Garden & Landscape Tips

Cal Sweet watermelon’s vines only get about 18 inches long, making it a good selection for a small space.
Cal Sweet watermelon’s vines only get about 18 inches long, making it a good selection for a small space.
© All-America Selections
Red Racer reaches picking size at least a week before many other tomatoes.
Red Racer reaches picking size at least a week before many other tomatoes.
© All-America Selections
Just Sweet pepper is perfect for a container or other small space.
Just Sweet pepper is perfect for a container or other small space.
© All-America Selections

When growing season finally arrives, many gardeners like to try something new each year.  Here are three exciting newly introduced veggies – watermelon, tomato and pepper plants - sure to please those who like to garden, cook and eat.

Cal Sweet Bush Watermelon

A 2019 All-America Selections winner, "Cal Sweet" watermelon is a perfect plant for small spaces. It has compact, bushy vines only get up to 18 inches long. Each plant yields two to three, 10- to 12-pound melons. If grown in a container, expect one melon per vine. This variety has beautiful pink fruit that has great taste and texture.

Grow melons where they get six to eight hours of direct sun. Although Cal Sweet is a small variety with short vines, it produces enough leaves to protect the melons from sunburn.

Red Racer Tomato

A great option for tomato lovers, this tomato earns its "Red Racer" name by beating most other tomatoes to picking ripeness by a week or more. Called a cocktail tomato, Red Racer is slightly larger than a grape or cherry tomato. It has a balanced sweet-acid flavor. Cocktail tomatoes are good for kabobs, salads and snacking. Each tomato is about 1½  inches around and weighs 2 ounces.

A 2019 All-America Selection, Red Racer is a determinant tomato, which means it will reach a certain size and then stop growing -  and produce most of its fruit over a short period. At about 3 feet tall, it’s a sturdy plant, making it an excellent option for container gardening. For best results, grow tomatoes where they get at 6 to eight hours of direct sun.

Just Sweet Pepper

"Just Sweet" is a golden, snacking pepper that was bred to be stocky and strong, earning it a 2019 All-America Selections award. At about 3 feet tall and 15 inches wide, this variety does not require staking, making it a great choice for growing a sweet pepper in a container or small spaces. It’s important to grow peppers where they get at least six hours of direct sun - eight hours is even better.

Just Sweet has bright, yellow 3-inch peppers, making it perfect for snacking, stuffing in lunch boxes or slicing for appetizers.

Gardening Tips:

  • Water plants regularly, about 1 inch a week, if no rain. One inch is roughly 5 gallons.
  • Keep weeds in the veggie garden under control by applying Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer. It is made of 100% corn gluten, reapplied every 4-6 weeks and can be applied up until the day of harvest.
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