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2016 All-America Selections Winners
by Bruce J. Black
January 3, 2016

When it’s cold and wintry out, the easiest way to warm up is to think spring while looking through those newly received seed catalogs and beginning to decide what to plant in your garden.

“A little planning can go a long way, especially when looking for new plants to grow,” said Bruce J. Black. “For those looking to try some new plants, the All-America Selections are a great place to start.”

All-America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit organization that releases a number of trialed plants each year as AAS Winners. The organization tests new varieties every year at their currently 86 test facilities, both private and public, located around the United States and Canada. Each test site has its own independent judge who runs a comparison trial program at his or her organization. The results and observations are compiled and winners are chosen.

Three of the 2016 AAS Winners, which are vegetables, have been announced. They are:

Mizuna Red Kingdom F1 (Brassica juncea var. Red Kingdom F1): Red Kingdom is a warm-season, full-sun biennial, with edible reddish-purple leaves and a mild taste. Judges noted it as being very flavorful. Due to amazing lasting color, it can be used as an ornamental as well. Red Kingdom was praised for not bolting as readily and being higher yielding as compared to other mizunas.

Radish Sweet Baby F1 (Raphanus sativus var. Sweet Baby F1): Sweet Baby is a warm-season, full-sun annual purple/white/rose-colored radish, inside and out. Judges noted good uniformity and an excellent crunchy, slightly spicy taste. Sweet Baby radishes reach maturity in 40 to 45 days, making this an excellent candidate for succession plantings.

Bunching Onion Warrior (Allium fistulosum var. Warrior): Also known as green onions, bunching onions have become popular in cooking both raw or cooked. Warrior is a quick maturing, uniform grower with crispy stalks. Warrior is a cool-season, full-sun annual that can remain unharvested longer than other bunching onions.

Not a fan of any of these vegetable types or looking for something else to grow? The All-America Selections has a list of all past winners, vegetables and flowers all the way back to 1933, available on their website (all-americaselections.org). You might not be able to always find all of them in seed catalogs, but that would be a great place to get ideas, Black suggested.

“I can’t wait to try these new vegetables next year,” Black said. “The best part of gardening is always trying new plants and seeing how they fit with your style of gardening.”

For more information about vegetable gardening, check out the U of I Extension website Watch Your Garden Grow at

extension.illinois.edu/veggies/index.cfm

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