Anise-flavored basil, spicy peppers and grilled eggplant are just some of the new vegetables to plant this spring

Anise-flavored basil, spicy peppers and grilled eggplant are just some of the new vegetables to plant this spring

It can be difficult to look through seed catalogs and know which vegetables will do well here. Luckily, Charlie did some growth tests last spring and summer and will share his successes!

Planting new vegetables increases the available ingredients you have on hand and therefore adds to your cooking repertoire.

So if you want to add some different herbs, spicy peppers, tomatoes and aubergines to your favorite dishes, try a few of these new vegetable flavors.

The first is called an Everleaf Thai Towers basil. Expect a lot of leaves from this basil plant as it will be about three feet tall and one foot wide. It boasts the distinctive Thai basil anise flavor, and this variety does not bloom as fast as some other basil plants and stays green a little bit longer.

Add a kick to your cooking by growing this “Pot-o-peno” jalapeno plant. It is a compact spicy pepper plant that produces fruit all summer in a very small space.

If you love grilling eggplant, try this new award-winning one called istapaubergine. This plant grows a longer and thinner fruit than standard eggplant.

And you can add these beautiful looking heirloom tomato plants to your gardens and raised beds.

The one, called the “Russian Pinocchio” tomato, boasts all the usual Roma tomato characteristics, is great for making sauces and has a pointed nose and orange color.

Another Russian heirloom tomato is called Mila with a similar shape and texture as the yellow pear tomato, but is orange in color.

I have a very large indoor lemon tree that is almost 10 feet tall. Due to its size, the only room that can accommodate it is our large room. This room has all east-facing windows, including two very large skylights, but the tree has lost leaves at a rapid rate. Can you help? – Celeste, in Westford

A: Kudos for growing such a large lemon tree in Vermont! While it is natural for some leaves to fall in the winter, your lemon tree needs a lot of light, especially in the winter.

And because it’s challenging to get enough light during the winter months here in Vermont, you can put some growth lights on it to help mitigate leaf fall.

Note that it is natural for some of these leaves to fall in the winter, but you want to avoid losing a lot of leaves.

These trees will not have much water in the winter, so try to keep the potting soil on the dry side. You will see that the leaves last a little longer.

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