FARGO — There’s a reason I look forward to January every year. It’s when the new All-America Selections award-winning flowers and vegetables are announced, and it’s exciting.

All-America Selections is the only national nonprofit in North America that tests new varieties of flowers and vegetables. AAS started in 1932 as a way for home gardeners to learn which of the many new varieties introduced each year actually are “new and improved,” and not just advertised as such. If a new variety is awarded AAS winner status, we can be reasonably assured that it’s well worth planting.

Through the years, the list of winners includes some heavyweights that became household names, like Purple Wave Petunia (1995), Sugar Snap Pea (1979), Straight Eight Cucumber (1935) and Celebrity Tomato (1984). A winner from last year, Yellow Duck Marigold, was one of the all-time best marigolds I’ve ever grown.

Here are the 2020 winners with descriptions by the All-America Selections judging team.

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at kinzlerd@casscountynd.gov or call 701-241-5707.