Consumers are snapping up garden vegetables to cultivate fresh produce on their own terms and in their own space. Breeders introducing new garden vegetables at California Spring Trials (CAST) 2018 say ensuring new vegetables have strong disease-resistance packages behind them remains priority one, along with breeding for phenomenal taste.
Here’s an update on what eight breeding companies participating in CAST had to offer that’s new in the garden vegetables arena.
‘Confetti’ is a mini bell pepper with eye-catching striped foliage and fruit, and the ‘Jungle Parrot’ pepper is a good choice for space-saving gardening because the plants grow strong without support. The determinate beefsteak tomato ‘Atlas’ is tolerant of Bacterial Spot, Fusarium, and Verticillium. ‘Shimmer’ tomato has green/gold/burgundy, cherry-sized fruits. Plants are indeterminate and tolerant of Bacterial Speck, Bacterial Spot, Fusarium (1-3), Nematode, Tomato Mosaic Virus, Stemphylium Leaf Spot, and Verticillium Race 2.
‘Primero Red’ Habañero pepper, from the Handpicked Vegetables Collection, is an early flowering variety with intermediate resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. The ‘Snackabelle Red’ pepper has an easy-out stem and seed cavity and a strong disease-resistance package. ‘Butterbaby’ butternut squash produces an abundance of sweet, mini squash that will last up to four months or more after harvest. It has intermediate resistance to powdery mildew. SimplyHerbs Dill, Curled Parsley, Large-Leaf Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, and Rosemary are now available as Precision Multi-Pellets.
Plug Connection is offering Pixie Grapes as a liner that growers can cold-treat for bulk and then grow quickly after dormancy. This offers a less expensive option than bare root.
While not a garden vegetable, Berried Treasure strawberry is a great addition to the vegetable garden. Bred by ABZ Seeds, it is the first double-flowered strawberry on the market. It comes in Pink and Rose. Proven Winners will have a full supply of this variety in spring 2019. The new ‘Amazel’ basil is the first Italian sweet basil on the market that is resistant to downy mildew. It is a vigorous, sterile Ocimum hybrid that produces leaves and shoots even after flower initiation.
Specializing in small, tabletop vegetables, Prudac is looking to capitalize on the indoor plant trend by encouraging consumers to buy miniature garden vegetables with high-Brix fruits they can eat and enjoy on their tables, then plant them in the garden and buy more for the table. Some notables include the Heartbreakers heart-shaped cherry tomatoes, Pillar peppers, Rocket Red Mamba peppers, and baby cauliflower.
The ‘Camaro,’ a disease-resistant slicing tomato, is a compact, determinate variety for growing in containers or raised beds. Plants set well in heat and fruits mature 72 to 75 days from transplant. The fruits of the ‘Lola’ sweet banana pepper turn from bright yellow to orange to bright red as they mature. ‘Primo Vantage’ cabbage has an appealing flavor and texture. Plants are resistant to Fusarium Yellows Race 1, and their heads have a shorter core.
Syngenta’s colorful new cauliflower ‘Flame Star’ is a versatile variety suitable for both fresh and processing markets. It tolerates heat and environmental stress, so it’s easy to grow for spring or fall gardens. When biting into the new ‘Pauimé’ jalapeño pepper after it is grilled, one gets a sense of the savory pepper, followed by a little sweetness, then the heat transitions from mild to medium all in one bite. The ‘Recovery’ pepper is an early maturing variety adaptable for cool to warm growing conditions.
The determinate ‘Summerlast’ tomato, with its unique striped foliage, is the first compact tomato with Tomato Mosaic Virus (TMV) and Late Blight Resistance, which makes it easier to produce the crop organically. The hot and sweet pepper ‘Alter Ego’ resembles a cross between a sweet pepper and a hot chili with its upward-facing fruits. The ‘Liberty Belle’ bell pepper produces conventional fruit numbers on a very non-conventionally sized, sturdy plant and is TMV resistant.