Deciding what to grow in your vegetable garden can be an overwhelming task. Especially right now, when the weather is warm and you just want to get to planting. How will you ever choose which variety of tomato, kale or basil to put in your garden? The folks at Cornell Extension have a nationwide database of recommendations for gardeners, by gardeners. Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners is a great website, with reviews for particular varieties. I first heard about this project last summer at the American Horticultural Society's Youth Gardening Symposium. The project involves all levels of the community, from the gardeners to youth interviewers and data collectors. Check out the site here.
The press release from Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners says:
“It’s like an Amazon.com for vegetable varieties, only we don’t sell the seeds,” says Lori
Bushway, the Senior Extension Associate in Cornell University’s Department of Horticulture who coordinates the website. Gardeners can register at the site to rate and review their favorite vegetable varieties, as well as those that didn’t work so well for them. Anyone can visit the site to read those reviews and ratings to find varieties that will work best in their gardens.
Launched in 2004, the site has grown to include:
• More than 5,600 vegetable variety descriptions with seed sources.
• More than 3,400 reviews/ratings from more than 2,300 registered users.
• Online tools to help you find the best varieties for your garden.
“We’re calling on passionate vegetable gardeners to help us spread the word about the site and improve it by contributing more ratings and reviews,” says Bushway. “The more ratings and reviews we get, the more reliable and valuable the site becomes.” The site also links to other Cornell gardening resources, including online growing guides for more than 60 vegetable crops, and a new project, Vegetable Varieties Investigation (VVI). This intergenerational citizen science project bridges the technology divide, helping youth connect with gardeners in their community, learn survey skills, and explore biodiversity through the whimsical world of vegetable varieties.