The garden catalogs are starting to stack up. That’s a good indication that it is time for some serious page-turning and list-making.

The All-America Selection website (all-americaselections.org) is the go-to site for the yearly AAS Award-winning varieties of vegetables and flowers. AAS is an independent nonprofit committed to bringing award-winning flowers and vegetables to the attention of gardeners. The varieties are tested by horticulture professionals throughout North America.

A section of the Oregon State University Extension Demonstration Garden in Redmond is dedicated to planting AAS varieties. Due to our limited growing season, Central Oregon gardeners are usually most interested in following the development and harvest success of corn and tomatoes.

American Dream sweet corn is a bi-color super sweet corn hybrid with an excellent germination rate producing ears 6 to 7 inches long. Maturity is 77 days from seed planting. A Central Oregon garden tip: Add an extra 14 days to the advised maturity date to compensate for the temperature shifts from daytime heat to the night’s cooler temperature range.

This is a good calculation to apply to any of your warm weather vegetable seed selections.

The growing season ranges from 60 to 120 growing days, with the shorter seasons occurring in the higher elevations and southern regions of Central Oregon, such as La Pine and Sunriver.

For more detailed information, refer to “Oregon State University Growing Vegetables in Central Oregon, Publication EM 9128.”

The Red Racer cocktail tomato is larger than a cherry or grape-sized tomato. The plant is 3 feet tall with a good sweet/acid balance fruit.

The plant is a determinate type, meaning the plants reach a maximum size and produce all their fruit at one time. The fruit size is 1½ inches wide. Days to harvest from transplant is 57 days. Add 14 days for Central Oregon.

The production is 7 to 10 days earlier than the comparison. The plants are ideal for small space or container plantings.

The Pak Choi Asian Delight F1 is a Chinese cabbage that the judges felt outperformed other varieties by leaps and bounds. This variety does not bolt like the comparisons, even weeks after other varieties went to seed. Asian Delight forms small to medium-sized (5-to-7 inch) heads that have a tasty tender white rib and dark textured leaves. Judges agree it was the best they had tasted. One judge seeded his trial three times and all three times Asian Delight did not bolt while its comparisons did.

We are being encouraged to eat more greens. Maybe we should give this variety a try.

Days to harvest from sowing seeds is 30 to 50 days. Days to harvest using transplants is 25 to 40 days. This would be considered a cool climate vegetable, so the added days wouldn’t be a consideration.

Several of the 2018 flower selections caught my attention.

Super Hero Spry marigold is a compact (10-to-12 inch) French marigold with dark maroon lower petals and golden yellow upper petals, with a foliage color of dark green. The bloom size is 2 inches. It’s earlier to bloom, so no deadheading is required. It’s suitable for containers.

Gypsy White Gypsophila Improved (common name, baby’s breath) has better branching and growth habit than previous varieties. The flowers are semi-double, a bit larger in size and produce more flowers per plant giving the appearance of a fluffy white mound. This is not the invasive perennial Gypsophila paniculata, but instead Gypsophila muralis. The consensus of the judges was the variety was “whiter” and fuller than the comparison.

There’s no doubt that between now and planting time I will find more varieties of this and that to share with you. After all, at this time we are just gardening on paper and are thoughts can go wild.

— Reporter: douville@bendbroadband.com

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