Best New Vegetable Seeds for 2017

Short on space for growing veggies? These new space-saving varieties for 2017 resist disease and taste great.

By Lynn Coulter

Just in time to plan your spring garden, here’s a sneak peek at some of the newest in space-saving veggies. Look for the following varieties online or at garden centers and nurseries. Edibles we’ve identified by breeder are coming onto the market and should be available in early 2017.

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Space saving purple okra

Candle Fire F1

Gardeners who crave fried okra can fire up the skillet for Candle Fire F1, from Known-You Seed, a variety that withstands disease even in hot, humid climates. This 2017 All-American Selection (AAS) winner scored well on tenderness, taste and texture. The bright-red pods are round, not ribbed, with red stems. Harvest in 60 days from sowing.

Castle Dome broccoli is a hybrid improvement on an old favorite, Packman. The plants stay under 2 feet tall and tolerate heat and cold, so you can extend your harvest. If you’re transplanting, cut the heads in about 50 days, but allow eight weeks for direct-sown seeds to mature. This Park Seed variety likes well-prepped soil amended with nitrogen, if needed. Neutralize highly alkaline or acidic soils.

German-bred Candysnax carrots

Candysnax carrots

German-bred Candysnax carrots, from Park Seed, grow 8 to 10 inches long and top most other carrots on the Brix sweetness scale. Ready in 65 days from sowing, they contain lots of healthy beta carotene. The plants perform even in tough conditions, resisting leaf spot, leaf blight, stem canker and root rot.

Grow Patio Pride peas along with cool-season flowers in containers, and plop the sweet, tender peas into a pot—or your mouth—40 days from planting. You can keep sowing them directly in the garden until the weather warms up; once it’s hot, they won’t thrive. The compact plants, bred by Terra Organics, grow up to 10 inches.

The winter squash Honeybaby F1, from Seeds by Design, another 2017 AAS winner, is great for limited spaces. The semi-bush vines grow 2 to 3 feet long and hold up to late-season powdery mildew, when other winter squash succumb. The sweet, nutty fruits are fine for baking, steaming or making into stews and soups. Wait until the soil hits 65° Fahrenheit before planting, and allow 90 to 100 days to maturity.

Even if bees are scarce in your area, the new Gherking F1 cucumber from PanAmerican Seed produces lots of 3- to 5-inch fruits without the help of pollinating insects. The plants are strongly resistant to scab and to cucumber mosaic virus 1. Harvest in 50 to 55 days from transplanting, eating the gherkins fresh or pickling them.

Small space saving watermelons

Mini Love F1 watermelon

Small-space growers should also make room for the Mini Love F1 watermelon, an Asian variety that bears up to six personal-sized fruits per plant from July to September, if you sow in March or April. Underneath the split-resistant rinds, the deep-red flesh is sweet and juicy. The breeder is HM Clause.

Tomato lovers will relish PanAmerican’s Stellar F1, thanks to its excellent resistance to late blight, Fusarium race 2 wilt and Verticillium wilt. For best results, trellis the plants, which grow 2 to 3 feet tall. The round, red fruits ripen in 70 to 75 days.