In trials conducted in over 40 sites across the United States and Canada, five vegetable varieties were chosen as All-America Selection winners for 2002. To receive this award, the selection must possess unique or improved characteristics compared to similar existing cultivars on the market.
Below are brief descriptions of the 2002 All-American Selection recipients.
Pumpkin 'Orange Smoothie'
'Orange Smoothie', one of two AAS pumpkin winners this year, produces smooth deep orange pumpkins that weigh 5 to 8 pounds. Their size makes them easier for children to handle. Their smooth surface makes them great for painting, decorating, and carving. They also make excellent pies. Because of the semi-determinate growth habit, 'Orange Smoothie' requires less space in the garden. Gardeners can expect to harvest pumpkins about 90 days after sowing seed.
The flowering and fruiting characteristics, flavor, and yield set 'Diva' apart from other varieties. 'Diva' vines have the ability to set fruit without pollination. As a result, its fruit are nearly seedless if not planted with other cucumber cultivars. Vines produce large yields of sweet, burpless fruit. 'Diva' is also resistant to downy and powdery mildew.
Basil 'Magical Michael'
Refined plant size and uniform shape earned 'Magical Michael' an AAS designation. The fragrant leaves can be harvested from the plants in about 30 days after transplanting. Plants reach a height of 15 inches with a spread of 16-17 inches. Plants may produce attractive flowers about 80 to 90 days after sowing seed. Use for a garnish to add variety to salads.
'Sorcerer', the second AAS pumpkin award winner for 2002, produces large fruit that weigh 15 to 20 pounds. The round, deeply ribbed, dark orange fruit can be painted, carved, or used in pies. Fruit mature approximately 100 days after the seed is sown. 'Sorcerer' has a compact habit. Vines reach only 10 feet in length.
Winter Squash 'Cornell's Bush Delicata'
If you have been waiting for a winter squash with a sweet taste, fine textured flesh, and a long shelf life 'Cornell's Bush Delicata' is the one! Harvest begins about 100 days after planting. 'Cornell's Bush Delicata' has a semi-bush growth habit. Vines eventually attain a length of 4 to 6 feet by the end of the gardening season. It also possesses tolerance to powdery mildew.
This article originally appeared in the March 22, 2002 issue, p. 23.