Many of us are still enjoying the vegetables that we’ve grown and harvested this summer, but plant growers and retailers are busy deciding what new varieties to offer in spring 2o17. Stokes Seeds, a 130-year-old Canadian family business, provides the seed for vegetables grown by Martin Farms Ltd. for Loblaw Companies stores and its President’s Choice Gigantico lineup of plants. Part of their process is to identify new seed varieties and grow them in trial gardens to ensure they perform in our climate and then, of course, compare how they taste to older varieties.
Garden writers are invited to help with the “research” process in late summer by tasting a dozen new varieties at the Stokes trial garden in St. Catharines, Ontario, and providing their always-candid opinions. This year, the group were especially impressed with UT 394R Tidy Treats cherry tomatoes and Flaming Flare peppers.
Tidy Treats plants produce red cherry tomatoes all season on compact plants that fit in small gardens and containers. The indeterminate plants mature in 55 days.
Because of interest from younger gardeners, the range of peppers continues to expand. Flaming Flare is a Fresno pepper ideal for chili sauces and stir-fries. It tastes sweeter than other Fresno peppers, and produces fruit up to four inches (10 cm) in 75 days.
There are lots of choices when it comes to food to grow in your garden, especially if you start with seed. This year, the team at Stokes made major changes to its seed catalogue, with larger photos, more growing information and even some recipes. Stokes sells vegetable and flower seeds to commercial growers and home gardeners. The catalogue is available at www.stokeseeds.com.