Washington State University Extension

Garden Tips


written by
Marianne C. Ophardt
WSU Extension Faculty
for the Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA
published 3/14/14

Advertisers often use the words “new, improved, or better” to tempt consumers. Plant marketers are no different. They want us to buy new varieties developed by plant breeders and seed companies. It is a good approach since most of the gardeners that I know like to try something different in their gardens every year. It is part of what makes gardening so much fun. Here are some new veggie and herb varieties you might want to know about.

Burpee ( has an exclusive new basil introduction,


that has me excited. Basil is my favorite herb but by the middle of the season it starts to flower. I then work endlessly to keep the flowers pinched off.


is touted as a basil that reaches a height of 18 to 20 inches and is very productive, flavorful, fragrant. The great thing about


is that it never flowers and it keeps producing in hot weather.

Mascotte (www.parkseed) is a new bush bean variety that is so good it has been honored with the All America Selection award for 2014, the first bean since 1991 to receive that honor. What makes this bush bean so great? First, it is a compact variety that makes it ideal for the trend towards gardening with less space in raised beds and containers. The plants produce plenty of long slender pods above the leaves, making harvesting easy. The beans are crunchy with a great taste.

Fans of beets (I

m not.) will want to know that there are two new beets to pique their interest. One is a red

Baby Beat

from Johnny

s Selected Seeds ( The National Garden Bureau says that

Baby Beat

is a true baby or mini beet that

s nicely rounded with smooth skin. The beet tops are small and attractive which could make them a nice addition to an edible landscape or a container garden. The other new beet is


( with sweet, mild, 2-inch round fruit. The flesh is a bright yellow and the skin is a dark golden color. The young tops are tender and sweet.

I do not eat a lot of eggplant, but after eating some spicy baba ghanoush (sort of like humus made from grilled eggplant) last year, I

ll probably eat more this year. A new All American Selection is

Eggplant Patio Baby F1

( As its name implies, it is a compact eggplant that will work well in containers. The plants are highly productive and yields 2 to 3-inch, deep purple, egg-shaped fruit. Plus, it is a “friendly” eggplant that does not have thorns on its leaves or at the top of the fruit.

I grow most of my veggies in containers, so I am always watching for space-saving bush varieties of squash, melons, and cukes. While not brand new, here are a few varieties that space conscious gardeners may want to know about. From Renee

s Garden Seeds ( comes

Bush Slicer

, a dwarf bush cucumber with 6 to 8 inch fruit,


a compact zucchini, and two bush winter squash.


a bush yellow crookneck squash comes from Burpee.

You may find some of the varieties that I have mentioned on seed racks at your locak garden stores along with other interesting varieties that may entice you or you can order them on-line from the companies noted. the weather is warming so get your seed as soon as possible and don

t forget to try something new.

Published: 3/14/2014 10:39 AM

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