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Connecticut Garden Journal: From lettuce to eggplant, new vegetables to grow in 2022

Healthy white eggplants growing in its natural environment on a vegetable farm
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Charlie loves white eggplants for their mild textured skin and versatile uses in the kitchen.

New Years is usually a time I reserve for leafing through the stacks of seed catalogs I have been receiving since November. I'm always looking for some unusual or improved vegetable varieties to grow. Being in the horticultural media, I often receive trial samples of plants from growers to try out. Last year we got a few winners that I really liked in the garden.

If you're a small space gardener and you're trying to pack in as many plants as you can on a deck, patio or balcony, try 'Bauer' lettuce. This All America Selections (AAS) winner is an oak leaf type lettuce that's packed with leaves and it only grows 8 inches wide. It's perfect for containers, hanging baskets and railing planters. If you like hot peppers, but never seem to have the room, try another AAS winner, 'Pot-a-Peno' jalapeno pepper. We trialed this one last year and every time I passed it, it was setting more fruit. It consistently gave us just enough fruit to spice up a pizza. Another trial variety was a unique basil. 'Everleaf Thai Towers' grows 2- to 3-feet tall, but only 1 foot wide. It's an attractive plant in our herb/flower garden and produces an abundance of leaves. Although smaller than traditional Genovese basil leaves, this Thai basil has that strong anise taste. Plus, it was slow to flower.

We like growing a variety of different colored eggplant. That's why I like 'Icicle' eggplant. These thin, long fruits are produced in abundance on sturdy plants. I love white eggplant for the mild textured skin and versatile uses in the kitchen.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.