The arrival of spring is always an exciting time. Up here in Northern Wisconsin, the snow is (finally) starting to melt, and it won’t be long until garden and orchard work can resume.
I spend time each winter shopping through seed, garden and nursery catalogs planning which plants I want to purchase. Some tried-and-true stalwarts always make the list (Sungold tomatoes are a must), but part of the fun is experimenting with new plants and varieties.
You never know which will turn out to be massively successful.
I’m ready to roll on the tools and equipment front. I built a bunch of new garden beds last year, and my orchard deer fence is dutifully protecting my trees from hungry browsers. I have rolls of welded wire and lots of T-posts for extra garden fencing, I’m well stocked on shovels/spades/etc., and I have all the compost I need. As soon as the danger of frost is past (or in the case of bare-root plants, even sooner), I’m ready to start planting.
To share my excitement, here are five new plants I’m looking forward to trying in 2022:
Contender Peach Tree
Northern Wisconsin isn’t exactly the peach tree capital of the world, but my region falls into Zone 4 on the USDA Hardiness Zones map, which means it should be warm enough to grow Contender Peach Trees.
By planting them at the top of a hill, sheltered against the prevailing winds by rows of windbreak trees, I hope to simultaneously keep my Contender Peach Trees out of lowland frost pockets and protect them from cold winter breezes. Throw in mulching to protect their roots, and I’m optimistic they’ll survive the Wisconsin winters.
Somerset Seedless Grape
Old grape vines have grown on my farm for decades, but they produce small fruit with lots of seeds. And I’m afraid they’re more than a little sour.
That’s why I’m ready to try Somerset Seedless Grapes. They’re hardy to Zone 4, and their seedless nature is appealing. But the simple possibility of growing tasty grapes is reason enough to give them a try.
Josee Reblooming Lilac
I love lilacs, so I couldn’t pass on the chance to grow a Josee Reblooming Lilac. It’s a dwarf variety that blooms multiple times throughout the year, spreading the joy of lilac blossoms beyond the usual once-per-year window.
I already have the perfect planting spot in mind—at the corner of two intersecting paths in my orchard, where it will serve a small but attractive centerpiece. This is one of the plants I’m most excited to grow in 2022.
American Giant Hybrid Sunflower
There’s something inherently fun about growing a plant with “giant” in its name, and when the giant in question is a lovely as a sunflower, that goes double.
American Giant Hybrid Sunflowers are supposed to be capable of reaching 15 feet tall. I intend to plant mine in a wind-sheltered area, give them rich soil and plenty of water, and see how high they’ll rise.
Yukon Gem Potato
Last year, I grew a small but successful corn crop, which I’ll repeat (and expand) in 2022. For good measure, I’m planting another farming staple: potatoes, specifically Yukon Gem Potatoes.
Yukon Gem is an improved variety of Yukon Gold. And since I love eating baked potatoes, growing my own has a lot of appeal.
Which plants are you excited to try in 2022?