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Vegetable Virtue

Vegetable Virtue

‘Sweeter Yet’ Cucumber

The search for the perfect cucumber is one step closer to completion with the introduction of ‘Sweeter Yet.’ This new variety garden cucumber has all the great characteristics of the Long English types, which are normally confined to greenhouses. ‘Sweeter Yet’ is very sweet and juicy with no bitter aftertaste, plus it’s burpless and thin- skinned, so you don’t have to peel it. It’s an excellent performer, with good disease resistance and it’s suited to trellising and can, therefore, be grown in a container.

Tip

Cucumbers are heat-loving vegetables—grow them in the hottest spot in your yard.

‘Rapid Star’ Kohlrabi

Everyone was surprised when Jim harvested this massive ‘Rapid Star’ kohlrabi last summer. He took it to the Hole’s lunchroom and served it up like watermelon, slicing generous portions for over a dozen people.

‘Rapid Star’ has a very sweet, juicy taste, with tender green flesh. Of course, one shouldn’t overindulge—Hole’s graphic designer Greg Brown did so and paid the price. “I was burping all afternoon, and all I could taste was kohlrabi!”

Tips

  • Seed kohlrabi outdoors from early spring to midsummer. Don’t be afraid to plant early; the seedlings can survive a late frost.

  • Kohlrabi is easy to grow and has a very unusual appearance, making it a great candidate for children’s gardens.

  • Kohlrabi is delicious when eaten raw with a vegetable dip or cooked in a stir-fry.

"Amaizing" Corn Varieties

Corn has long been a popular vegetable and all the more so when freshly harvested. The taste will far surpass anything you'll find in a grocery store! 

As you may already know, corn does best in warm climates and soil. But with a few precautions, growing corn in Alberta can be well worth it.

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Corn needs be planted in blocks of 3-4 rows instead of in a single long row, with each plant at least 24" apart. This encourages better corn pollination, because each plant will have at least three neighbors from which it can catch and retain pollen. The more pollen available, the greater the number of kernels on each ear.

Corn is also a heavy feeder - particularly of nitrogen - and may require several side-dressings of fertilizer for best yields.

If you follow these simple rules, you're sure to get a great crop. All there is left to do is decide which variety of corn you'd like to grow! Here are a few suggestions you might enjoy:

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Peaches & Cream Corn - A perfect blend of luscious, white and yellow kernels that produce two different flavours in every bite! 

Corn on the cob is one of the best, and most highly anticipated summer treats, and is great for grilling with the husks left on. Home-grown corn has amazing flavour and sweetness, so much better than what you find in the grocery stores. This sugary enhanced  hybrid holds its sweet flavor longer after picking.

Peaches and Cream corn produces 20cm long ears with 14 delicious rows of sugar-sweet kernels; an excellent variety for the home garden!


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White Corn - Sugar Pearl - The sweetest, prettiest white corn in the garden—and it arrives super early!

Sugar Pearl's fast-growing, vigorous stalks grow just 5 to 5-1/2 feet tall, producing delicious ears of pearly white sweet kernels with that delicate, meltingly tender flavour that characterizes really delicious white corn.

This trouble-free and reliable variety is ideal for short or early season growing, ripening succulent ears before most other white varieties.


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Sweet Corn - Kandy Korn - A sweet corn so delicious it's often requested by name!

Kandy Korn is outstanding not only for its flavour but also for its long, late harvest. It has 16-20 rows of delectable, sweet, golden kernels, and can be harvested just 89 days after planting.

This popular variety grows on tall, vigorous stalks, with plump ears that are fantastic for eating fresh, or freezing and canning.


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Corn - Luscious - If you like your corn sweet, Luscious really lives up to it's name.

With a good balance of sugars and corn taste, the attractive blunt 17-20cm long ears are just what you want in an early mid-season bicolour.

 Luscious is easy to grow, too, with good cold-soil emergence and early vigor.


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Popcorn - Robust - When you think of eating healthy, popcorn may not be the first food that comes to mind. But this dent corn relative is one of the best all-around snack foods around, providing almost as much protein, iron and calcium as beef!

A cup of popped, un-buttered popcorn contains fewer calories than half a medium-sized grapefruit. Popcorn, a whole grain, has as much fiber as Bran Flakes or whole wheat toast. Who knew!

 With Robust, you'll enjoy easy-to-digest, hull-less eating quality of crisp, tender popcorn that has a larger popping volume than old open-pollinated varieties.

 

 

 

 

 

Things are Warming Up... with Hot and Sweet Peppers!

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Last year, I filled up a Big Bag Bed with 9 different pepper varieties ranging from "Golden Calwonder" (which is a delicious, orange-coloured, bell pepper great for stuffing) to "Red Savina"—the world's hottest habanero pepper.
 
It was the first year I tried the Big Bag Bed, which is a large, round, fabric container that is great for growing plants during the summer. It is also easy to fold up and store for winter. The peppers grew beautifully in the BBB and I had wonderful peppers for fresh eating and cooking during summer and well into the fall.

One of my favorite varieties was called "Red Cherry Sweet." It produced gorgeous, deep-red, 4 cm wide fruit that had a spicy-hot flavour but not so hot that I needed to stick my mouth under the kitchen faucet and pour cold water into my mouth.
 

If you love peppers, and want to start you own indoors, early February is the time to kick things into gear. High quality potting soil, great seed varieties and some grow lights (currently on sale, at 22-24% off regular prices) are the essentials for growing the most vigorous seedlings that will get off to a great start in your garden.

By the way—and this is from personal experience—only plant super spicy peppers like "Red Savina" if you plan on using it sparingly in certain spicy dishes, or perhaps if you have a predilection for masochism!

~Jim Hole

p.s. Our 2015 seed list is now online (click here to view.. we are still adding a handful of seeds to the list from Pacific Northwest Seeds). Come in and get your seeds soon, before they sell out!

You can also phone 780 419 6800 extension 3 to place your mail order. Phone lines are open from 9:00AM-4:30PM MST.