What’s New in Flowers and Vegetables
A roundup of fresh new varieties coming to market in 2014.
There will be lots of new and unique varieties of vegetables and flowers coming for 2014, and the needs of both commercial growers and end consumers will be at the forefront. The upsurge in home gardening and local food production is driving a trend for vegetable and flower varieties that can easily be grown in containers on patios and in limited spaces. Meanwhile, growers are demanding products with earlier maturity, increased yields and better disease resistance packages, which the industry is working hard to deliver.
Here is a sampling of some of the new varieties that are or should be available soon.
New Vegetable Varieties
Nunhems has two new onion varieties with both consumer and grower benefits. Oloroso is a long day onion with high single centers combined and long storage potential for processors who need uniform rings with high solids. In the fresh market, Oloroso offers high bulb uniformity and excellent scale coverage, which makes it attractive in a bag to the consumer. Oloroso is a well-adapted variety that is grower-friendly under pivot, furrow or sprinkle irrigation. It has high pink root, fusarium and bolt tolerance for better yield potential.
Dulciana is a short day onion that can be marketed as a mild-flavored Grano onion. Good scale coverage has consumer appeal and gives the grower bulb protection while handling the bulb through harvest, packing and shipping.
American Takii Inc.
American Takii Inc. is introducing Rising Sun, a new hybrid onion variety that is a fall planted, early-medium, short day onion for growing areas in the southwest United States and northeast Mexico. It has bolting tolerance, a uniform globe shape and tests at less than five on the pungency rating scale, giving it a sweet, mild flavor.
Monsanto’s new BA1001 garden been offers growers an improved disease package, allowing for shorter rotations.
Monsanto’s Seminis vegetable range has many new offerings including a new broccoli variety, SV1810BL. It features a firm, green multi-purpose crown with medium-size beads and has shown high tolerance to systemic downy mildew.
A new Seminis Performance Series sweet corn hybrid called SV9010SA combines multiple insect control traits. It offers dual modes of action for aboveground and belowground insect pests and tolerance to Roundup WeatherMAX and Roundup PowerMAX herbicides. This hybrid also contains the RpG and Rp1D genes, which provide high resistance to common rust.
BA1001 is a garden bean that yields well and reduces the likelihood of aphanomyces root rot disease development in the field, making it useful for double-cropping or other short rotations.
Abbott & Cobb Inc.
Abbott & Cobb Inc. has four new sweet corn varieties coming for 2014. A white variety is Summer Sweet MultiSweet SS1441 from the company’s SuperSeedWare (SSW) line that features improved germination and vigor under most stress conditions.
Summer Sweet MultiSweet SS2742 is a bi-color variety with brilliant HiGlow kernels and produced with SSW genetics that allow it to be planted early and still produce strong, uniform stands.
Summer Sweet HiGlowMS 7401 IMP has enhanced vigor and overall seed quality. It carries new Stays Rich Green (SRG) natural genetics, producing darker green plants and husks and thicker leaves. It has a high resistance to maize dwarf mosaic virus.
Summer Sweet HiGlow 8902 IMP is a bi-color variety that offers enhanced rust resistance. It maintains ear size in fall and winter growing seasons and has a dark green husk and plant, due to its SRG genetics.
Syngenta’s Captivation watermelon offers growers strong yields and disease resistance with a consistent fruit size.
New from Syngenta is Captivation, a seedless watermelon variety with mostly 45-count fruits which are a uniform, consistent size with firm shape and red flesh. It offers strong disease resistance and plant growth habit suited for less than ideal field conditions.
Designed for better results in stressful or difficult growing conditions are two new sweet peppers: Bastille and Rampart. Bastille offers fruit with a longer shelf life and its concentrated fruit set allows for a more predictable harvest. Rampart has verdant, thick-walled fruit and continuous fruit set for multiple harvests. It provides exceptional stress tolerance in early fall seasons and yields predictably in difficult growing conditions.
Protector Sweet Corn has an industry-leading disease resistance package and includes Syngenta’s Attribute II trait stack maximizing yield and productivity and also has tolerance to Liberty herbicide.
Oakley, Harris Seeds’ new specialty gourmet bean, is resistant to bean common mosaic virus, curly top virus, and bacterial brown spot and rust, and also has intermediate resistance to halo blight. Rubi bean has scarlet red, slightly mottled pods and can be harvested early for fresh seed consumption or left on the plant for dry seed use.
Silver Slicer is an organic cucumber variety developed at Cornell University that matures in 62 days and offers prolific yields, uniform fruit, creamy white color and excellent taste. Its vines resist powdery mildew.
Another new variety, SV4719CS F1, is the first slicing cucumber to offer intermediate resistance to a new strain of downy mildew that is plaguing many cucumber growers. It also offers resistance to angular leaf spot, anthracnose scab and zucchini yellows mosaic virus.
Following the trend for smaller, bite-sized vegetables, Johnny introduces its Babybeat Beet and Adelaide Carrot varieties. Babybeat is a true baby beet, which means it is well proportioned even when young. Adelaide is a true baby carrot and has an early maturity and forms a blunt root tip at three to four inches long.
Other smaller sized vegetables from Johnny’s Seeds include Kabocha Winter Squashes, which are ornamental as well as edible. Shokichi Green produces single-serving size green fruits with light stripes, while Shokichi Shrio is a small single-serving size gray Kabocha squash that works well for stuffing.
Burpee Home Gardens
Burpee Home Gardens’ Tomato Indigo collection offers unique snack-sized fruits, which look great in recipes and taste delicious. They are also available as Bumper Crop grafted tomato varieties. New in the collection for 2014 is Indigo Rose, a purple, almost jet-black tomato that ripens to a rosy red. Indigo Starburst is sweet and golden and sets heavy in clusters of about six fruit. Indigo Ruby is a cherry tomato with sweet flavor and pleasant aroma. Indigo Sun has an indigo pigment, indicating healthy anthocyanins.
Also following the trend towards container gardening and multi-variety mixes, Burpee Home Gardens offers Try Basil as part of its multi-seed pellet range that allows gardeners to grow and try three different basils in one pot. It includes a blend of Genovese, serrated and dark-red basils.
BallFlora’s late-flowering, disease-resistant BamBasil gives a full season of hearty leaves and stays tidy in gardens and planters with dense branching on strong stems. It has perfect flavor for pesto and fresh summer salads.
Pan American Seed’s SimplyHerbs multi-seed pellet allows growers less seed waste while producing full, uniform crops.
An excellent slicer tomato for containers and small gardens is Homeslice, an early, compact and mounding plant that produces bountiful harvests of round, five- to six-ounce fruit with true tomato flavor. It can be sold in large containers in bloom or with small fruit.
The SimplyHerbs multi-seed pellet is an easy and economical way to grow and sell the most popular herbs. Plants grow from single-species, multi-seed pellets and produce a nice fast fill and a healthy, more uniform crop with no wasted seed. It’s available in dill, basil, parsley, sage and thyme.
A new development in breeding from Rijk Zwaan is its parthenocarpic pickling cucumbers, Puccini and Stravinsky, which do not require pollinator plants and offer benefits for mechanical harvesting. Fruit is uniform and the plants produce a concentrated fruit set. Bees are not required to pollinate the crop and quality is improved because the fruit do not have seeds.
In spinach the company will have six new varieties with resistance to new races of downy mildew.
New Flower Varieties
PanAmerican Seed is encouraging retailers to “think outside the pack” by providing varieties and mixes designed for containers and combination plantings for consumers who increasingly want a designer look for their back yards and patios with minimal effort.
Its new easy-to-grow Fuseables Precision Multi-Pellets are specially formulated to deliver a balanced mix of two or three flower varieties which germinate and grow together to produce more natural-looking mixes for retailers. Growers are guaranteed that all components of the mix are present at least 90 percent of the time because every component is sown individually directly into the mold. Fuseables are supplied with a 95 percent minimum germination standard and crop time is eight to 12 weeks from sow to finish. Fuseables pellets are easy to sow precisely with a 30-size drum and they transplant easily due to uniform growth.
In its Fuseables Precision Multi-Pellets range, PanAmerican Seed is launching a number of new varieties including multi-species Healing Waters, which includes Shock Wave Denim Petunia, Easy Wave Violet Petunia and large-flowered blue Bacopa. Its multi-species Cloud N Sky mix includes Shock Wave Coconut Petunia and Blutopia Bacopa and Multi-species Blue Dawn, which features Easy Wave Rosy Dawn Petunia and Blutopia Bacopa.
New in the company’s recently developed Divine New Guinea Impatiens lineup, the only seed New Guinea variety on the market, are four new colors: Blue Pearl, Burgundy, White Blush and Scarlet Bronze Leaf. Divine New Guinea Impatiens provide high resistance to downy mildew. Plugs can be finished in five to six weeks at average daily temperatures (ADT) of 73˚F or, if growers wish to reduce energy inputs, can be finished in 11 weeks at 66˚F ADT or 15 weeks in 58˚F ADT.
America Takii Inc.
A new perennial Agastache series, Arizona will be available in three colors: Sandstone, Sun and Sunset. Arizona is a first-year blooming variety that is extremely floriferous, compact and uniform in shape, easily maintained once established, and drought tolerant.
America Takii’s new Petunia F1 African Sunset is the first orange petunia from seed and is a 2014 All-America Selections (AAS) winner. African Sunset has an excellent mounding habit, strong stems, vigor and orange-hued flowers. Strong flower petals stand up to humid conditions. It is good in landscapes, hanging baskets and mixed containers.
Grandio Pansy is a new large-flowered pansy from Sakata Seeds, which is bred for ease of growing in today’s greenhouses. It has a uniform habit and there is no need for special growing regimes. It comes in 12 colors and five designer mixes.
Profusion Double zinnia is the next generation of zinnia with improved disease resistance and a brilliant nonstop color display that is great for landscapes. In the series, Double Hot Cherry and Double Deep Salmon were 2013 AAS award winners.
Pinball gomphrena is the first vegetative, spreading gomphrena and comes in four colors: Purple, Snow-tip Lavendar and White. This tough, summer-loving plant is good for landscapes, and is both heat and drought tolerant and is ideal in mixed containers and planters.
Low-maintenance SunPatiens impatiens offers two new colors: Compact Red and Compact Hot CoralSunPatiens. The variety thrives under high heat and humidity and is resistant to downy mildew, providing season-long color in gardens or containers.
Editor’s Note: The varieties listed in this article were selected to demonstrate the trends in the industry and are by no means a comprehensive listing of new varieties available.
All-America Selections Changes Judging Practices to Reflect Local Food Trends
The local food movement has a big impact on the vegetable and edibles seed market, as new compact varieties—bred specifically to be grown on patios and balconies or in containers—are introduced each year.
As a result, All-America Selections is making changes to its trialing process to reflect the local food trend. AAS just announced its first ever regional winners for 2014. AAS national winners have performed consistently well in a majority of AAS trials across North America, whereas the new regional winners have performed very well in a specific region.
“The grow local movement is causing more people to grow their own and so they want to know what grows well in their area,” says Diane Blazek, executive director of AAS. “We still have our national winners and I think that in a couple of years we are also going to have a nice selection of regional winners that people can grow.”
The AAS trial process is totally anonymous and comparative. Entries are compared side by side against the performance of two similar varieties already in the marketplace. Entries are judged on performance criteria such as plant growth, production longevity and taste. AAS is making its judging timelines for vegetable and edibles more flexible to accommodate entry classes that have longer growing seasons.
“We had a very specific timeline that we always followed and we are starting to be more flexible with that,” says Blazek. “For example, I am in Chicago and we are in a zone five, so tomato seeds would be started indoors, transplanted out at the end of May, and would be judged at the end of July or beginning of August. That timeline didn’t work well for things like lettuce, brussel sprouts and winter squash. So we are allowing our judges more time to judge things that maybe have a longer growing season. As a result, we anticipate that a wider number of classes will become AAS winners.”