Just when you think there is nothing new under the Sun, along come the seed catalogs to tempt us with the latest varieties to grow in our gardens. Here’s a short list of the new and notable vegetable seeds to look for—from a fingerling tomato that’s perfect for dipping to a snack-size sweet pepper!
There are so many new plants for 2023 that I’m going to focus on vegetable plants and do a separate post on flowers!
New Tomato Seeds to Look For
Tomatoes grown in home gardens can’t be beat for flavor!
- ‘Sun Dipper’ is a quirky, 2 to 3 inch long, finger-shaped orange tomato, much easier for dipping than a round cherry. Add it to your crudité platters this summer for its color and luscious flavor. The indeterminate plants will grow to 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide so they will need tall trellising. They will start bearing fruit 60 to 65 days after transplanting and continue to crank out these tasty little fruits until frost. Dips are a fun way to get kids to eat their vegetables and they will love this little gem! Seeds are widely available.
- ‘BlushingStar’ tomato is a hybrid pink beefsteak with the flavor of an heirloom. The tall indeterminate plants are bred to resist late blight and septoria leaf spot and they bear meaty, 12 to 16 ounce fruits 70 days after transplanting. Pinetree has the seeds. If you grow it this year and like it, look for its sister ‘BrightStar’, a large-fruited red beefsteak. It has the same hybrid disease resistance as its sister and is due out in 2024.
- If you loved the sweet earthy flavor of ‘Chocolate Stripes’ tomatoes try the new ‘Chocolate Stripes Improved’ from Fedco Seeds. The dark red and green striped fruits are larger and the indeterminate plants are more disease resistant and vigorous. They start to bear in 75 days from transplanting.
Need basil to go with your tomatoes but diseases are getting in the way?
- ‘Prospera Red’ Basil is the first purple basil with resistance to downy mildew and Fusarium! This basil variety joins the green Genovese and large leaf Italian basil in the disease-resistant Prospera series. All are downy mildew and fusarium wilt resistant. If purple basil is your thing, give ‘Prospera Red’ from Johnny’s Selected Seeds a try. It holds its color well, grows 18 to 24 inches tall, and is ready to start harvesting in 74 days.
Pick a New Pepper To Try!
Peppers are generally so easy to grow and there are some fantastic new varieties to check out!
- This new jalapeno pepper is a 2023 All-America Selections winner and will make a better summer salsa! Each ‘San Joaquin’ plant from Bejo Seeds bears around 50 mildly hot, 4-inch long fruits about 60 days after transplanting. Unlike some varieties of jalapenos it has thick walls that resist cracking. The 30-inch tall plants will happily grow on the patio in a 5-gallon container. Since they are determinate plants the fruits ripen all at once so they are perfect for canning a big batch of salsa or pickling. Seeds should be available soon!
If sweet bell peppers are more to your liking, Pan American Seeds two varieties that look fun to try.
- ‘Prism’ is a “midi” – at 2 ½ inches by 2 ½ inches they are halfway between a mini pepper and a regular-sized one. Ready to pick green 60 to 65 days after transplanting, they can stay on the plant for another 2 weeks as they ripen from orange to red, giving you a mix of colors to choose from. The plants are 20-30 inches tall and bear heavily so give them some support to hold all that weight. Seeds can be found at Harris and Territorial.
- ‘Trailblazer’ is a large yellow bell weighing in at 8-9 ounces. The thick-walled, 4 inch blocky fruits have 3 to 4 lobes making them great for stuffing. The plants are 20 to 30 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide and can be grown in a large container. They start to bear 70 days from transplanting. Find the seeds at Seeds ‘N Such.
A Crispy Cucumber
Who doesn’t love a crispy cuke? Here’s a brand-new mini cuke that you can also grow indoors.
- ‘Quick Snack’ cocktail cucumber is part of Territorial’s Kitchen Mini Collection of plants that can be grown on your windowsill. They start producing thin-skinned, 2 to 3 inch long cukes 40 days after transplanting, no pollinator needed!
- The ‘Commonwealth’ cucumber is a pickler bred in the Southeast where disease problems often ravage the cucumber crop. These plants resist downy mildew and bacterial wilt and start to bear in 52 days. Find the seeds at Fedco.
Climbing Zucchini to Grow Up!
Want to grow zucchini but have limited space? Look up!
- ‘Incredible Escalator’ climbing zucchini from Renee’s Garden Seeds is perfect for training to grow up a fence or trellis. The 7-foot long vines can be tied to vertical supports or threaded through wide mesh fencing and encouraged to keep growing upward. The fruits are clean and easy to find, and ready to pick 58 days from planting.
Finally, Try a Kabocha Squash
Kabocha is a round squash with a delicious, unique flavor—a sort of cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato.
- ‘Sweet Jade’ kabocha squash is a 2023 AAS winner from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, the single serving size squashes weigh about 1 to 2 pounds each. Ready to pick in 95 days from seed, they have excellent sweet flavor and store well.
This is just a sampling of the awesome new varieties available. If your New Year’s resolutions included healthier eating, add them to your gardening wish-list for 2023.
Have fun planning your 2023 garden. Be sure to order your seeds soon as popular items get back-ordered or out of stock. See a list of free seed catalogs and web sites.