Top 3 Prairie Edibles for 2019

By Chris Edmunds

 
We can’t help but feel especially thrilled about the fresh treats we can grow in our own backyards.
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Pretty flowers sure do pack some visual punch in our gardens, but as exciting as it is to choose beautiful new blooms to decorate your home, we can’t help but feel especially thrilled about the fresh treats we can grow in our own backyards each year. Each season, there are new tastes, colors, and interesting varieties to experiment with, and 2019 is no different! We’ve put together some of our favorite selections that hold promise for this year, and we’re excited to share them with you and your family.

Prairie Edibles

We love our midwestern climate, but it’s no secret that gardening in the prairies can be tricky with our ever-changing temperatures and windy flatlands. While many of our tried-and-true favorites have stuck in our rotation, thanks to their hardiness and reliability, we’ve all had the disappointment of planting a more tender edible, only to have it struggle to thrive.

Kaw-vegetable-garden.pngWhatever you plant in your garden has to be tough and resilient, but we don’t want that to limit your options. At Kaw Valley, we specialize in hardy plants that perform under whatever conditions our prairie home can throw at them. We proudly stand behind our plants and selections, because we’re invested in growing delicious and reliable food right at home.

Our Top Picks for 2019

Our favorites this year are variations on some of our garden favorites, returning in their best and newest styles for the season. The top picks for edible gardens in 2019 bring excellent flavor and texture and the undeniable nostalgia of growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. With new improvements and tweaks to the formulas, these varieties perform better than ever. They’re great selections for our prairie home, and we love what these vegetables bring to the kitchen table:

‘Celebrity’ Tomatoes

Kaw-tomato.pngThis tomato variety is one of your best all-around picks for the season. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, slicing, and snacks, ‘Celebrity’ tomatoes have superior flavor and a great meaty texture - while being easy to handle in the garden.

‘Celebrity’ tomatoes are fantastic because they produce so much fruit per plant. Their strong vines definitely benefit from the support of some staking or a simple tomato cage to keep them from toppling over under the sheer weight of their yields! The plant can reach up to 3 or 4 feet, but are still classified as “determinates,” meaning they’ll stop growing at that size, producing most of the fruit in a short window, making them a good choice for for canning and sauce-making. They won’t need as much maintenance through the season to coach them into shape and place. Choose a spot for these tomatoes with full sun so they can soak up some heat and rays, and after a relatively speedy 65 days, you can expect to have mid-to-large sized tomatoes ready for your dinner table!

We love that this high-yield jumbo variety of tomato features the best of both worlds— you don’t have to wait forever or gamble with frost dates to get your harvest, and yet they are incredibly low-maintenance and shockingly resistant to pests and diseases! Opting for the ‘Celebrity’ tomato variety will give you confidence that you’ll enjoy an excellent harvest. It’s safe from many notorious diseases and pests naturally, without the chemicals, sprays, or labor.

‘Jupiter’ Pepper

Kaw-pepper.pngThe ‘Jupiter’ pepper is a garden edible that was a longtime favorite, and we’re super excited to see it making a comeback! These heat-loving vegetables are incredibly sweet, with sturdy, thick walls that make them the ideal selection for a wide range of summer culinary favorites. We love sautéing them, stuffing them, tossing them into salads, and everything in between. These plants produce tons of fruit for you to use, but it’s a relief to know that this sturdy and sweet pepper is easy to freeze and enjoy later if your garden out-produces your culinary needs. These peppers take a little while to reach ripeness (75 days, usually), so start them in spring as soon as the soil is warm enough. If you’re growing from seed, you’ll want to jumpstart the season from the warmth of your home, but starter plants can get cozy directly in your garden at the top of the season. Choose a sunny location where they get all the heat and light they need for deliciously sweet produce, and you’ll be surprised how much these vegetables take care of the rest. They require very little maintenance, growing into short but lush plants in no time, with generously proportioned, 4-lobed peppers.

These plants are reliable producers and need very little care. Given a little fertilizer, some heat and light, and a good watering schedule, these peppers could take over the world! Or, at least your kitchen.

‘Burpless Supreme’ Cucumbers

Kaw-cucumber.pngIt’s implied by the name, but these cucumbers corner the market on being “burpless” - or containing almost none of the compound that makes some other cucumber varieties taste bitter. Instead, these cucumbers are perfect for nearly anything in your kitchen straight from the garden - no bitterness, virtually no seeds, and ready to eat fresh off your plant.

Cucumbers are one of those quintessential fresh summer flavors that we simply want more of once we experience that crisp, cool taste. Thankfully, the ‘Burpless Supreme’ cucumbers make these summer dreams come true in spades, producing such high yields of fruit that you’ll have enough to eat cucumbers with every meal! The more you pick just as they ripen, the more your plant will produce for you. Right off the plant, we love these cucumbers in salads and sandwiches, but if you pick them young and before they’ve taken on their impressive full size, they can be great for pickling, too.

Plant your ‘Burpless Supreme’ cucumbers in a spot with lots of sun, and while they do grow pretty low to the ground, the vines on the plant will still benefit from the support of a trellis. You can expect your impressive foot-long cucumbers to start maturing in 55 days, leaving lots of the summer season to enjoy their produce. While this variety doesn’t boast any special pest or disease-fighting abilities, you can usually keep pests in check with the use of organic pesticides if needed.

 

The only thing better than experiencing the fresh garden flavors of summer is getting all of those benefits without having to break a sweat! Every year brings new things to try in our gardens, and this year is especially exciting for those of us who are short on time but don’t want to compromise on flavor. With these new takes on tasty garden classics, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of your own edible garden with more confidence through the season.

 

 
 

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