Home gardeners can test varieties for Extension

Published 1:55 pm Saturday, November 13, 2021

By Nathan Gregory

MSU Extension Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi home gardeners have an opportunity to participate in vegetable research next year.

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is looking for 80 participants statewide to enter its 2022 Home Vegetable Variety Trial. Mississippi Master Gardeners, home gardeners and garden club members are encouraged to apply. Trial plants will include different varieties of cucumbers, peppers, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables.

Each trial will contain two varieties of six crops each to compare during the growing season. Participants will receive enough seed of each variety for 10 row feet of garden space. Plot labels, an evaluation form, data-taking instructions, and planting and growing instructions will be included. Selected participants will grow the varieties, record the requested data and return the information to MSU Extension. Data categories will include taste, germination rate, highest yield, disease resistance and first variety to produce.

“Extension specialists can research new plant varieties at current facilities, but including citizens increases its ability to test varieties across the state,” said Reid Nevins, MSU Extension agent in Lowndes County. “Having home gardeners throughout the state participate helps Extension learn which varieties perform best. This can provide valuable data to determine which varieties are more adapted, more productive and most preferred by Mississippi gardeners.”

Participants will be selected evenly throughout the state from applications to provide trials. Everyone selected will be notified by email in December. Seeds and other materials will be mailed to the applicant’s county Extension office by late February for pickup.

To receive a copy of the application form, email Nevins at ran18@msstate.edu. The form has two options with different sets of plant varieties. The application must be returned to the address on the form by Nov. 30.

Each option costs $10. Participants not selected for the trial will have checks returned.