Spring brings a new crop of plants available in our greenhouse. This year, we’re sharing some new varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs from Chef Jeff.
Vegetables and herbs prefer at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Plant tomatoes and peppers in warm soil. Water and fertilize regularly.
• Heirloom Belgium Giant: A succulent pink slicer tomato that’s sweet, mild, low in acid and gigantic. On average, tomatoes weigh 1 ½ to 2 pounds, but can weigh up to 5 lbs. It’s a good choice for slicing cooking or canning. It’s a favorite for sandwiches because just one slice covers a piece of bread. Indeterminate (Plants grow and produce fruit until killed by frost)
• Heirloom Marglobe: The heavy vigorous vines produce high yields of uniform eight to 10-ounce, deep red round fruit. The tomatoes are very sweet, thick walled, tasty, smooth and firm — perfect for fresh eating. Fruits ripen all at once, making it a perfect canning tomato. Determinate (Tomatoes ripen at approximately the same time)
• Tumbling Tiger Hanging Tomato: This unusual cherry tomato has bright red with green striped fruit. The delicious juicy flavor is perfect for snacking. The neat compact bush has a trailing habit, which makes it perfect for a hanging basket. Or plant this unique tomato in a small garden. Determinate (Tomatoes ripen at approximately the same time.)
• Chipotle: This variety of Jalapeno is perfect to smoke and make your own Chipotle peppers. Keep peppers on the bush as long as possible. Pick when they’re deep red and have lost most of their moisture.
• Extreme Inferno Pepper: A hot 1,300,000 Scoville unit fruit is hotter than Ghost Chills. Use extreme caution. The wrinkled two-inch pendant pods ripen to bright red and pack a serious heat punch.
• Yelling Yellow Pepper: The heat level of this pepper increases as it matures from green to bright yellow. Harvest when greens and it’s 150,000 on the Scoville scale. Harvest when yellow and it’s a hot 400,000+ on Scoville. This thin-walled fruit looks like a yellow Habanero pepper with double the heat. Use to add intense heat to salsas, cooked dishes or when making your own hot sauce. Wear gloves when handling plants and fruit. Yeah, it’s that hot!
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
• Tango Celery: Wonderful, crunchy and sweet stalks of delicious celery grow from this vigorous and robust plant. This early maturing variety produces tender, not stringy, dark green thick stalks. Plant 6 to 12 inches apart in a 6-inch deep hole. Water frequently and consistently. Celery grows best with constant moisture. Tie it together or mound soil around it as it grows to prevent sprawling and to blanch interior. Cut individual stalks for an extended harvest or at the base to harvest the whole plant.
• Dinosaur Kale: The slender, long leaves of Dinosaur Kale are heavily textured and almost look bubbled. Harvest continually throughout the season, but the leaves are the sweetest in the fall and even tastier after a frost. The dark blue-green almost black leaves have an earthy nutty texture and are so hearty they retain their firm texture even when cooked. It’s a great combination of flavor and beauty, with high nutritional value and health benefits. HARVEST TIP: Start from the bottom of the plant and work towards the center, leaving at least 4 leaves at the crown, which will allow the plant to continue producing.
• Goosebumps Pumpkin: As this unusual pumpkin matures it develops an unbelievable bumpy ring. Even without carving, it’s a great Halloween decoration. Fruit ripens to deep orange and grows into a round 8 to 10-inch globe shape that weighs 8 to 10 pounds. This meaty pumpkin is also excellent to eat. Leave lots of room for the indeterminate vines.
• Shallots have a mild taste that combine the flavor of a sweet onion with a touch of garlic. Use where ever green onions are called for. The green leaves can be used like chives. Easy to grow. One bulb will produce a cluster of five to 10 cloves. The plant will produce blooms on a long stiff stalk. Remove the stakes to provide more energy to the bulbs. Harvest when the leaf stakes start to turn yellow and wilt. Use a spade to gently life the entire clump from the ground. Allow bulbs to dry in a cool, dry area.
• Spaghetti Squash Angel Hair: This personal-size squash is perfect for single servings. The sweet and flavorful, egg shaped fruit is a sunshine yellow color when ripe. Use as a low-carb alternative to pasta. The cooked stringy flesh can be scooped out in strands resembling angel hair pasta. The texture is tender and chewy and the flavor is very mild. Remove seeds and cook face down in the oven or microwave. Use a fork to gently pull flesh from the peel and separate into strands. Toss with tomato sauce or olive oil, garlic and salt. Or use in your favorite pasta main dish.
• Me-Wow Lemon Catnip: An aromatic herb that will delight your cat. It has elegant silvery foliage as regular catnip, but bears white to pale pink flower and a wonderful lemon fragrance. Its aroma is known to repel aphids and several types of beetles. Plant in garden beds or containers.
• Wine & Rose Thyme is aromatic and a great culinary herb with a slightly milder flavor than other Thyme varieties. This compact, low-growing, spreading variety forms a mat of dark green foliage blanketed with pink blooms in spring and summer that attract bees and butterflies. Use in soups and stews, salad dressings, infused vinegars and meat and fish dishes.
• Chervil or French Parsley has a unique, fresh and pungent mild flavor with a faint hint of licorice and parsley. The young leaves are used in soups, salads, sauces and to flavor eggs, fish and vegetable dishes. Add this tender herb at the last minute so its flavor is not destroyed. It’s also a wonderful ornamental herb in gardens, borders or containers with its lacy, miniature fern-like mounding foliage and upright airy flowers.
Selection of plants will vary by store.
To learn about planting vegetables, read “Garden to Table: Vegetable Gardening in your Backyard.” or visit the experts at any of our stores.