This year All-America Selections announces four national vegetable award winners. To see pictures of these and other great plants visit the All-America Selection website, www.all-americaselections.org.
'Just Sweet' pepper
Pepper "Just Sweet" is a small golden-yellow snacking pepper, that resembles a miniature bell pepper. Each fruit is 3 inches long, deliciously sweet, with nice thick walls. Many judges conduct consumer taste tests and reported back that this pepper won those tests, hands down. One judge commented “This is the one taste test that excited the testers – everyone agreed the sweet yellow fruits were delicious.”
Plants are vigorous and upright, reaching 3 feet in height. Place plants 12 inches apart in the garden. Expect to begin harvesting 65 to 75 days after transplanting. "Just Sweet" can be grown in the vegetable garden or in containers. It's resistant to tomato mosaic virus and available from Park Seed, http://parkseed.com.
Potato "Clancy" is unique, in that it’s the first seed-grown potato to become an AAS winner. Growing potatoes from seed makes it easier for gardeners to store seeds from year to year and prevents the introduction of diseases in the vegetable garden from seed potatoes. "Clancy" produces healthy dark green plants, 24 to 36 inches tall and wide, with blue flowers. Seed is available from J.W. Jung Seed, https://www.jungseed.com/.
"Clancy" potatoes are round to oblong and approximately 4 to 5 inches long. They develop a range of colors, with a pretty red or rose-blush exterior and creamy white to yellow interior. One judge commented, “Flesh color is whiter, and texture and flavor inside seem like a cross between a yellow-fleshed potato and a russet.” The potatoes are especially good for mashing or boiling due to their lighter texture.
Sow seeds just as you would tomatoes, ideally starting them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting outside. Delay transplanting until all danger of frost is past. Use a 9 to 12 inch spacing between plants in the garden. Mound soil up round the base of plants every few weeks to keep the developing tubers protected from the sun. "Clancy" can be grown in traditional ground beds but also works well in containers. Harvesting will begin 90 to 110 days after planting.
'Fire Fly' tomato
Tomato "Fire Fly" is a small yellow fresh-eating tomato, between currant and cherry tomatoes in size. Fruits are super sweet and about 1-inch across. One judge said, “By far the best tasting yellow cherry we have had in any of our trials.”
"Fire Fly" is an indeterminate tomato, meaning plants grow on long vine-like stems and benefit from staking or a support to hold them up off the ground. Vines reach 5 to 6 feet in height. Use a 12 to 16 inch spacing between plants in the garden. Plants are resistant to tomato mosaic virus, fusarium, verticillium and tomato cracking. Expect 80 days from transplant to the first harvest. Unfortunately, "Fire Fly" seed isn’t available yet, so we’ll have to wait another year to find it in seed catalogs.
'Red Torch' tomato
Tomato "Red Torch" produces small, 1.5-inch, oblong fruits suitable for salads and fresh eating, but they have a unique and fun coloration – red fruits striped with yellow markings. This would be a great tomato to grow with your kids and could spark a new interest in this healthy vegetable! Fruits have excellent flavor and a good texture for fresh eating.
"Red Torch" is an early producer and very prolific; expect over 100 fruits per plant! Plants are indeterminate, just like "Fire Fly." Use a 2-foot spacing between plants in the garden. Plan for 60 to 70 days from transplanting to the first harvest. Plants have excellent tolerance of heat and difficult growing sites. "Red Torch" also has good resistance to common tomato leaf diseases. One judge observed, “Delicious, long-standing in the garden (still producing late in September, even after we pulled some of the comparisons.” "Red Torch" is available from J.W. Jung Seed, https://www.jungseed.com/.