The Best of the Test Garden: 2010

These 10 plants proved outstanding in our variety trials.

By Doug Hall

Photography by Christa Neu


‘Sea of Red’ Leaf Lettuce
Source: Renee’s Garden
sea of red<br />

With the unexpected luster of each wine-red leaf, ‘Sea of Red’ contributes exceptional good looks to the garden and the salad bowl. The sword-shaped leaves are ideal for cut-and-come-again harvests starting about 40 days after sowing seed. Our harvest lasted well into summer, longer than other leaf lettuces in our trials.

“‘Sea of Red’ was slow to germinate, but once up and growing, the plants produced beautiful, deep burgundy leaves that stand upright like little soldiers. The variety has a nice flavor and makes a great addition to salads. Fantastic in containers mixed with ornamentals.” —Leslie Halleck, Dallas, Texas

‘Dakota Tears’ Onion
Source: Fedco
dakota tears<br />

With tear-inducing potency, ‘Dakota Tears’ is for those who love their onions strong and robust. In our trial beds, it was notable for its healthy disposition and generous size. This hard yellow onion is a long-day type that will perform best in Canada and the northern half of the United States. Giving the seeds a head start in a greenhouse results in larger onions at harvest.

“The plants grew faster and larger than the other onion varieties that I grew. I was impressed with the uniformity of size.” —Lisa Gabory, Emmaus, Pennsylvania