Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.391.1004.
Trialing for Excellence
After the completion of the 2012 trialing season, All-America Selections has announced its second batch of winners, rounding out the list of 2013 award winners. As a sign of the continuing edibles trend, three of the winners are from the vegetable category (even though two are classified botanically as fruits and one is debatably a fruit).
Each of these winners was trialed next to two or three other similar varieties currently on the market. AAS Judges grew each entry and the comparisons, then did a side-by-side analysis of growth habit, taste (if applicable), disease resistance and additional characteristics to determine if these were truly better than those already available to home gardeners. Only those entries with superior performance are granted the honor of an AAS award.
Today's consumers are much more discriminating and need a good reason to sort through the many choices presented at retail. As a matter of fact, you too probably need some assistance in sifting through the many new and older varieties available to you.
So while deciding which varieties to add to your production for the 2013 season, you might want to give these outstanding performers consideration.
Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet' (American Takii)
This variety is compact in habit and well suited for both landscape and container use. It prefers warm and humid conditions. 'South Pacific Scarlet' is more vigorous and uniform, and has more basal branching than canna 'Tropical Red'.
Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' (Kieft Seed)
This first-year flowering echinacea produces a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange hues to lighter yellows, creams and white. AAS judges and trial garden visitors raved about the attractiveness of the flowers and range of colors while appreciating the sturdiness and low water needs.
Geranium 'Pinto Premium White to Rose' (Syngenta Flowers)
This addition to the Pinto series boasts unique flower coloration and long-lasting 5-inch blooms. Petals start out white and deepen to rose-pink as flowers mature, giving an attractive bicolor effect.
Melon 'Melemon' (Known-You Seed Co.)
The earliness, high yield on strong plants and superior taste all contributed to this melon becoming an AAS winner. Judges related the taste of this melon to honeydew, but with a surprising tanginess. Each personal-sized fruit has refreshing crisp flesh.
Tomato 'Jasper' (Johnny's Selected Seeds)
Judges liked the texture and sweetness of this tomato as well as the uniformity of the fruits that grow on vigorous, healthy plants. 'Jasper' is a high-yielding variety with fruits that stay on the vine and then hold well after ripening both on the vine and post harvest.
Watermelon 'Harvest Moon' (Seeds By Design)
This is the first ever hybrid, triploid seedless watermelon to win an AAS award. Similar to the popular heirloom variety, 'Moon and Stars', 'Harvest Moon' is an improvement in that it features healthy, shorter vines that produce medium-sized fruits and sweet, crisp pinkish-red flesh.
To learn more about the AAS winners, go to www.all-americaselections.org.
Have you gotten a chance to trial any of the above varieties? Will you be adding any of them to your 2013 production? Send me your thoughts at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.
In related news, All-America Selections has just announced details for its 2013 Summer Summit. After an eight-year absence, AAS is returning to Niagara Peninsula for its annual event. This year's Summit will take place August 12 to 14, 2013, with The Waterfront Hotel in Burlington serving as the host hotel.
This event is an opportunity for breeders, brokers/distributors, mail order seed companies, seed packet companies, growers, retailers, AAS display gardens, AAS trial judges, garden writers and trade media to network and learn more about recent AAS winners and varieties that are currently being trialed.
For more information about the All-America Selections Summer Summit, e-mail the AAS office at firstname.lastname@example.org.