January Gardening - January 2009

2009 AAS Winners

Unfortunately, Marc was under the weather at the beginning of December, so following his long tradition we will be sharing with you the 2009 All-American Selections winners.

Viola F1 ‘Rain Blue and Purple’
AAS® Cool Season
Bedding Plant Award Winner

This variety creates a spreading pool of cool blue colors. The plants are cold and heat tolerant resulting in flowers throughout the seasons. Viola ‘Rain Blue and Purple’ will bloom in the south during fall and winter; in the north in the spring and summer. There is always a season of bloom for ‘Rain Blue and Purple.’
Another appealing trait is that the one and a half inch blooms change color from purple and white to purple and blue as they mature. Few flowers change colors naturally and ‘Rain Blue and Purple’ is one of them. The plants spread 10 to 14 inches in the garden or container. The trailing habit is perfectly designed for hanging baskets or patio urns.
Viola cornuta’s common name is Johnny Jump-Up.
‘Rain Blue and Purple’ was bred by Tokita Seed Co. Ltd., Saitama, Japan. Seed and plants of this AAS® Winner will be available from your favorite retailer.

Eggplant F1 ‘Gretel’
AAS® Vegetable Award Winner

The earliest white eggplant perfectly describes ‘Gretel.’ Any gardener will agree, the earlier the better; since waiting for the best tasting, most nutritious food from our gardens is not easy. The glossy white mini-fruit are produced in clusters and can be harvested in 55 days depending upon growing conditions.
Like all eggplants, ‘Gretel’ will grow rapidly under warm temperatures, over 55 degrees day and night temperature. The pure white fruit are sweet with tender skin even if they mature beyond the ideal fruit size of 3 to 4 inches. This trait means gardeners have a longer timeline to harvest fruit.
‘Gretel’ plants are relatively small, about 3 feet wide and tall. Since the plant is small it is adaptable to the popular trend of growing edibles in containers. It is recommended to use a rather large container about 16 inches deep.
Solanum melongena’s common name is the Aubergine eggplant.
This AAS® Winner was bred by Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Oxnard, CA.

Melon F1 ‘Lambkin’
AAS® Vegetable Award Winner

The most important trait of this melon is the flavor. This is the reason to invest your time to grow ‘Lambkin’ in your garden. The oval shaped melon weighs between 2 and 4 pounds with a thin rind surrounding sweet, aromatic, white, juicy flesh.
Another advantage is the earliness. Most other gourmet melons of this type mature much later than the 65 to 75 days of ‘Lambkin.’ Because of the early harvest, the vigorous vines can produce more melons. This results in more melons to share with close friends.
It is classified as a Piel de Sapo melon a. k. a. Christmas type. The yellow melon skin with green mottling is unique and named, Piel de Sapo. As a Christmas melon, ‘Lambkin’ can be stored longer than other melons. They should be stored in a cool place such as a refrigerator.
Cucumins melo L.’s common name is Christmas melon.
‘Lambkin’ was bred by Known-You Seed Co. Ltd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Seed and plants of ‘Lambkin’ will be available in retail stores.

Squash F1 ‘Honey Bear’
AAS® Vegetable Award Winner

‘Honey Bear’ acorn squash was bred to be baked and served in the half shell. The honey in ‘Honey Bear’ refers to the sweet squash flavor when cooked.
In addition to flavor, there are three outstanding qualities; the compact plant, high yield, and tolerance to powdery mildew.
The bushy, compact plant will reach 2 to 3 feet tall and spread 4 to 5 feet without vines. The dark green acorn squash weighs about a pound, which is a perfect size for sharing between two people. The plant produces 3 to 5 fruit per bush. The yield is high due to the powdery mildew tolerance.
At the end of the season many acorn squash plants succumb to the mildew and fruit on the plant never matures. ‘Honey Bear’ continues to bear fruit throughout the growing season. From sowing seed in the garden until the harvest of the first squash will be about 100 days.
Curcurbita pepo L.’s common name is Acorn squash.
‘Honey Bear’ was bred at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

Happy Gardening!!