2020 AAS Award Winners

By Jeff Rugg

January 15, 2020 5 min read

Last week, three of the four flower winners of the All-America Selections had red flowers. This week, seven of the 10 vegetable winners are tomatoes.

Cucumber Green Light may be one of the best ever grown for making into pickles. Each plant can produce 40 spineless, pickle-sized (3- to 4-inch) fruits. This variety only produces female flowers that don't need to be pollinated, so the fruit will be seedless. Grow it on a trellis to grow lots of them in a small space.

Orange pumpkins are so last decade. Blue Prince pumpkins are a beautiful slate blue on the outside but have a thick, orange flesh on the inside. The 7- to 9-pound fruit produces a nonstringy flesh that can be baked in pie and squash recipes. It grows fast for northern gardens, and it is more disease-resistant than many other pumpkins.

Most watermelons need hot, sunny weather, but Mambo watermelons will produce 10-pound watermelons in cool, cloudy weather. It has a few seeds, but the flesh doesn't overripen very quickly, so they don't have to be harvested all at once.

Disease resistance and better yields are keys for these AAS-winning tomatoes. Tomatoes can be indeterminate, meaning they keep producing until the end of the season, or they can be determinate, meaning they produce all at once and then stop. Indeterminate tomatoes are good for continued production of fresh tomatoes, and determinate tomatoes are good for canning. The first five are indeterminate, and the last two are determinate.

Small, yellow, pear-shaped tomato varieties are a dime a dozen, but now we have a small, yellow, apple-shaped tomato — appropriately named Apple Yellow. To me, they are shaped like a small bell pepper, but I wasn't on the naming committee. This variety grows to 5 feet tall, which isn't too tall for tomatoes, but it will produce as many as 1,000 tomatoes on that vine. That might not be enough for some people, but it would be a good start.

Buffalosun and Chef's Choice Bicolor both ripen with stripes of red, orange and yellow. They are both flattened beefsteak tomatoes, great for putting on a summer burger. Buffalosun tomatoes weigh about 20 ounces, and Bicolor tomatoes weigh about 8 ounces. Buffalosun is good for the northeastern and southeastern areas, while Chef's Choice Bicolor is good for the Great Plains. They both show good disease resistance and produce a lot of fruit.

Celano is a patio-type grape tomato with a strong, bushy habit. At only 4 feet high and 2 feet wide, it will fit in most tomato cages, and it can be grown in a large pot. These are very sweet tomatoes that will encourage fresh eating right on the patio.

The bright red and round Crokini tomatoes look like clusters of ripe cherries, and they are almost as sweet. Pronounced "Crock-ini," these plants will be producing tomatoes until late in the season due to very high disease resistance. They are also very resistant to cracking, which affects many cherry tomato varieties. This variety grows best in the southeastern region of the country.

Last summer, I lost almost every tomato on my Roma-style plant due to blossom-end rot. Early Resilience is a Roma-style tomato that is very resistant to this problem. With a uniform maturity, this tomato is excellent for canning.

Late blight is a disease problem for many tomato plants. Both of the parents of Galahad are resistant to the disease. Galahad is very resistant and high-yielding. It is a regional AAS winner for the middle and western parts of the country. The fruit are round and weigh 12 ounces.

Check the All-America Selections website for current and past winner information. You can't go wrong planting AAS winners in your garden. Seeds for the winners are available in many catalogs and stores. Plants ready for transplanting are available at many garden centers at the appropriate time for planting in your area.

Email questions to Jeff Rugg at [email protected] To find out more about Jeff Rugg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: MabelAmber at Pixabay

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