We are excited to have Tracy Lee from Sakata Seeds back at Hoss HQ. With over 25 years of experience in the seed industry, Tracey has a wealth of knowledge of seed varieties of which she and Greg will discuss tonight!
Insights on Varieties for Fall Planting:
Tracy says ” If you are hesitant at first, once you know what variety to purchase and what to look for then you will want to continue to grow broccoli. Broccoli is a very popular and big commercial crop, if you are growing or eating broccoli, there is a 75% chance it came from Sakata Seeds.
“Green Magic Broccoli is one of the best varieties to start with if you are a beginner or wanting to have great success in your harvesting. This variety (unlike many varieties) isn’t “too” specific, meaning it can be grown almost anywhere and in any climate. It is wildly adapted. It will be your best bet.”, Tracy says.
“Imperial Broccoli has a really strong root system and is one of the best as far as heat tolerance.”, Tracy states. Greg suggests that if you are a beginner gardener or just new to growing broccoli, Imperial is the way to go.
Cauliflower gets a bad reputation, it is one of the least grown crops in the home garden. “It can be a little more finicky than a lot of the other cold crops, it is a little more skeptical to heat damage and will bolt as soon as it gets warm. Frost does not improve cauliflower, you want to give it plenty of time to be able to develop ahead before your first frost.”, Tracy says.
To protect the color of your cauliflower, you can take a rubber band and pull the leaves up around the head when the head is about 3-4″, the leaves will shade the head and protect the color of the head.
Twister Cauliflower has a bright white head and how it got its name is from the leaves being able to fold up on its own and protect the head without having to rubber band those leaves yourself. It is also a variety that is only available to the home gardener that will do that. A “self-wrapper” variety.
Collards aren’t picky when it comes to the weather, they are way more adaptable than other plants. Flash collards mature early, you can continue to cut back or “crop” this variety. “You will get a lot nicer, bigger, more uniform leaves with flash collards.”, Tracy says.
A fun fact on Flash Collard, this variety has become extremely popular for growing baby greens and microgreens indoors.
Kale is known as the “superfood.” Interestingly, Kale is the most cold-hardy plant. It can tolerate temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit and can withstand snow. Normally, Kale takes about 3 months to mature. The top 3 most popular varieties are Red Russian Kale, Lacinato Kale, and Blue Ridge Kale.
“Cabbage, in general, will take freezing temperatures but it can affect the texture of the cabbage head.”, Tracy says. The Bobcat Cabbage variety is considered a “fresh market” cabbage because it doesn’t have that stronger, sharper, or “old-fashion” cabbage taste but it is on the sweeter side. This variety has an extremely dense head. If you get a lot of rain, cabbage heads will split.
China Star is Chinese cabbage. The best way to describe it to someone who has never tried it is “tastes like cabbage, feels like lettuce”. It has the texture and the look of crisp, romaine lettuce.
Joi Choi Chinese Cabbage is a Pok Choi, closely related to the China Star. This variety is very popular to grow and continuously cut the leaves early for salads. A very easy variety to grow and it has since become Sakata’s #1 Pok Choi variety to grow and you will want to direct seed it.
Very popular in the mid-west, Kohlrabi (also known as German Turnip), with a taste very similar to a water chestnut. Kohlrabi varieties normally have quick maturity dates. Quickstar Kholrabi is 35 days to maturity and Konan Kholrabi is 45 days to maturity. There is still time to plant these varieties in many zones before the first frost date.
Beets prefer a higher PH (6-9 PH) level in the soil. If you want to grow a regular, bigger beet you will need to thin out. Merlin Beet is one, if not the most, sweetest beet varieties. You can eat them raw. Tracy says, “One of my most favorite things to do is mix Merlin and Touchstone Gold Beet together, the flavors are a little different but go well together.”
Radishes are one of the first things you would want to plant with your kids if you are teaching them how to garden. They are so easy to grow and very quick in germination and maturity dates. The Watermelon Radish will get bigger than a normal, standard variety but will also have a sweeter, milder taste than most peppery varieties. Watermelon Radish is a good one to for those who aren’t a big fan of the typical radish.
Exciting Things From Hoss Tools
We are currently preselling Strawberry Plugs from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi. We also have German White Garlic cloves in which we’ve never provided to our customers in the past, we will, of course, have Elephant Garlic and our 3 varieties of shallots. Another exciting plant we will provide this fall will be 3 varieties of onion bulbs.