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Anise-flavored basil, spicy peppers and grill-able eggplant are just some new veggie varieties to plant this spring

A wooden table top is full of vegetable seed packets.
MonaMakela/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Comb through gardening and seed catalogs now to choose and order some new seed varieties to grow this spring.

Some tips on how to comb through seed catalogs and find new varieties of vegetables to grow this year.

Looking through seed catalogs and knowing just which vegetables will fare well here can be tough. Luckily, Charlie did some growing trials last spring and summer and will share his successes!

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

So if you're looking to add some different herbs, spicy peppers, tomatoes and eggplants to your favorite dishes, try a few of these new vegetable varieties.

The first one is called an Everleaf Thai Towers basil. Expect a lot of leaves from this basil plant, as it grows to about three feet tall and one foot wide. It boasts that distinct Thai basil anise flavor and this variety doesn't flower as quickly 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's a compact spicy pepper plant that produces fruits all summer long in a very small space.

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

And you might add these gorgeous-looking heirloom tomato plants to your gardens and raised beds.

One, called the "Russian Pinocchio" tomato boasts all the regular Roma tomato characteristics, is great for making sauces and has a pointy nose and orange color.

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

Q: I have a very large indoor lemon tree that is almost 10 feet tall. Because of its size the only room that can accommodate it is our great room. This room has all east-facing windows, including two very large skylights but the tree has been losing leaves at a fast rate. Can you help? - Celeste, in Westford

A: Kudos for growing a lemon tree that large in Vermont! Though it is natural for some leaves to drop in the winter, your lemon tree does need a lot of light, especially in the winter.

And because it is challenging to get enough light during winter months here in Vermont, you could put some grow lights on it to help mitigate the leaf-drop.

Do note that it is natural for some of those leaves to drop in the winter but you want to avoid them really dropping lots of leaves.

These trees don't want a lot of water in the winter, so try to keep the potting soil on the dry side. You'll see that the leaves will hold a little bit longer.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.