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Patti Nagai

Patti Nagai

I would like to grow as many of the All-America Selection winners in my garden this year as possible, but I am having trouble finding a seed catalog that carries them all. Where can I find the seeds for these plants? — Margaret, Twin Lakes.

All-America Selections winners are fabulous to grow in your garden, and seeds are available from many different retailers. On the All-America Selections website http://all-americaselections.org/winners/index.cfm, there is a list of all of the retailers and which seeds they sell. If you click on the name it will take you directly to the online catalog. Seeds for 2015 selections may be in limited supply, so it is a good idea to order early if there are new winners you would like to try in your garden.

Each retailer sells different selections, so depending on which ones you want to grow, you may have to order seeds from more than one supplier. If you are looking for seeds from previous year’s winners, you may be able to find seed packets at local garden centers and nurseries once they put up their seed displays.

This is a record year for All-America Selections, as 25 winners have been selected for 2015, the most for a single year since 1939. There are some unusual selections this year, also. For example, in the vegetable category there is a white beet selected as a national winner. Beet ‘Avalanche’ is described as the beet for people who think they don’t like beets. It is reported to taste good cooked or raw, without any earthy or bitter taste. This cultivar matures in 50 days from seed, making it a good choice for your early spring garden or your late fall garden.

Radish ‘Roxanne F1’ is another great cool season choice. A beautiful red radish that matures in 27 days, ‘Roxanne F1’ will add early color to a container or a fast, sweet reward in your in-ground vegetable garden. Add in lettuce ‘Sandy’ and you have the makings of a salad in just a few weeks. ‘Sandy’ is the first lettuce selected as an All-America Selections winner since 1985, and it is a frilly, green oakleaf lettuce that develops a loose head if allowed to grow to maturity. This lettuce is reported to be extremely sweet and tasty when grown in cool weather, and would make an excellent foliage plant in a container of early spring flowers.

Another winner this year is broccoli ‘Artwork F1,’ a baby broccoli that will yield many side shoots even as the days warm. This is the first time garlic chives have been selected as an All-America Selections winner, and ‘Garlic Geisha’ was selected as a standout for its “just right” flavor, wide, attractive foliage, and late-blooming white flowers that attract butterflies. There were several herbs on the winners list this year, including basil ‘Dolce Fresca’ and oregano ‘Cleopatra.’

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Summer vegetables on the winners’ list include five cultivars of pepper: ‘Emerald Fire F1,’ ‘Flaming Flare F1,’ ‘Hot Sunset F1,’ Pretty N Sweet F1’ and ‘Sweet Sunset F1.’ A new beefsteak tomato was selected as a regional winner for our area, ‘Chef’s Choice Pink F1’ and there are two winning squash on the list, zucchini ‘Bossa Nova F1’ and butternut ‘Butterscotch F1.’

If you are interested in growing flowers from seed, take a look at the winning salvia ‘Summer Jewel White’ which is prolific bloomer on a compact plant. This is part of a series including ‘Summer Jewel Pink’ and ‘Summer Jewel Red,’ all of which attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds making these selections winners for pollinators as well.

More questions?

Master gardener volunteers serving as plant health advisers are able to answer your questions at mastergardeners@goracine.org or by calling the Horticulture Helpline at 262-886-8451 (Yorkville) or 262-767-2919 (Burlington).

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Dr. Patti Nagai is the horticulture educator for Racine County UW-Extension. Submit your questions for The Journal Times Q&A column to Dr. Nagai at Patti.Nagai@goracine.org and put “Question for RJT” in the subject line.

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