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Plant a rainbow: Colorful new vegetables

Golden Goose summer squash is new for 2019. (Photo: Burpee)
Edible ornamental examples for 2019 from seed giant Burpee

Eat a rainbow? These new vegetables will add color to any meal or garden bed.

Examples fill new seed catalogs and websites including Burpee Seeds’ 2019 introductions. These recent hybrids look spectacular growing in the garden as well as at harvest.

Following the edible ornamental trend, Burpee released several new vegetables with eye-catching appeal.

Burpee chairman George Ball raves about some of these new vegetables in terms usually associated with sports cars or formal gowns: “Stunning,” “beautiful,” “gorgeous.”

“My favorite is Golden Goose hybrid summer squash,” Ball said of the 2019 introductions. “It’s absolutely out of this world. It looks so beautiful; the color is just stunning. But it’s also very, very productive and disease resistant. It produces these very shapely crookneck squash all summer long. And they’re delicious, too.”

Honeycomb tomatoes  are Burpee's only new tomato for 2019. (Photo: Burpee)
With limited space, home gardeners are more likely to grow attractive vegetables, herbs, fruit and berries that can be added to their landscapes or grown in patio containers. These edibles become part of their home’s ornamental landscape; to earn those spots, they’ve got to look good and taste great.

Ball shared how Burpee, the nation’s largest supplier of home garden seeds, is following that trend with some colorful new introductions. Topping that list is Honeycomb orange cherry tomatoes.

“We have only one new tomato this season, but it’s a killer,” Ball said. “Honeycomb is this beautiful golden orange and it tastes a little bit like honey, too. It’s richly flavored; sweet but not cloying. It has lovely vine quality; almost sensuous vines with a creeping effect that weave together. It’s a pretty plant.”

Heart-shape Slovana peppers ripen to several shades of yellow.

Slovana  peppers ripen to several shades of yellow. (Photo: Burpee)
“They go from beautiful pale yellow to neon gold; it’s a marble or jewel-like color,” Ball said. “They’re a wonderful, wonderful Slavic pepper. They were a big hit in Europe. … They’re delicious at all stages with a little bit of kick.”

Burgundy Delight red leaf lettuce looks as nice in the ornamental landscape as it does in a salad.

“It has very dark red leaves, a deep red to bronze that mellows to burgundy,” Ball said. “In the garden, it looks like it’s glowing. It’s very decorative in the spring and autumn garden. It’s also quite delicious.”

Another vegetable that seems to sparkle: Green Gems Brussels sprouts.

“Green Gems; it’s just what it says,” Ball said. “It’s 36 inches tall and loaded with these gourmet quality sprouts. The whole plant is just glowing green; it’s a beautiful thing.”

White vegetables always draw the eye. While developing color, plant breeders also strive for pearl-like whites.

“White Corona is the whitest cauliflower I’ve ever seen,” Ball said. “It looks like dazzling white snow. It’s also the fastest growing cultivar I’ve ever seen; it’s ready in 33 days.”

White Knight eggplant makes a stunning impact in the garden. (Photo: Burpee)
With long, thin fruit, White Knight eggplant makes a handsome container plant. These prolific (but compact) bushes earn a second look.

“It is an absolutely opulent white color,” Ball said of these eggplant. “It shimmers on the plant. Its culinary virtues are as great as its visual (aspects). (These eggplant are) dense and creamy, and don’t get soggy.”

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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