Along the Garden Path 2016 gardening possibilities


Welcome to a new year in gardening. January is a month to power down, recharge and pause before spring and gardening time begins again.

2016 is a brand new year full of potential and possibilities. We sat down with all the catalogs that have arrived and tried to select at least a few new varieties of vegetables and flowers for purchase for the coming year.

Park Seed Company from Greenwood, South Carolina, ( offers a 2016 beet lover’s dream come true! Five superb globe varieties, all as distinctive in flavor as they are in color; these can be yours for the price of a single packet of seed! Grow these superb beets as gourmet babies or as full-sized roots bursting with flavor! And don’t forget those nutritious beet greens, which reach their peak at about 5 to 6 inches high.

In this collection you get the following varieties: Subeto Hybrid – The only hybrid in this collection, Subeto is a Pablo-type red beet with purple stems above a deep violet root. Vigorous and large-crowned, it looks as good as it tastes! High yields.

Boldor – A golden beet with coppery-orange skin concealing its bright yellow-gold flesh. The color stays even after cooking, and so does the sweetness!

Chioggia – An Italian heirloom with bright pinkish-fuchsia skin and concentric rings of white and magenta within! The flavor is super-sweet, but there is a satisfying spicy afterbite as well.

Albina Vereduna – This pure white beauty has the same flavor profile as its red cousins, but no red juice to stain other food on the plate!

Bull’s Blood Scarletta – The violet leaves and purplish-red skin on this heirloom are striking enough, not to mention the concentric rings of flesh in two bold shades of pink. Talk about plate appeal!

Beets are a cool-weather crop, suitable for spring, fall, and even winter in very mild climates. They tolerate a bit of frost without damage. Direct-sow the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in spring, or in late summer to early fall. Try making succession sowings every 3 to 4 weeks for an even longer season of fresh harvests.

Bush beans, lettuce, and onions are good companions to beets in the vegetable garden, as are all the Brassica family, from broccoli and cabbage to kohlrabi and cauliflower. And if you do not care for the flavor of beet greens, be sure to chop them and plow them back into the soil, where they add valuable nutrients that will enhance next year’s crops.

Sow seeds 1 inch apart and about one-quarter-inch deep in rows about 1 to 2 feet apart. After the seedlings emerge, thin them to about 3 inches apart, using the tender thinnings in cuisine or adding them to the compost heap. Beets love rich, well-worked soil and full sun. Their 200 mixed seed packet is $2.95.

W. Atlee Burpee Company from Warminster, Pa. ( offer a Whopper Red Green Leaf Begonia. Whopper’s are the largest begonia ever and produces a color riot of extra-large 3-inch red blooms. Mounding, large 30-34-inch plants produce a color riot of extra-large 3-inch red blooms, complemented by cool green leaves, from spring into fall. This largest begonia ever commands admiring attention, dazzles with outsize blooms and out of sight color. It can tolerate torrid heat. Three plants from Burpee are $22.95.

Pretty soon we will be excited about getting out and working the soil but until then, check out the catalogs and possibilities for 2016.

By Charlene Thornhill

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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