From the Ground Up Blog

2023 Short Crops & Recommended Substitutes

Below are some of our bestselling products with late arrival or short supply for the 2023 season, along with our suggested alternatives for your consideration. We appreciate your understanding and adaptability and welcome you to contact us for any other recommendations or questions.

What Are Short Crops?

Like all aspects of agriculture, seed production is subject to the same pressures of weather, pests and diseases, logistics, and perishable products. Unfortunately, this can result in situations where new seed crops are delayed, the supply is less than anticipated, or the seed is unable to be sold. These situations are what the industry refers to as late crops, short crops, or crop failures, respectively.

Why Do Crops Fail?

Crop failures can be caused by delays in seed processing due to poor weather conditions or logistical issues like transportation and labor shortages, poor crop yields due to weather or pest pressures, or low-quality products that cannot be sold due to low germination rates or the presence of viruses. Typically these situations are not anticipated and require an industry-wide shift to alternative products with good supply and seed quality.

Harris Seeds recognizes that our growers depend on the quality and reliability of the products they choose, and we want to help ease any concerns about selecting the best substitutes for items that are unavailable.

Review some of our most popular pumpkin and corn short crops below along with our recommended alternatives:

Short Crop: Pumpkin Kratos

100 day 20-30 lb. Jack-o-lantern with Powdery Mildew Protection

Recommended Substitutes:

Kratos Pumpkin Substitutes

Gladiator >

Gladiator pumpkin
The same classic Harris Moran stem, color, and appearance with reliable uniformity and Powdery Mildew Protection. Gladiator matures around 15 days later than Kratos and can be slightly smaller at 20-25 lbs.

Big Doris >

Big Doris pumpkin
A large jack-o-lantern with the same maturity and Powdery Mildew Protection. Big Doris reaches a slightly larger average size of 28-30 lbs., has strong stems, and a more upright shape than Kratos. Performs better than Kratos in tighter plantings.

Justify >

Justify pumpkin
A large jack-o-lantern with the same maturity and Powdery Mildew Protection. Justify can be slightly smaller at 20-25 lbs. and has a more upright shape and burnt orange color than Kratos.

Bayhorse Gold > 

Bayhorse Gold pumpkin
A large jack-o-lantern with the same maturity and Powdery Mildew Protection. Bayhorse Gold has a similar deep orange color and uniform appearance as Kratos but can be slightly smaller at 15-20 lbs. average. Larger 30-count fruit size can be achieved with wider spacing.


Short Crop: Sweet Corn Kate

77 day bicolor supersweet with large ear and high sweetness, resistance to Rust

Recommended Substitutes:

Kate Sweet Corn Substitutes

Flagler >

Flagler corn

A supersweet bicolor with the same maturity, agronomic performance, and Rust resistance as Kate, Flagler has a slightly longer ear and a similar husk and kernel appearance. It will be slightly less sweet, but comparable in tenderness, quality, and field-holding ability.

Troubadour XR >

Troubador corn

A high-quality supersweet bicolor from the IFSI ReserveTM line-up, Troubadour XR has the same maturity and Rust resistance as Kate. Troubadour XR will have a longer, more slender ear, more tender and refined kernel than Kate, and excellent flavor with a balanced sweetness.

Crave >

Crave Corn

Crave is a supersweet bicolor with later maturity and comparable ear appearance to Kate. It does not carry resistance to Rust, but offers a good husk package and high eating quality for the late season slot. It will be slightly less sweet than Kate with a similar kernel quality and appearance.

Epiphany >

Epiphany corn

Epiphany is two days earlier than Kate and has a stronger disease package that includes Rust, NCLB, and MDMV. The ear is more slender with more refined kernel appearance and comparable texture and eating quality, though a more balanced sweetness.


Short Crop: Sweet Corn Vision MXR

73 day yellow supersweet with high eating quality, resistance to Rust and MDMV

Recommended Substitutes:

Vision Sweet Corn Substitutes

Icon XR >

Sweet corn Icon

Maturing at 72 days and offering Rust resistance, Icon XR has comparable agronomic traits as Vision MXR. Both are part of the IFSI ReserveTM line-up with excellent eating quality, tenderness and sweetness.

XTH1273 >

XTH1273 corn

XTH1273 matches Vision MXR in maturity and quality with IFSI ReserveTM tenderness and sweetness. While it does not carry disease resistance, it offers an attractive husk package and reliable agronomics.

Summer Celebration >

Summer Celebration corn

Maturing slightly later than Vision MXR at 74 days, Summer Celebration has a slightly shorter and wider ear, and resistance to MDMV only. It has excellent eating quality and sweetness with slightly less tenderness than Vision MXR.

Candice >

Candice Corn

A high quality yellow supersweet that matures just after Vision MXR at 74 days, Candice has a slightly shorter and wider ear and excellent eating quality with slightly less tenderness. While it does not carry disease resistance, it offers an attractive husk package and reliable agronomics.


Garden Staple Crops

Garden Staple Crops

It is garden planning time! Gardeners are always excited to try new things and there is always room for the newest striped hot pepper or chocolate colored cherry tomato, but it is important to remember the common garden staple crops that are important to have and enjoy in your garden. 

Planting staple crops for you and your family is what will save you the most money in the grocery store and add the value of freshness and flavor you can’t find in a store.  

What makes a staple crop?  

  1. You should like them enough to eat them on a regular basis. For example, I don’t like dried beans. I will plant multiple varieties of green beans and pole beans, but not dried beans. 

  2. The plants should have good yield. It’s great to try new things, but if I plant Lewis beans every year because I know I can pick beans every few days in the summer and always get a bumper crop. 

  3. They should be easy for you to plant and grow without a lot of trouble. Some parts of the country have different issues. If moisture is an issue in your area, you won’t want to grow crops that are susceptible to downy mildew. 

  4. They should be easy to store and last in storage. That means easy to freeze, can, dehydrate or store in a cool dark basement. 

  5. They should be dense with calories and nutrition. Lettuce is great, but by itself, it isn’t the best crop to keep your belly full and satisfied. 

 Here is a list of 10 common garden staples: 

  1. Potatoes
    Potatoes are one of the most versatile crops you can grow in your garden. Potatoes give you the greatest number of calories in the least amount of space. They are easy to plant and harvesting them is like going on treasure hunt. Kids always love to dig potatoes, so make it a family affair. Sweet Potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can grow in your garden. They are frequently thought of as a southern plant, but they can be grown in the north, you just have to do a little more research to find the right varieties. 

    Seed Potatoes

  2. Corn
    Most of us know that corn was grown by Native Americans who depended on it as a staple crop. It is one of the easiest crops to grow, but you need to make sure you have ample room and plant enough seeds to pollinate. To grow enough to freeze or can, and to increase your chance of full ear success, consider planting
    at least 100 seeds in a block of rows. 

    Sweet Corn

  3. Beans
    Both dried beans and green beans are a staple in most gardens. With vertical gardening, you can get a lot of yield out of a small space of dried pole beans. And green beans can be harvested every few days for several weeks once the beans have set on the plants. And beans come in so many great colors and styles.


  4. Cabbage
    Nothing beats a hearty cabbage soup in the dead of winter. Cabbage grows well into the fall months and has incredible storage capabilities. Don’t forget making sauerkraut, that’s one of the traditional ways to store cabbage long term. You can also freeze whole cabbage heads or make up your cabbage rolls and freeze them for winter eating. 


  5. Garlic
    The best gardens take a lot of planning and included in that plan should be garlic. It is easy to grow, harvest, and dry and it does not take up a lot of room in the garden or in storage.  It is versatile for cooking and for medicinal purposes, so why not add it to your own garden?


  6. Greens
    Some type of greens should be on your list of garden staples. Kale and collards belong to the cabbage family, so they can handle growing into the later, cooler months and can even stay in your garden past the frost date if you can cover them when the temperatures dip. Greens as a staple crop should also be a variety that you can cut and come back again for more. Greens are great as season extenders both in early spring and late season as well.


  7. Carrots
    Although they can be tricky to grow for inexperienced gardeners, once you get the hang of keeping the soil moist for germination, they will become a garden staple. Extend your harvest by planting more every 2-3 weeks and store them with your other long term storage crops after harvesting if you aren’t freezing or preserving them otherwise. 


  8. Onions
    Onions are a must grow if you want to be a self-sufficient gardener. Onions may not be considered a staple crop by some because they are not eaten alone but consider how bland your food would be without onions. Growing onions is far easier than you may think, and they store well without too much difficulty, just be sure to grow the types that are listed for storing.


  9. Tomatoes
    Tomatoes may not be considered a staple crop by some because they don’t have the long-term storage aspect, but look at the options for preserving them, and you can grow a lot of tomatoes in a small space. Homemade soups, sauces, paste and just diced and canned are all amazing options for excess tomatoes.


  10. Winter Squash
    Last, but certainly not least, winter squash is a favorite staple. So many options here, how could you go wrong? Winter squash is hearty, stores well, and is rich in fiber and vitamins A and C. In a root cellar, winter squashes have been known to last up to a year without going bad, but it is not recommended to store them that long. The most popular squashes are pumpkin, butternut, acorn, Hubbard, and some kabocha varieties.  Summer squash does not store well but can be processed and preserved but that requires a little more work.  Growing winter squash also requires more space in your garden, but some can be trellised, and you can look for varieties that grow on bush type plants instead of vining types.

    Winter Squash

If you have not started planning your garden, be sure to remember these options in yours or add your own depending on your personal list of favorites.  

Now let’s get growing! 


Sunflowers for Ukraine: Harris Seeds Donates $20,000 to Ukrainian Relief Efforts

Sunflowers for Ukraine: Harris Seeds Donates $20,000 to Ukrainian Relief Efforts

Beginning in March 2022, Harris Seeds assisted in the Ukrainian relief effort through a new campaign, Sunflowers for Ukraine.  

Through the campaign, which ran for the entire month of March before picking back up mid-April, Harris Seeds has donated 100% of proceeds from their online Sunflowers for Ukraine collection to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine due to the Russian Invasion.  

“Hearing what’s been happening and seeing the stories has been heartbreaking for everyone here,” said Kendall Brittingham, Harris’ Marketing Director. “A lot of growers and gardeners come to us for their flowers, so we felt it would be a great fit. It symbolizes more than just a beautiful flower. Now it’s symbolizing the strength and hope of the people of Ukraine.”  

The idea for the campaign was generated during a brainstorming meeting, where Harris Seeds’ Germination Lab Manager noted that sunflowers have become the unofficial flower of Ukraine. From there, the campaign materialized quickly and was officially launched on March 10. Since the release of the campaign, Harris Seeds has donated over $20,000 dollars in humanitarian aid. 

In May 2022, the campaign took on new legs with the specialized Sunflowers for Ukraine packet which was available on the Harris Seeds app and website. The company donated over $2,000 to Ukrainian humanitarian aid from these packet sales.

Sunflowers for Ukraine Packet


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