Check out Ox and Robin's new varieties for 2021!
1). Burgundy Okra - We don't think of okra growing in New England, but it does just fine here. A must for gumbo! These are beautiful, tall (4-5 foot) plants with wide green leaves, red stems and burgundy pods. The flowers that precede the pods are stunning and very large, beloved by butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. They can either be started 4-5 weeks early or sown directly after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has had a chance to warm up. By the way the feline okra salesman in the illustration below is Little Guy, who, weighing in at 20 pounds, is anything but!
Champion of England Peas - This is a super productive shelling pea. Harvest the pods when they are still green, but plump with peas inside. There are typically 10-12 seeds per pod. The vines grow tall, up to 10 feet, but don't worry, they'll grow up and over your trellis (our trellis was about 4.5 feet). The extra long vines just means you'll get more delicious peas per plant. This is a very old variety dating to the mid-1800's.
Purple de Milpa Tomatillo - These grow wild in Mexican cornfields and it's easy to see why, as they are both resilient and prolific. Even after being severely damaged by deer, these plants bounced back in our field, producing many bright green and dark purple tomatillos per plant. Beautiful fruits that make a very flavorful salsa or sauce, and look great in a bowl on the kitchen counter. Start these inside about 5-6 weeks before the danger of frost has passed. The plants require staking.
The next two tomatoes are both resistant to late and early blight, which can be a real problem in the Northeast. If you are wondering if it's too late to start them inside, no worries! Many gardeners, eager to get a jump on their gardens, start tomatoes too early. If you live in New England, you've got about another month to get your seeds and supplies. Read more about starting tomatoes here.
Lemon Drop Tomato - has a fantastic taste that really is lemony, with just the right amount of sweetness, a bit like a well-balanced, not-too-sweet lemonade. You may just find it difficult to actually get them inside as they are so easy to eat them out-of-hand in the garden.
Matt's Wild Cherry Tomato - Like the Purple de Milpa tomatillos, these tomatoes also grow wild in Mexico. They produce lots of very small tomatoes with a wonderful taste that is well balanced but leans on the sweeter side.