You know what they say, we eat with our eyes first. So, let’s talk about some foods that please our eyes and palate that are new this year.
Fiesta Blend radish includes popular varieties Hailstone, Scarlet Globe, Sparkler, Purple Plum and Golden Helios all in one seed packet (directgardening.com, farmerseed.com). Sow seeds in a sunny spot or a pot around April 1 and harvest Fiesta Blend in 27 to 35 days.
Black Nebula carrot is deep purple, through and through, a color it holds even when cooked. The carrots get about 9 inches long. When the plants go to seed, called bolting, the flowers and stems are purple, and can be cut for indoor arrangements. Rainbow Blend carrot has five gourmet baby varieties: Atomic Red, Bambino, Cosmic Purple, Lunar White and Solar Yellow. They can be harvested in 60 days as baby carrots in the 6 to 8 inch long range. If grown for 75 days, carrots will be 8 to 11 inches long. Sow carrots in a sunny place in early May.
Sweet Valentine lettuce’s leaves are apple green at the base with the top half red on both sides of the leaves It first forms a head lettuce, the develops a more open, loose romaine type leaf. Sow seeds (fedcoseeds.com) directly now through mid-June in a part sun to light shade area or pot. In plant trials, Sweet Valentine has been slow to bolt, even in hot weather, so you could keep sowing if plants seemed to be holding their own.
Unlike the vegetables that can be down directly outdoors, Nikita bell pepper should be started indoors around mid April. Peppers suffer when planted in the ground too early. They like the soil to be warmer than tomatoes, which can be planted a couple of weeks before peppers. Nikita (territorialseed.com) gets up to 24 inches tall, so it might benefit from staking. It produces large blocky fruits that are sweet no matter when picked. The peppers begin as a creamy color and then mature to coral streaked or orange. Each plant will produce about 12 4-inch peppers in 65 to 70 days after planting transplants. Plant in full sun.
Remember that these are new introductions, so their availability may be limited.