Even though we devoted most of the Organic Gardening Test Garden to familiar older varieties and heirlooms in 2011, we couldn’t resist including a few new introductions. Our hope is always to discover something wonderfully distinctive and delicious among the new catalog offerings. These were our favorites.
This amazingly prolific pickling cucumber doubles as a tasty salad cuke. The white-skinned, 4-inch fruits are “a good size if you don’t want a lot of cuke at once,” one of our test gardeners says.
Source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds
If you’re looking for a winter squash that won’t send its vines wandering far and wide, this one fits the bill with a more restrained growth habit. The orange-fleshed fruits, up to 2 pounds in size, have a nutty sweetness.
Source: The Cook’s Garden
This Asian green has the sharp, peppery flavor of mustard greens in a filigree form. Mizuna is a traditional ingredient in stir-fries and soups; we also found it tasty when added fresh to salads and sandwiches.
With a longer shape than a traditional bell pepper, this was the largest of the sweet peppers we trialed. The hefty fruits mature from green to red. They’re thick-walled, so they hold up well on the grill.
Medium in size and uniform in shape, ‘Hijinks’ is a classic pumpkin for fall decoration. Our Dallas test gardener reported it produced well even in an extremely hot, dry summer.
Source: All-America Selections winner; widely available
Keep Reading: 7 Secrets for a High-Yield Vegetable Garden