If there was one category that stood out during all of California Spring Trials in 2012, it was definitely the growth in edibles offerings. While vegetables and herbs have been a growing trend for a few years now, the number of breeders expanding existing lines or jumping in for the first time was striking.
Here are a few of the major new introductions to look out for in the future.
Bumper Crop Grafted Tomato From Burpee Home Gardens
One of Burpee Home Gardens’ big introductions in 2012 is this grafted tomato that combines flavorful traditional heirloom tomatoes and a disease-resistant rootstock. The increased vigor provided by the rootstock offers up to 50 percent more yield than a regular heirloom tomato plant. Burpee Home Gardens is introducing seven Bumper Crop varieties, including ‘Big Rainbow,’ ‘Brandywine Red,’ and ‘Sam Marzano.’
‘Easy Pick Gold’ Zucchini From PanAmerican Seed
One of a number of new introductions to PanAmerican’s edibles offerings this year, ‘Easy Pick Gold’ is a consumer-friendly F1 zucchini. With just 32 days from transplant to ripe fruit, it offers easy and continuous harvest with an open habit and no spines on the petioles. ‘Easy Pick Gold’ can be grown with ‘Easy Pick Green’ for a colorful marketing combination.
Cayennetta Pepper From Floranova/Vegetalis
‘Cayennetta’ is a compact branching cayenne-type chili. It has a very neat, attractive habit and produces a large crop of bright-red, 4-inch tapered fruits underneath an attractive leaf canopy. The fruits are mild in heat, reaching approximately 20,000 Scoville heat units. ‘Cayennetta’ exhibits tolerance to both very hot and cold seasons making it a good all-around performer in the garden.
Ornamental edibles are increasingly prevalent at Spring Trials. The ‘Toscana’ strawberry is an excellent example, with a strong plant with several runners and large, deep-rose flowers. Flowering and fruiting begins early in the season and continues on the runners. Plants offer an abundant production of conical, mid-size fruits through the whole summer. ‘Toscana’ was named winner of the
prestigious FleuroStar Award 2011/12.
‘Sweet Zen’ Grape Tomato From Sakata Home Grown
‘Sweet Zen’ is a compact, determinate, red grape tomato that fits well in patio garden programs. It has the added bonus of fruit that can be harvested over a longer period of time than other determinate types. Bright red tomatoes mature early at around 63 days and have a good, sweet flavor. Plants are tolerant to heat and are suitable for outdoor or indoor production.
‘Mighty Mato’ Grafted Tomato From Plug Connection
Plug Connection joins the edibles fray with ‘Mighty Mato’ grafted tomatoes. Rootstock with improved disease resistance is grafted to scion of 12 heirloom and four hybrid varieties. Plants tolerate environmental stress from temperature extremes and poor soils and offer abundant fruit production over a longer period than traditional tomato varieties. Grafted peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers and melons will be added to the program as well.
‘Furano’ Bean From Syngenta Flowers
Syngenta Flowers is taking a slightly different direction with edibles for the greenhouse market. Its relationship with vegetable breeder Syngenta/Rogers has made it possible to focus less on ornamental crops for the patio and more on traditional backyard vegetable garden varieties in retail-ready programs. Furano is a Romano-type flat bean with exceptional eating quality and an upright bush habit for easy consumer harvesting. It is widely adapted to most conditions.