NDSU Extension - Stark & Billings County

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Garden Variety Trials

Test garden varieties

North Dakota State University is working with gardeners across the state to test new vegetable and flower varieties.

Who can participate?

Everyone! All gardeners are welcome to participate.  We have formed a team of over 800 families during the past few years, making this one of the largest agricultural research networks in America.

Selecting trials

Forty five  trials are available this year. Households may select up to seven trials to evaluate. Each trial is a comparison of two varieties. Seed packets contain enough seeds to plant a 10-foot row of each variety. Thus, if you would choose to participate in the beet trial, you would receive enough seeds to plant two 10-foot rows of beets.

Our agreement

This project is a research program, not a seed store. Gardeners must agree to manage their seeds in a responsible manner.  They must sow, grow, harvest, and taste the vegetables. Likewise, they must sow, grow and evaluate the flowers. Gardeners must report their results to NDSU. Reports should be submitted after the first hard frost in the fall.

Is it hard to evaluate varieties?

Laying out the plots is easy. You will receive planting instructions along with your seeds, row labels, and evaluation forms with your order.

We use 10 feet as our guide to get a fair look at a variety. Persons with small gardens or container gardens may participate, but please allow for a fair look of each variety.

For each trial, we wish to know which of the two varieties germinated best, was most healthy, produced higher yields, and produced the best tasting vegetables (or best looking flowers). We wish to know which of the two varieties you prefer and which (if any) you recommend to other gardeners in North Dakota.  

What will we do with the results?

Upon receiving the results of gardeners (typically soon after the frost), NDSU will compile the results and send a final report summary to all gardeners.

For more information, please contact Tom Kalb, Department of Plant Sciences at 701-221-6865 or view the website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/homegardenvarietytrials

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