutty. There is no genetic engineering involved here, just classic plant breeding. If you’re interested in growing Kalettes of your own, seeds are for sale from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. I’ve already started a dozen seeds under my grow lights. I’ll keep you posted on their progress as the season progresses.
Niki says: Grafted tomatoes have become hugely popular among tomato lovers who long for increased yields and disease-resistant plants. Last year was my first attempt at growing grafted tomatoes, but I had mixed results because of late blight. This summer, I intend to dedicate an entire garden bed to grafted tomatoes, pitting the same grafted and non-grafted varieties against each other to test production, fruit size and overall plant health.
But I’ll save room in that bed for ‘Ketchup n’ Fries’, a grafted plant that is the result of fusing together an early cherry tomato with a late-maturing potato. Now, in case you were wondering, this isn’t a GMO plant. It’s simply two plants in the same family grafted together, a skill that is widely used for fruit trees and roses. It’s also not entirely brand spanking new, as it was released in the U.K. in 2013, and featured in a segment on Stephen Colbert called ‘The Craziest F#?ing Thing I’ve Ever Heard’. How could I possibly resist that?
According to the breeder, a gardener can expect to harvest up to 500 super-sweet red cherry tomatoes from the top portion of the plant, and around four and a half pounds of white potatoes from the bottom. This novelty can be grown in gardens or large containers, and is a sure-fire way to get kids excited about the garden.
Amy says: These days, I’m all about adding color to the vegetable garden. I love growing vegetables for not only their flavor, but their color, too. Green vegetable gardens are boring. I want a purple, red, orange, black, and pink vegetable garden. Well, this year, I’m adding purple tomatillos to the mix, and I’m super excited about it. Tomatillo salsa is one of my favorite things to make during the summer, and this year I’m hoping I’ll be able to make some purple tomatillo salsa, how fun would that be? I have my purple tomatillo seeds and I’m ready to start sowing. I can’t wait!
Tara says: Last summer, when I was visiting the Stokes Seeds trial garden for an event, I walked by these sweet cute little watermelons the size of baseballs. I love summer watermelon, but it just seems like such a space commitment. This year I’m making room. I was drawn to the Doll Babies melons in the Renee’s Garden online catalogue. These heirloom watermelons could have yellow or pinky-red flesh and don’t grow to be garden behemoths. I’m looking forward to growing these refreshing summer treats from seed.
In case you missed it, our latest newsletter is all about starting seeds!