Now that the California Spring Trials are over, I'll be rummaging through my notes and thousands of photos and reading through piles of catalogs over the next few months so I can share with you all the new and exciting things breeders and suppliers are bringing to the market in the next year.
Team GPN picked up on tons of trends in the market, lots of hot new colors, and various ways to package your product. So be on the lookout for my next few newsletters, as well the the June and July issues of GPN for extended coverage of the California Spring Trials. Also, don't forget to check out our Flickr page  to see some of the photos we snapped along the way.
Today, I'd like to focus on edibles. You've been hearing it everywhere from everyone. And edibles are not going anywhere. More and more consumers are adding vegetables, herbs and fruits to their gardens, and I don't think that trend will fade anytime soon. Especially with young gardeners, who have smaller gardening spaces and are concerned with how their edibles are grown. Organics is a huge category, and many young gardeners prefer picking fresh plants right from their backyard or front porch.
And to respond to this growing trend, breeders are adding tons of new edibles to accompany their flowering collections. Here are just some of the fruits and veggies I saw along the coast last month...
Ecke Ranch is new to the edibles market, launching a new line this year at Spring Trials. This new program is still in its infancy so more products and an official catalog are yet to come. But judging by the creative displays and the healthy plants we saw at the trials, they've got some big things coming! I loved their merchandising displays; they had that "farmers market" feel.
At the Ball Horticultural Co. stop, we're always used to seeing all the delicious edibles part of the Burpee Home Garden line. But this year, PanAmerican Seed showed off new vegetable varieties as well. Here's tomato 'Topsy Tom', which was bred specifically to be used in these upside down planters.
Now that Sakata has fully launched it's Home Grown edibles line and now has a catalog available, the company displayed various ways their varieties could be put to use at home and in the garden center. Below is an example of "square foot gardening." It's easy for beginners, and makes plant spacing simple and straightforward.
Speaking of displays, the folks at Syngenta did a terrific job with their retail-ready displays, including this eye-catching veggie display. Although Sygenta isn't new to the edibles market, the company is now offering its vegetable varieties through its flower channel. These professional-grade varieties, which used to only be available to farmers, will now be available to home gardeners!
That's all for now. But stay tuned for more trends from the trials!
Also, this just in: The dates for the 2013 and 2014 California Spring Trials have been announced! Mark your calendars for April 6 to 11, 2013, and April 5 to 10, 2014!