AAS Winners are Great Vegetables and Herbs to Try in your Garden

All-America Selections is an independent non-profit trialing organization established in 1932 and still going strong 92 years later! AAS trial sites and display gardens are spread across the US and Canada, including nine gardens in Iowa. Reiman Gardens is proud to be both a trial site for multiple categories and a display garden highlighting recent winners. Check out the All-America Selections website for trial and display sites, winners, blogs, and so much more! 

Be sure to visit Reiman Gardens this summer to see what’s in trials this year! You’ll see new breeding work in tomatoes, zinnias, and cosmos, but you might also fall in love again with some of the new entries in salpiglossis! Make your own evaluations and see if your favorites are announced as winners for 2025!

Here in Central Iowa, it’s just about a month to our frost-free date. We have lots of little plants growing in our greenhouse (and still quite a few in seeding trays!). 

As we get closer to those hot summer harvest days, there are a few AAS Winners I’m dreaming of.

Ocimum basilicum ‘Dolce Fresca’: This basil has it all: great taste and a great ornamental quality! Topping out at about 14”, ‘Dolce Fresca’ would be perfect for patios and tabletops, anywhere you can grab a couple leaves for a fresh addition to any dish. Judges were impressed with how this basil maintains a nice shape, even under frequent harvest. Classic basil flavor!

Capsicum annuum ‘Chili Pie’: ‘Chili Pie’ is a mini bell pepper that packs a big punch! This little pepper starts sweet and finishes with a lot of heat! If you can’t stand the heat, you don’t have to get out of the kitchen; just plant sister variety ‘Sweetie Pie’, which has the same compact overall plant size and fruit production but is purely sweet with no heat. Just don’t mix up the seeds or the rows, I’ve learned that one the hard way in trialing! 

Solanum melongena ‘Icicle’: Time for a confession: I don’t like eggplant! However, as an adult, I know it’s important to be well-rounded; every year, I try a new eggplant recipe just to see if I’ve changed my mind. ‘Icicle’ is my new go-to when I need an eggplant for my annual evaluation. ‘Icicle’ is beautiful inside and out, with few seeds and a very mild taste. The plants themselves are suitable for a larger container or great in-ground; I’ve found they rarely need to be staked, even under the weight of many fruits! Feel free to send me your favorite eggplant recipe! 

AAS Winner Ocimum basilicum 'Dolce Fresca'
Ocimum basilicum 'Dolce Fresca.' Photo by All-America Selections.
AAS Winner Capsicum annum 'Chili Pie'
Capsicum annuum 'Chili Pie.' Photo by All-America Selections.
AAS Winner Solanum melongena 'Icicle'
Solanum melongena 'Icicle.' Photo by All-America Selections.

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