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How to Choose Vegetable Varieties?

January 14, 2017

Seed catalogues in your mail box.  Seed racks in garden centers.  How do you decide what to grow in your garden?  Or do you want to get a jump on learning about vegetable plants that will be available this spring in your garden center?

The first thing I do is look at my vegetable garden journal from last year.  This is a calendar where I noted what I planted, when I planted, how much I planted, what we liked, when it frosted, etc.  I then select one or two varieties of each vegetable from my journal that I know did well.  Next, I like to try one new variety of our favorite veggies each year.  So I make my selection of these varieties we are going to try from the seed catalogue descriptions or from a list of recommended vegetable varieties for my state.  To find out vegetable varieties for your state do a web search using key words like:  vegetable variety recommendations (insert your state).  For example, click here to see the recommendations from the Extension Service here in Georgia.

To research vegetable plant varieties a great place to start is the Bonnie Plant website (click here).

When it comes to “what to plant” in our vegetable garden, we learned long ago that it is hard to go wrong with “All America Selections”.  Every year since 1933, the best of the best new seed introductions that have proven themselves in variety trials, get this “All America” designation.

Check out our harvest of Carmen Seet Peppers - An "All America Selection" from 2006

Check out our harvest of Carmen Sweet Peppers – An “All America Selection” from 2006

For example, we love Carmen Pepper (2006 selection), Sugar Snap Pea (1979 selection), Melody Spinach (1977 selection), Buttercrunch Bibb Lettuce (1963 selection), Premium Crop Broccoli (1975 selection) and Gypsy Pepper (1981 selection) to name just a few of our favorites.

And for all you flower lovers, there are probably even more flowers that have been recognized as All America Winners.  For example, Purple Wave Petunia was a 1992 selection.

Click here to go to the “All America Selection Winners” website. (When you are on the site, there is a pull down menu to access the yearly winners for both vegetables and flowers or a listing by vegetable type.)

Most of the time these All America Winners are identified in seed catalogues and on plant tags as having won this distinction.

Most of the time these All America Winners are identified in seed catalogues and on plant tags as having won this distinction.

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