One of my year-end rituals is to start perusing seed catalogs. I love sitting by a roaring fire with tea and cookies while looking for new vegetable varieties. Read on or listen to the podcast to hear what I've found so far.
I'm always looking for different and better greens. 'Ezbruke' is a mini Romaine with dark red leaves outside and green leaves inside. Kales are always a favorite and I love their hardiness. 'Dazzling Blue' is a new Lacinata variety that has better cold-tolerance than others. And 'Red Dragon' is a new hybrid Chinese cabbage with red leaves, inside and out.
If you've struggled with disease on your cucumbers, 'Max Pack,' is loaded with disease resistance. 'Mad Hatter' is an unusual hot pepper with a sweet, citrus-like taste that gets hotter near the center. 'Roulette' is a habanero pepper with no heat but with a citrus flavor instead.
If you love 'Yellow Pear' tomatoes, try the 'Chocolate Pear' variety. It has reddish-brown skin with a classic pear-tomato shape. 'Sugar Magnolia' is a new snap pea with unusual purple pods and green peas. It makes a nice addition to your edible landscape. And for popcorn fans, check out 'Firecracker' with its multi-colored ears that pop to a pinkish-white color.
Now for this week's tip: it sure is cold out there, but as long as perennial flowers and herbs are covered in the snow, they shouldn't sustain damage. If exposed, throw some mulch over them to protect the roots.