January is peruse the vegetable seed catalog month. First, I take an inventory of my leftover seed and decide what I can use again this year. When in doubt, I do a seed germination test. If less than 80 percent of the seed sample germinates, I buy fresh seed.
Then I start checking out new varieties. Each year I try some heirlooms and hybrids just for fun. Last year it was Dakota black popcorn, Tasmanian Chocolate tomatoes, and cucamelons.
Here's what I'm considering this year:
Itachi is a unique white Asian hybrid cucumber. It grows long and thin, has a small seed cavity and is not bitter. It also is parthenocarpic, meaning it doesn't need pollination to produce fruit. Another unusual white fruit is Beas kohlrabi from Northern India. This is the first white skinned kohlrabi and has a sweet, mild flavor.
Tidy Treats is a new container cherry tomato that only grow three feet tall and produces sweet red fruits all summer long. If you like Yellow Pear tomatoes, try the Midnight Pear. It has a pear tomato shape with dark purple skin and great flavor. Brulee is a one-pound, mini-butternut squash that's prolific and perfect for a one serving meal.
For something unusual, I'm trying the heirloom stem lettuce or celtuce this year. This is a lettuce that's primarily grown for its thick, edible stem. It has a sweet, nutty flavor eaten raw in salads or cooked.