Post last updated: August 13th, 2018
In late January, I attended a seed starting class at the County Extension Office. We were given a seed tray with 50 cells already filled with seed starting medium and enough seeds to fill each of the 50 cells. I suspect the seeds were free from seed companies as the majority of them were hybrids. I hate hybrid seeds because you can’t save seeds from them. I was also hugely disappointed with the performance of quite a few of these hybrids. What follows is my opinion on how well these hybrid seeds produced in my garden of traditional hilled rows mulched with oak leaves:
Zephyr F1 Summer Squash – Unique appearance of yellow with faint white stripes and light green blossom ends. Holds up to cooking, i.e., doesn’t become watery. I have a photo of it here. Review: RAVE
Juliet Tomato – An elongated cherry tomato that grew in clusters. Very high tolerance to diseases. This is the ONLY tomato bush that was still healthy at the end of the season. The tomatoes had excellent flavor. This was a 1999 All-America Selections Winner. Review: RAVE
Sweet Gold F1 Tomato – A bright yellow-gold one inch cherry tomato on vigorous vines. It topped my 5 foot tall cages. I had two cages of it with heavy production from both. I froze a huge gallon bag of them to use in soups this winter and shared hundreds of them. Impressive production but the flavor was average. Review: SEMI RAVE
Dwarf Wild Fred Tomato – A determinate plant that topped out at four feet. It produced large beef-steak tomatoes that I couldn’t use because something was wrong with all of them. I shared a plant with my friend Evie, who grew hers in containers and couldn’t use them either. It could be that the seeds came from a diseased plant or this tomato doesn’t like Florida. I recognized early in the season that it was not thriving and I should have yanked it out then because whatever disease it was harboring spread to the Celebrity tomatoes next to it. I will likely end up without a sufficient crop of red tomatoes to freeze for the winter. Review: DISGUSTING
Diva Cucumbers – Bitter-free and burpless but just an ordinary salad cucumber. It was supposed to be resistant to powdery and downy mildew but nevertheless succumbed to an early death like most other cucumbers I’ve grown. It was a poor producer compared to an Italian burpless cuke I once found in a Ferry-Morse seed packet. Nothing to write home about despite its having been a 2002 All-America Selections Winner. Review: BLAH
Bounty F1 Sweet Banana Pepper – Heavy producer of huge 6” peppers that can grow to 10” and turn orange to red but I always picked them before that. Review: IMPRESSIVE
Snap Provider Bean – The dried beans that I planted in January were black. This was a bush bean with healthy plants but like all snap beans, the bush falls over as the season progresses. It stood up to downy mildew and useful for an early crop of beans. Review: BLAH (only because Kentucky Wonders taste better)
Sunglow Yellow Sweet Corn – Planted this inside three rows of Silver Queen. It produced earlier than the Silver Queen but the ears were small and rotted before filling out. I have no idea what went wrong. Review: DISGUSTING.
Gretal F1 Eggplant – Fair production of skinny, white-skinned eggplants about the width of your thumb. Plant was supposed to be compact but didn’t seem to be any smaller than the other eggplants and didn’t seem to produce in 55 days. This is a 2009 All-America Selections Winner. I can’t review as to taste because I just can’t get into eggplant but one of my friends thought it was tasteless and couldn’t see the point of such a skinny, white eggplant.
Hansel F1 Eggplant – This probably lived up to its 55 days because it started to produce earlier. Chubby 3-4” long purple eggplants that I staked but the weight of the eggplants pulled the stake over. Fairly heavy producer. This is a 2008 All-America Selections Winner and sure was pretty but, again, I can’t eat eggplant.
I was less than excited to receive FIFTEEN eggplant seeds from the Extension Agent as I don’t eat eggplant. I tried, honest I did, when Momma fried some up but I just can’t eat it. I gave some of the fifteen plants away and grew about five of them just for the experience. All of the plants were about 3 to 4 feet tall.