Vegetable Gardening

All-America Selections names 2016 winners.

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It’s so much fun flipping through the pages of seed catalogs dreaming of the possibilities but much more difficult to put pen to order form. How does one choose among all those varieties? Vegetables are shown in mouth-watering photographs and each and every description makes tummies rumble.

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Gardeners are lucky to have an unbiased organization like All-America Selections (AAS) to introduce us to outstanding new plant varieties. AAS judges visit more than 60 trial gardens all across the country rating plants on their garden performance. Only the very best win their esteemed awards.

Choosing between varieties and filling out those order forms gets a lot easier when plants have the AAS designation. Beginners and experienced gardeners alike are practically guaranteed success when they choose an All-America Selection.

A complete list of winners can be found on their website. Here are the newest vegetables added to the list – the 2016 national award winners. (All photographs in this post are from the AAS website.)

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Katarina Cabbage

Perfect for containers, it has a smaller head. Katarina matures a couple weeks earlier and tastes sweeter than other varieties.

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Prizm Kale

Very short stalks hold bright green foliage with frilly edges. Harvest regularly and Prizm kale provides a continuous supply of leaves for favorite recipes.

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Konan Kohlrabi

Kohlrabies are my favorite vegetables so I am particularly excited that Konan won an AAS Award. They grow to six inches across and are ideal for slicing. I prefer to eat them like apples!

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Red Kingdom Japanese Mustard

The first Japanese mustard to win an AAS award, its deep reddish purple foliage is beautiful in containers as an edible ornamental. It does not bolt as quickly as other varieties and produces lots of leaves with a mild taste.

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Cornito Giallo Pepper

This is yellow sweet pepper that produces thin, long fruit very early. Eat them fresh or enjoy them grilled, fried or roasted all summer long.

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Escamillo Pepper

Just a bit larger than Cornito Giallo Pepper, Escamillo is also a yellow sweet pepper that produces fruit early. It was chosen as an AAS winner for its taste fresh or cooked, its compact size, and outstanding yield.

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Pepitas Pumpkin

If you love roasting and eating pumpkin seeds, this is the variety for you. The seeds are hull-less! The medium-sized pumpkins are orange with green splotches – ideal for fall décor.

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Candyland Red Tomato

The only currant-type tomato to win an AAS award, it produces dark red, sweet fruit smaller than typical cherry tomatoes and are perfect for snacking.

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Chef’s Choice Green Tomato

Beautiful green tomatoes overlaid with yellow are uniquely beautiful and delicious. Chef’s Choice Green tomato plants are disease free and have a well-mannered growth habit.

These are just the national winners. There are also regional winners for sections of the country: Northeast, Southeast, Heartland, Great Lakes, Mountain/Southwest and West/Northwest. Check out their website to see these.

Thanks All-America Selections for being a great resource for gardeners. Garden with me!

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