There are so many new plants for 2022! To simplify things, we’ve highlighted our favorites for you—and it’s an all-vegetable menu! Our short list includes luscious lettuces that are heat tolerant, a richly flavored striped tomato, a white-fruited eggplant, and an upright “tower” basil for small spaces and pots. See list of picks—and pics!
The National Garden Bureau has declared 2022 as the Year of the Salad Greens and since I’m a sucker for lettuce there are several new ones to try.
- ‘Tropicana’ is a bright green, ruffled, leaf lettuce that has very high heat tolerance. Maybe it will last until the tomatoes are ripe so we can have BLTs! Find the seeds at Pinetree.
Look at all that luscious ‘Bauer’ lettuce! Photo courtesy of AAS.
- ‘Bauer’ is an oakleaf lettuce that has crunchy, dark green leaves, substantial enough to stand up to any dressing. Plants are compact - 4” high and 8” wide - and can be grown in the ground or in a container or windowbox. In 58 days from seed you can start cutting leaves to use or let them grow and harvest entire heads. This is a 2022 All America Selections (AAS) winner and worth a try.
‘Everleaf Emerald Towers’ basil lives up to its name! Photo courtesy of Pinetree.
- How about some basil with your salad? ‘Everleaf Emerald Towers’ is a tall, upright form of Genovese basil that is very slow to bolt so you don’t have to constantly pinch off flowers to keep it growing when the weather gets hot. If you prefer the flavor of Thai basil there is an ‘Everleaf Thai Towers’ as well. Even though the plants can get to be 3’ tall - that’s if you don’t keep cutting them - they are great to grow in a container handy to the kitchen door. Both Pinetree and Johnny’s have the seeds.
I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Tomato ‘Purple Zebra’. Photo courtesy of AAS.
- What’s a salad without tomatoes? ‘Purple Zebra’ is a new twist on an old classic. The dark purpley-red skin is striped with green but the richly flavored flesh inside is dark red through and through. Round fruits are about 3”-5” across, weigh about 3-4 ounces and are ready for picking in about 80 days after transplanting. The heavy yielding plants are very disease resistant and can be grown in a 5 gallon container or in the ground. Another 2022 AAS winner!
- Don’t be surprised to see old favorite tomatoes being re-introduced as new plants after a bit of tinkering has added extra disease resistance, earlier ripening, or higher yields. ‘Lemon Boy Plus’, ‘Celebrity Plus’, ‘Big Beef Plus’, and ‘Better Boy Plus’ are reworked versions of some classics. Bonnie Plants Heirloom Marriage series crossed ‘Costoluto Genovese’ with ‘Brandywine’ to make ‘Genuwine’ and bred ‘Cherokee Carbon’ which is a more purple version of its parents.
What lovely purple peppers! ‘Dragonfly will be a big hit this summer! Photo courtesy of AAS.
- On to peppers. ‘Dragonfly’ is a blocky, thick-walled purple bell pepper. The prolific plants are 2-3 feet tall and wide, mature in 75 days, and produce up to 40 sweet peppers each! The colors progress from green to dark purple to red as they ripen but when cut they are bright green inside. A 2022 AAS winner.
Hot pepper ‘Buffy’ is ornamental as well as edible…if you can take the heat! Photo courtesy of AAS.
- If you prefer hot to sweet, another winner from AAS is ‘Buffy’ a hybrid hot pepper with 1 1/2 inch long, thick walled, green tapered fruits that ripen to red in about 70 days. The 28” tall plants bear heavily - over 200 fruits each - so they will need some support. These little gems are wicked hot - 500,000 Scoville units - putting them in the habanero range so use caution when handling them!
These little squashes are delicious stuffed and baked. Photo courtesy of Pinetree.
- Enough of the salad. On to the main course. How about a Korean squash called ‘Teot Bat Put’ that can be harvested in 65 days at 3-4 inches long and eaten as a summer squash or left to ripen into a winter keeper. Also called avocado squash for its shape, it is a Cucurbita moschata and is resistant to the dreaded squash vine borer. Find seeds at Kitazawa or Pinetree.
- If borers are not a problem in your garden or you prefer yellow squash try ‘Chiffon’ yellow zucchini or buttery ‘Smooth Criminal’ summer squash. Both start fruiting in about 45 days after planting and will keep you picking squash all summer long.
Quite an impressive yield of pure white eggplants hanging like icicles. Photo courtesy of AAS.
- Eggplant fans take note. ‘Icicle’ bears 7 inch long skinny pure white fruits. They have few seeds and good texture and mild flavor. Strong plants have few spines, are 4 feet tall and will need some staking when they are loaded with fruit. Ready for picking in only 55 days, they will pair well with your long purple ‘Ping Tung’ eggplants to make some meals that will look as good as they taste. Another AAS winner for 2022.
- That brings us to dessert and let’s end with a fruit! This year I might switch from my usual ‘Halona’ cantaloupe to ‘Sugar Rush’. The 4 pound melons mature in 45 days and are very sweet and the plants are more resistant to powdery mildew and fusarium wilt, which sometimes does my melon plants in long before they have any fruit. Find untreated seeds at Territorial.
Have fun planning your 2022 garden. Be sure to order your seeds soon. Many items are already back-ordered or out of stock.
See tips on choosing seeds as well as a list of free seed catalogs.