Welcome to our weekly Plant Exchange Blog. We’re looking at garden seed catalogs to find plants that might grow and produce well here.
Beth Preheim of Yankton is an experiened local gardener who has kept careful records of her vegetable and tomato varieties. She shares them as a starting point for you as you choose your seeds to plant.
Preheim gardened six years at the Yankton community gardens in full sun and wind exposure. Soil is clay loam soil. She has amended the soil during this time. She makes sure plants are watered and well tended. She uses harvest results from past years at this site and offers you her findings. (In years when tomato blight is a problem, it is difficult to make recommendations.)
Seed source is included here because varieties’ common names may vary among companies; no company recommendation is intended. Included are two companies from which she selects seeds.
P = Pinetree Garden Seeds J = Johnny’s Selected Seeds
- ‘Jet Star’: My standard every year. It’s widely available and according to Iowa Cooperative Extension, a top producing tomato in Iowa. Medium slicer. Vine is manageable with standard tomato cages. Transplant available in greenhouses.
- ‘Sungold’: Prolific sweet cherry tomato with flavor. Widely available.
- ‘Cluster Grande’: Clusters of 3 inch round tomatoes on sturdy, average vines. (P)
- ‘Bellstar’: Very small paste tomato that sets fruit early and grows about 2-3 feet tall. Tapers production by the time others get going. Handles drought well. (J)
- ‘Polbig’: Early start that stays small, and sets fruit early in cool weather. Slicing tomatoes are 3–4 inches. Slows down as other tomatoes get going (J)
- ‘Tip Top’: Patio tomato can be grown in a pot with 2 inch tomatoes (P)
- Italian Heirloom: Large slicing tomato with good flavor. Handled blight well.
- Brandywine: Large slicing tomato with good flavor. Handled blight well.
- Cherokee Purple: Another large slicing tomato with beautiful purple hue.
- Amish Paste: Bit sweeter and larger than many paste varieties. First recommended by other SD gardeners. Seed came from Lancaster County, PA, Preheim’s childhood home.
- ‘Provider’: Produce consistent 5-6 inch tender green beans. (P) (J)
- ‘Jade’: Produce consistent 5-6 inch tender green beans. (P) (J)
- ‘Strike’: Produce consistent 5-6 inch tender green beans. (P)
- ‘Lollo Rossa’: Leaf lettuce, also for beauty. Curly and deep red. (P) (J)
- ‘Tom Thumb’: Small, sweet butterhead produces a full head in a short time. It can be grown in spring and be ready before the weather gets too hot. (P)
- ‘Early Scarlet Globe’: Consistent crop through all kinds of spring weather. Widely available.
- ‘Cherry Belle’: Consistent crop through all kinds of spring weather. Widely available.
- ‘Carmen’: Sweet Italian red pepper that is 4 – 6 inches long. (J)
- ‘Red Marble Cippolini’: Small, flat red 2-inch onion matures quickly. Great size for a small household and stores well (P) (J)
- ‘Diva’: Thin-skinned slicing cucumber with nice texture and flavor and grows well in South Dakota (P) (J)
- ‘Mini Gonzales’: Small cabbage matures in about 2 ½ months and needs a foot or two of space. Crowded, the heads will be a little smaller. (P)
- ‘Hansel’: Dark purple, slender eggplant, prolific when picked frequently. My favorite is Hansel. Grows a little larger than the other two. I pick them at six inches long and about 1-2 inches in diameter. (J)
- ‘Gretel’: White, small, slender eggplant. Picked frequently, they are prolific and can handle the hot summers. (J)
- ‘Fairy Tale’: Purple and white striped, small, slender eggplant varieties. Picked frequently, they are prolific and can handle the hot summers. (J)
- ‘Bright Lights’: Stems a rainbow of colors. Holds up well in South Dakota weather. Widely available.
- ‘Fordhook’: Standard variety that can take pretty cold temperatures, for early spring and late fall crop. Widely available.
- ‘Kyoto Mizuna’: For salads, deeply serrated leaves give salad mixes a lacy look. It’s easy to grow. (P) (J)
- ‘Tatsoi’: Grow in a rosette pattern with spoon shaped leaves that taste like Bok Choy. Use them like spinach fresh or cooked. (J)
- ‘Misome’: Grow in a rosette pattern with spoon shaped leaves that taste like Bok Choy. Use them like spinach fresh or cooked. (P)