Tag Archive | Squash

All-America Selections’ Winners for 2015

Reblogged with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

All-America Selections
Announces the
 First Vegetatively Propagated
AAS Winners

After more than eighty years of trialing only seed-propagated varieties, All-America Selections (AAS) began trialing vegetatively propagated varieties early this year. With the 2014 trial season now completed, AAS is pleased and honored to grant the AAS Winner status to two impatiens that performed exceptionally well in the AAS container trials for vegetatively propagated annuals.

The two Vegetative Winners are:

In addition, there are an impressive ten seed varieties that have earned the AAS Winner designation:
Regional Winners are:

National Winners are:

“The AAS Judges, Board of Directors and staff are extremely excited to enter this new phase where we are now representing a wider cross section of the horticulture industry. This ushers in a whole new facet of our national trialing program.” states AAS President Ron Cramer.

With this announcement, these varieties become available for immediate sale. You will find these Winners for sale in the coming months as supply becomes available from suppliers. AAS Winners will also be available as young plants in lawn & garden retail stores next spring, in time for the 2015 gardening season.

A complete list of trial grounds and judges can be found here.

A complete list of all AAS Winners since 1932 can be found here. Note that the AAS Winners are now sortable by Flowers from Seed, Flowers from Cuttings and Vegetables.

Page down for more details on each new AAS Winner:

Impatiens SunPatiens® Spreading Shell Pink
AAS Vegetative Ornamental Winner

The unique genetics of SunPatiens® Spreading Shell Pink delivers unsurpassed garden performance with season-long, soft pink flowers that never slow down. Strong roots take hold quickly after transplanting and these impatiens thrive under high heat, rain and humidity. The AAS Judges loved these vigorous spreading plants that keep their shape all summer, plus, they do just as well in full sun as in shade. These low-maintenance plants are perfect for gardeners looking for impatiens that are resistant to downy mildew. Available in plant form only.

Impatiens Bounce™ Pink Flame PPAF ‘Balboufink’
AAS Vegetative Ornamental Winner 

Bounce impatiens provides gardeners with shade garden confidence. Bounce looks like an Impatiens walleriana in habit, flower form and count, but is completely downy mildew resistant, which means this impatiens will last from spring all the way through fall. Bounce Pink Flame boasts of a massive amount of stunning, bright pink bicolor blooms with tons of color to brighten your garden, be it in shade or sun. And caring for impatiens has never been easier: just add water and they’ll “bounce” right back! Available in plant form only.
Pepper Hot Sunset F1
AAS Regional Winner 
(Southeast, Heartland and Great Lakes)

For banana, or wax pepper lovers who desire a prolific and earlier harvest of delicious and spicy (650 Scoville units) fruits, Hot Sunset is for you. Large, healthy, vigorous plants are disease-free and produce tasty and attractive fruits all season-long. The AAS Trial judges noted what a great taste this thick-walled pepper has, not like other hot peppers where all you get is heat. We think this tasty morsel should be featured on a TV cooking show where chefs compete to bring out the best in this goodie! Whether it’s prepared fresh, grilled, roasted or pickled, it’s sure to win over even the most particular foodie!

Tomato Chef’s Choice PInk F1
AAS Regional Winner (Southeast, Great Lakes)

First we introduced Chef’s Choice Orange as an All-America Selections Winner and now we have her sister, Chef’s Choice Pink–another tasty beauty in beefsteak tomatoes. Indeterminate potato leaf plants yield large (often more than one pound) fruits with a sweet, meaty flesh. This hybrid is easier to grow than most beefsteaks so don’t be timid, give it a try. The reward will be healthy disease-resistant plants and a large harvest of tasty, attractive pink fleshed tomatoes reminiscent of heirloom varieties.

Basil Dolce Fresca
AAS National Winner

If there was an AAS category for an edible plant with ornamental value, this AAS Winner would fit that classification. Dolce Fresca produces sweet tender leaves that outshone the comparison varieties while maintaining an attractive, compact shape that’s both versatile and beautiful. Use the leaves as you would any Genovese basil and we hear it makes an excellent pesto. After harvest, the plant was quick to recover and kept the desired ornamental shape that’s perfect for containers, borders or as a focal point. Great for gardeners looking for drought tolerant, hearty plants, foodies interested in a new and better basil and anyone who wants that Mediterranean taste added to their cuisine.

Pepper Emerald Fire F1
AAS National Winner

A grill master’s delight! At 2,500 Scoville units, this is the hottest pepper in this year’s pepper winners but it boasts extra large and very tasty jalapeno fruits that are perfect for stuffing, grilling or using in salsa. Emerald Fire produces gorgeous, glossy green peppers with thick walls that have very little cracking, even after maturing to red. Gardeners will appreciate the prolific fruit set on compact plants that resist disease better than other similar varieties on the market.

Pepper Flaming Flare F1
AAS National Winner

Most Fresno peppers are considered rather finicky plants that typically grow better in warm and dry climates. The fact that Flaming Flare is an AAS National Winner means it performed well in all AAS trial sites. The fruit is ideal for making chili sauces and the heat of that sauce will increase depending on how late in the season the peppers are harvested. Flaming Flare is an exceptional pepper that was sweeter tasting than similar Fresno types and consistently produced larger fruits and more peppers per plant. Yet another AAS Winner that culinary gardeners should consider for their kitchen gardens.

Pepper Pretty N Sweet F1
AAS National Winner

Look…in the garden! Is it an ornamental pepper? Is it edible? Yes to both! Now we can tell consumers that an ornamental pepper CAN be eaten and it tastes fantastic! It’s time for new terminology to describe this multi-purpose plant…how about an “Ornamedible?” Pretty N Sweet is just that: a sweet, multi-colored pepper on a compact 18” plant that is attractive to use in ornamental gardens and containers. Against the comparisons, Pretty N Sweet was earlier, more prolific and has a much sweeter taste with more substantial pepper walls to enjoy fresh or in your favorite pepper dish.

Squash Bossa Nova F1
AAS National Winner

The beautiful dark and light green mottled exterior of this zucchini is more pronounced than other varieties on the market, which sets it apart and makes the fruits easier to see during a long and prolific harvest. Compact plants produce fruits earlier in the season and continue producing for three weeks longer than comparison varieties. During taste tests, the AAS Judges deemed the smooth flesh texture and sweet, mild taste much improved over other summer squash. Culinary gardeners will delight in adding this variety to their 2015 vegetable plans.

Squash Butterscotch F1
AAS National Winner

This adorable small-fruited butternut squash has an exceptionally sweet taste and at just 1.25 pounds, is the perfect size for just one or two servings. Compact vines are space-saving for smaller gardens or those who just want to fit more plants into the space they have. This is another AAS Winners that is perfect for container gardens and will resist powdery mildew later in the season. Culinary tip from a squash enthusiast: pierce the skin then microwave whole squash for about 12 minutes, cut in half, spoon out the seeds, and enjoy!

Petunia Trilogy Red F1
AAS National Winner

The Trilogy petunia has a new color with this stunningly rich, vibrant red version! Trilogy petunias are known for their compact dome-shaped habit sporting large non-fading blooms throughout the season. The plants cover and recover themselves in upright blooms providing a constant mass of color in flower beds, baskets, and containers. Gardeners in high heat areas will appreciate the heat-tolerance of this variety and all gardeners will like how quickly Trilogy recovers after a rain.

Salvia Summer Jewel White
AAS National Winner

A third color in the popular Summer Jewel series, white brings a much-needed color to compact salvias. This dwarf sized, compact plant has a prolific bloom count throughout the summer. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than other white salvias used as comparisons. Judges noted how the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds loved the larger flowers, making it perfect for a pollinator garden. Because of the compactness and number of flowers, Summer Jewel White is great for large landscaped areas, as well as containers and small beds.

Other recently announced AAS Winners:

National Winners:                                                                    Regional Winners:

Angelonia Serenita Pink F1                                            Brussels Sprouts Hestia F1
Bean Mascotte                                                               Cucumber Parisian Gherkin F1
Gaura Sparkle White                                                     Cucumber Pick-A-Bushel F1
Impatiens New Guinea Florific Sweet Orange F1           Cucumber Saladmore Bush F1
Lettuce Sandy                                                               Eggplant Patio Baby F1
Tomato Fantastico F1                                                   Pak Choi  Bopak F1
Tomato Chef’s Choice Orange F1                       .
Ornamental Pepper NuMex Easter F1                          Penstemon Arabesque Red F1
Osteospermum Akila Daisy White F1                           Pepper  Giant Ristra F1
Osteospermum Akila Daisy White F1                           Pepper Sweet Sunset F1
Pepper Mama Mia Gaillo F1                                         Pumpkin Cinderella’s Carriage F1
Pepper Mama Mia Gaillo F1                                         Radish Rivoli
Petunia African Sunset F1                                           Sunflower Suntastic Yellow with Black Center F1
Radish Roxanne                                                          Tomato Mountain Merit F1

Fertilizer Basics

“Dear Horticulturist,

My garden is growing great, but I know I need to fertilize my plants. I know it needs to be done with the right product at the right time or you can kill or mess up your plants, but I just don’t know what the right time is for the various vegetables I have. Do you have a table or something that you could send me or post that would give me a better idea of what we should be doing?




Hi Carrie,

Thanks for the email. Yes, fertilizing is important — not only in the doing, but also in the ‘doing it right’. Here goes:


Pre-plant: If necessary, use 5-10-10, 3-4″ deep, at the rate of 1 1/2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 T. of 5-10-10 per plant every 3-4 weeks or generous scoop of rotted manure.
Pre-plant: Work aged manure or com post into top 8″, or 3-4 cups 5-10-10 into top 4- 6″ for every 20-foot row. Side-dress: If growing slowly, use 2 cups 10-10-10 per 20-foot row.
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 weeks af ter transplant with 1 T. high nitrogen fertilizer.
Brussels Sprouts
Pre-plant: 2-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Once a month with 5-10-10, 1-2 T. per plant.
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. or 3-4 shovels of aged manure or com post. Side-dress: Month after transplant, 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row.
Chinese cabbage
Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row when plants are 4-6″, then every three weeks thereafter.
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 50 sq. ft. Side-dress: W h en 6″ tall, use natural fertilizer such as dried manure or f i sh fertilizer. Thin layer hardwood ash, 4″ deep, for potash (for sweetness).
Fall of year: Generous amounts of com post and/or manure in top 3″. Side-dress: Every 2-3 weeks with manure tea or 1 tsp. 5-10-10 per plant.
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 2 lbs. high nitrogen fertilizer (urea or ammonium sulfate), per 100 sq. ft. when plants are 8-10″ tall. Use again when silks appear, adding superphosphate to N.
Pre-plant: Use plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Side-dress: 4 weeks after planting, just as vines begin to run, use 2 handfuls compost or 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Pre-plant: Mix 1″ well rotted manure or 2-3 lbs. 5-10-5 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When plants set several fruit, use 1 T. 5-10-5 or 10-6-4 per plant.
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after planting, use 1 tsp. 10-10-10 per plant. May also use fish or seaweed fertilizer.
Pre-plant: Generous amounts of rotted manure or compost. Side-dress: Mulched – Use liquid fertilizer (fish, seaweed, manure tea) Unmulched – Use 1/2 cup 5-10-10 for every 4-5 plants. Again in 3 wks.
Pre-plant: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row. Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row or aged manure or rich compost. (Side- dress three times: 1. After thinning; 2. When first pods begin to develop; 3. At least once midway through the growing season.)
Fall: Mix rich compost or manure into soil. Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20-25 foot row when plants are 4-6″ tall and when bulbs swell.
Pre-plant: Use a slow-release fertilizer. Side-dress: If a slow-release fertilizer has not been applied, use 1-2 cups 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or its equivalent after 1-2 months.
Pre-plant: 1-1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When 6″ tall, use 1/2 lb. of a 1:1 mixture of ammonium sulfate and dehydrated manure per 25 foot row.
Pre-plant: 1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Monthly with 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Pre-plant: In an 8″ trench or hole, mix 5- 10-10 at the rate of 1 lb. per 25-foot row with 2 inches of soil. Side-dress: When hilled for the 2nd time, use 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or compost, seaweed, or fish emulsion.
Pre-plant: Mix rotted manure and a handful of 5-10-10 into top 6-8″ of soil. Side-dress: Use 5-10-10 on hill and side roots.
No special fertilization necessary.
Pre-plant: Mix well-rotted compost or manure into soil. Fertilize early spring each year with 2-3 shovels of well-rotted manure per plant or 1/2 cup of 5-10-10. Side-dress: At the same rate in early summer after the main harvest period.
Mix compost, manure, and/or 10-10-10. No additional fertilizer necessary.
Pre-plant: Work plenty of good com post or aged manure into 1 of soil. Side-dress: 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant. Summer squash – When 6″ tall. Again when they bloom
Winter squash
When vines start to run. Again when small fruit form
Sweet potatoes
Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. of row, plus fine com post. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after transplanting with 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. (Use 5 lbs. if soil is sandy.)

Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. after fruit sets

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fishmouthing Squash Seed

“I am a farmer and recently was offered squash seed by my supplier that had a high rate of ‘fishmouthing’. I turned it down because I didn’t know what it was. What is it?



Fish Mouth is a disorder that we sometimes had with long day peppers that we were breeding when I was in graduate school.  It gets the name from having the longitudinal end looking like a fish’s mouth because it occurs when the seed has been harvested prematurely and the micropylar  endosperm hasn’t had enough time to develop and helium at the tip doesn’t fuse properly.  The seed may have an initial decent germination rate, but the lack or decreased amount of endosperm gives it a very short shelf life and decreased vigor.  Also, the seed is highly susceptible to soil-borne pathogens.

Fish mouth can occur on any type of dicot seed.


© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Loaded Baked Squash

When most people make winter squash, they stuff it full of brown sugar and butter.  While the result may taste great, it is not so great for your health or your waistline.  Instead of giving yourself diabetes because you want to eat squash, try this tasty and healthy squash dish — it’s sure to be your new favorite way to eat squash:

  • 3 acorn squash (3/4-1 pound each)
  • 5 ounces bulk turkey sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed (see Tip)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Wisconsin Swiss cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Tip: While we love the convenience of canned beans, they tend to be high in sodium. Give them a good rinse before adding to a recipe to rid them of some of their sodium (up to 35 percent) or opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties. (Our recipes are analyzed with rinsed, regular canned beans.) Or, if you have the time, cook your own beans from scratch.*************************************************************************

    © Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Acorn Squash

Now that we are beginning to get into the fall season, it’s time to have some winter squash!


  • 1 acorn squash (cut in half, and seeded)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt (to taste)
  • Ground black pepper (to taste)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place both halves of the squash on a lined baking pan (cut side down).
  • Bake for ~30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Turn the squash over and rub the inside of the squash with the brown sugar/butter mixture and put it in the oven again, cut side up this time.
  • Bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and oven and eat out of the halved acorn squash or cut it into slices! 



    © Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Male or Female? Identifying Luffa and Cucurbit Flowers

“Our luffa plants are blooming nicely; the bloom falls off and there does not appear to be the luffa growing from the bloom.  When does the actual luffa appear on the plant?  Thanks in advance of youur reply. ~ L.”


The reason why you may not be seeing any luffa gourds yet is because the flowers you do see are males.  When a gourd or other type of cucurbit (like cucumbers, squashes, and melons) begin to blossom, the first flowers will be male flowers.  (Well, unless it is an all-female or parthenocarpic plant, but we won’t worry about that because luffas aren’t.)

The males are relatively easy to identify because the blossom is connected to the vine by a long, rather thin stem.  These flowers will bloom for one day and then fall off.  They are generally grouped near the base of the plant (where it comes out of the ground).

The female plants are noticeable because they have a small green luffa between the blossom and the vine.  These usually begin to appear 1-2 weeks after the first males begin to bloom and are located on the vines.  As the vine grows, it continues to set new female blossoms. Their appearance is weather dependent: the process is sped up when temperatures are over 90 with humidity.  If it is rather cool (75 or below during the day for an extended period) or dry, the process could even be slowed down a bit more.  The flowers appear to bloom for up to two days, but are actually viable for pollen on the first day only.  If unpollinated, they will fall off in 3-5 days after blooming.

I don’t have a photo of luffa flowers on file, but I do have a male and a female butternut squash photo attached.  This should help in at least beginning to identify the difference.



© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.