THE 'SUNPRIDE' TOMATO AND 'GREEN MAGIC' BROCCOLI WRITE-UP
FOR SPRING, 2007
Where can you get an unbiased, scientific appraisal of vegetable
varieties which perform best in this state? From the Texas Cooperative
Extension horticulturists, of course! We don't just pull these
varietal recommendations out of thin air either - - the Cooperative
Extension horticulturists work diligently with local farmers and
transplant producers to test and evaluate a wide range of new
Over the years major advancements have been in the area of production.
Reliable, consistent yields have been made possible by new hybrid
varieties of vegetables which are not only earlier producers,
but also produce more. These hybrids are disease resistant as
well as vigorous growers. For instance, thirty years ago the tomato
variety, Homestead, was the most widely planted variety in this
area. It would do ok in the spring, but in the fall it was rare
to harvest a ripe tomato before frost destroyed the plants loaded
with green tomatoes. The Texas Cooperative Extension horticulturists
introduced the hybrid Spring Giant and growers could then depend
on a harvest of tomatoes every fall. Spring Giant was being harvested
before the first fruit was ever set on the Homestead plants. Spring
Giant was followed by the even more adapted varieties of Surefire,
Heatwave and SunMaster. Unfortunately, now, most of these tried-and-proven
superior varieties are no longer available for home gardeners
to enjoy. How and why could something like this happen?!?!
The short story is: There are only a few vegetable seed companies
left in the world and they are eliminating the older, Texas-proven
varieties in favor of new, "improved' hybrids. This elimination
includes Texas SuperStar tomato varieties (Merced and Surefire)
and Green Comet broccoli. However, the most recent SuperStar tomato
named 'Tomato444' can be found.
So, we recommend this spring that gardeners use the tomato varieties
Carnival, Celebrity, and/or Tomato444 (BHN 444). Also, for the
first time, gardeners will be able to try a new heat-setting variety
named Sun Pride. Heat-setting tomatoes are also cold-setting tomatoes
so this variety will be the best choice for spring or summer planting.
Sun Pride is a mid-season variety which produces large fruit and
has extensive foliage to provide sun-scald protection. The fruit
is very firm and is produced on a semi-determinate plant. It is
somewhat crack resistant and the plant is resistant to Verticillium
and Fusarium Wilt.
It can be seen and compared to other varieties at:
We have been testing broccoli for several years (as seen at:
trying to find a replacement for Green Comet which is no longer
available. Notice in the 2004 Spring trials that there were only
two varieties with images attached. That is because these were
THE ONLY TWO varieties which made heads in the spring!
Green Magic broccoli was first put on the San Antonio market
in the fall of 2004 but because of the hottest October in history,
the quality of early (Aug-Oct) planted broccoli was not what we
had experienced in our testing. The later planted Green Magic
broccoli was high quality and it should be wonderful this spring
because broccoli performs best when it experiences cool growing
conditions. Green Magic is a hybrid which matures in 85 days from
transplanting. It is a superb early variety that produces high
quality, attractive smooth dome heads with tight green beads.
Heads can weigh between 350-400 gm and has good resistance to
white rust. It is a hybrid selection from Calabria strains.
To go with this tomato and broccoli duo, we are offering a hot,
ornamental pepper. It is Capsicum frutescens and matures fruit
within 85 days of transplanting. Plants produce good yields of
¾" long by ½" wide hot, edible peppers.
Peppers grow upright in clusters, are very hot, and turn from
purple, to yellow, to orange, to red when mature. Plants have
green stems, green leaves, and white flowers. This ornamental
pepper is suitable for growing in pots or containers. See:
To beautify a planting of these productive vegetable varieties,
try some new heat-tolerant, multiflora petunias named Petunia
'Tidal Wave Cherry' and Petunia 'Tidal Wave Silver' Trailing.