I still get a lot of trade magazines, even though I no longer operate a commercial greenhouse, and it’s fun to read the articles to see what the trends are, or in this case to learn about some new seed offerings. The beautiful shasta daisy above, “Sweet Daisy Birdy” caught my eye immediately. The flowers are recurved (umbrella shaped) and often 5″ across! In a three year trial, the plants remained upright and sturdy, providing lots of eye candy in the garden, and proving an excellent cut flower as well. Listed as medium height. The centers have a frilly edge around a central yellow “eye.” It has proven reliable in Zones 3-8. I have several varieties of shastas, but there’s never too many so I’ll be searching for this one.
The second seeds I’ll be looking for is the first shallot to ever win an AAS designation. Reportedly easy from seed, these rosy-skinned shallots have excellent flavor and tenderness, and are earlier to mature than other seed-grown shallots. Eschalion “Creme Brulee” has a high sugar level that carmelizes well, and does not have a bitter aftertaste. I saw this one listed on Johnny’s Select Seeds, but I bet it sells out early! I love growing shallots, since they are easy and also they are generally expensive in the stores.
In another article, I learned that a company called Outstanding Seed is doing specialty breeding for “stackable” pumpkins. I’d never heard that term, but apparently it’s becoming all the rage for fall decor, stacking these flat pumpkins to make a pyramid. The company has three colors. The one above is called “Daybreak,” and fruits weigh about 25 lbs. There are shades of red, pink, salmon, blue and variations. This strain has strong powdery mildew resistance, and high yields. Isn’t it eye-catching?
The second color is “Lunar Blush” and it’s new for 2021. These are large, wide, flat fruits that are great for the base of a stack. Shades of champagne, pale pink, and seafoam green combine for lots of visual interest. Fruits average 48 lbs., with some growing to 60 lbs. so you’ll need a strong back to harvest these beauties! I love the color range of this one, but wish they were a bit smaller!
Also new for 2021 is “Lunar Shadow,” which grows to an average 23 lbs, with excellent yields, and also with good disease resistance. The only things I haven’t seen reported is how these stackable pumpkins taste! Outstanding Seed Company has over 40 varieties of specialty pumpkins, including some interesting “warty” ones. You can view their offerings on-line at www.outstandingseed.com However, they are a wholesale company, so unless you are a commercial grower, you probably can’t order seed directly from them. Look for their seeds from other sources.
UPDATE: E& R Seeds at 1356 E 200 S., Monroe, IN 46772 have ALL the stackable pumpkin seeds for sale, and lots, lots more. They are an Amish business, so no website or credit card orders. You can call and request their nearly 200 page catalog, at 260-692-6827. Visit them (dress warm, there’s no central heat) and be amazed!