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Sarah Browning: 2021 All-America Selection vegetable winners
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Sarah Browning: 2021 All-America Selection vegetable winners

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As climate change drives drought, and the rising global population drives food demand, the world's food security is ever more precarious. But struggling farmers may find relief from the soaring temperatures from the sun itself--and the technology that harnesses its power. HuffPost reports students at the University of Arizona noticed that vegetables grown under the cover of solar panels flourished during the hottest summer on record. The observation provided food for thought for Prof. Greg Barron-Gafford’s research in 'agrivoltaics': growing food and generating solar energy on the same land. The concept could fulfill the need for land on which to build new solar installations while also helping farmers stay afloat. It’s a case where one plus one could equal more than two. Greg Barron-Gafford Associate Professor, University of Arizona’s School of Geography, Development and Environment

For 2021, All-America Selections announces three vegetable award winners – Crème Brulee echalion, Pot-apeno pepper and Goldilocks squash.

To see pictures of these and other great plants visit the All-America Selection website,

 Echalion Crème Brulee -- An echalion, also called a banana shallot, differs from standard shallots by having an elongated 4-5” bulb, which is easy to peel and cut. Crème Brulee has a bright coppery pink outer skin and pretty rosy-purple interior with thick rings. The sweet tender bulbs are perfect for caramelizing and have a mild shallot-like flavor when eaten raw.

Scallions and shallots are very closely related, both members of the allium family. Scallions are biennials and shallots are perennials, winterhardy in Zones 2-9, but both are usually treated as annuals in home gardens.

Shallots are grown from seed, divisions or small bulbs harvested the previous year. Crème Brulee is available as seed and is easy to grow in the home garden. Choose a full sun location with rich, well-drained soil. Provide consistent moisture and eliminate weed competition for the best growth.

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Crème Brulee can be grown in containers, raised beds or traditional gardens. Seed plants 2 inches apart in rows or, for the most efficient garden usage, create wide row plantings with plants 2 inches apart in all directions. Plants reach 24-36 inches in height and are ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn brown and fall over. 

Pepper Pot-a-peno – This fun new jalapeno cultivar has a compact growth habit, making it perfect for containers or even hanging baskets. Plants reach 12-15 inches in height and 12-18 inches in width. They form a dense and bushy mounded form. This cultivar is early to mature, meaning you’ll have peppers to harvest sooner than other jalapeno cultivars.

The traditional jalapeno fruits, 3-4 inches in length, can be harvested either green or allowed to mature to red. Expect 35-50 fruits per plant, each with a mild heat. Pot-a-peno is available as seed, so order yours soon and start this summer’s transplants right away. 

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Squash Goldilocks – This new acorn squash isn’t the traditional dark green you would expect, instead its skin is bright orange. Fruits can double as fall ornamentals, almost like miniature pumpkins, as well as great edibles with a rich nutty flavor. Judges really loved the flavor! Each fruit is about 4 inches by 4 inches or one pound in weight. Expect about 10 fruits per plant.

 As a National AAS winner, Goldilocks performed well across the national in summer trial gardens, producing vigorous plants, with resistance to powdery mildew. Plants are bushy and compact; allow about 2 feet by 6 feet for each.

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Sarah Browning is an extension educator with Nebraska Extension. To ask a question or reach her, call 402-441-7180 or write to her at or 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln, NE 68528.



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