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Many growers have found that adding top-selling vegetable classes like tomatoes and peppers to their ornamentals assortment boosts sales and adds product diversity. Try compact, but super productive, Red Robin.

Sakata Home Grown Presents: Vegetables 101

Guidance for Greenhouse Growers and Garden Center Retailers


Due to expanding consumer interest in cooking and vegetable gardening, now is the time to add or expand a vegetable line.

Many growers have found that adding top-selling vegetable classes like tomatoes and peppers to their ornamentals assortment boosts sales and adds product diversity. Due to expanding consumer interest in cooking and vegetable gardening, now is the perfect time to add a vegetable line. But where do you begin? Tomatoes, peppers, herbs, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and cool season varieties are a good start. Consider the recommendations below.

  • MATCH YOUR TOMATO CHOICES to the consumers you are targeting. There are almost as many tomato varieties as there are gardeners! If you sell plants into a rural or suburban area where people have more space, then 6-packs of traditional indeterminate (tall, continuously setting) tomato plants are a must. If your customers are more likely to have only decks or balconies to work with you want to be sure to include shorter, earlier determinate plant types. In a fairly traditional market you’ll need beefsteak and red cherry fruit types. A more experimental consumer will be interested in more diverse fruit colors and shapes. Try adding Sweet Treats pink cherry tomato – the winner of taste-tests across America.
  • PEPPERS ARE A MUST and every good vegetable line needs a great green-to-red bell pepper like Red Bull. Large fruit and early maturity are big selling points for gardeners. Jalapenos are pretty standard in most parts of the country (salsa sales passed up ketchup a few years back). Look for an early variety that sets well, fruit should be large and have a thick wall. Jalafuego fits the bill and is the hottest on the market! Snacking peppers or mini sweet bells are a popular trend right now. Poblanos are mildly hot peppers that are easy to grow and used fresh in chili, filled with cheese and baked or preserved for winter use.
  • MANY HOME GARDENERS LOOK FOR HERBS. Herbs found in stores are never as fresh and flavorful as those grown at home and eaten right after harvest. Basil, dill, cilantro and parsley are some of the most popular. Healthier looking plants given a little extra time to mature will sell the best. Herbs are a popular container item, many consumers will pay a few dollars more for a larger pot that they won’t need to transplant.
  • INSTANT GRATIFICATION! Crops like pumpkin, squash, cucumber and melon are easy to grow from seed but many gardeners prefer the instant gratification they get from a plant. Many plants in this category need other plants for pollen so sell them in 4 or 6-pack pots. Urban gardeners will want bush- type smaller plants while consumers with more space will be more concerned about fruit size and set. These types of plants grow very quickly so they won’t require as much lead time as the peppers and tomatoes. They can get tall and leggy fast so plan a few extra sowing dates or try a few sample plants to test timing. 
  • FOR A WELL-ROUNDED PRODUCT LINE you’ll want to include some cool-season crops. Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are popular transplant items. These crops are slow to mature in the cool fall or spring months so your customers will appreciate the head start healthy plants will give them. To further enhance your cool season line, spinach, kale, lettuce and arugula are easy additions. Look for “bolt-tolerant” or “bolt-resistant” varieties to ensure your customers have the most successful harvest.

For a COMPLETE VEGGIE Line-Up, try these:

  • Arugula Adagio
  • Basil Italian Large Leaf
  • Broccoli Green Magic
  • Cabbage Crystal Vantage
  • Cauliflower Majestic
  • Cilantro Santo
  • Cucumber Tasty Green
  • Dill Dukat
  • Jalapeno Pepper Jalfuego
  • Kale Blue Ridge
  • Lettuce Vulcan
  • Melon Lilliput
  • Mini Peppers Yes to Yellow, Right On Red, Orange You Sweet
  • Parsley Dark Green Italian
  • Pepper Red Bull
  • Poblano Pepper Caballero
  • Pumpkin Hijinks
  • Spinach Tyee
  • Squash Prime Star
  • Squash Tivoli
  • Tomato Red Pride
  • Tomato Supremo
  • Tomato Sweet Million
  • Tomato Sweet Treats
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