Vegetable Varieties For North Dakota

          Last week I mentioned the NDSU Home Garden Variety Trials project. This week I want to tell you a little more about it.

          NDSU Extension Horticulturist Tom Kalb has led the North Dakota Home Garden Variety Trials since 2008. The project allows gardeners from across the whole state to participate and contribute to a database evaluating old favorites and potential new varieties. In 2022 gardeners at 287 sites representing 43 counties and extending into Minnesota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota submitted data from 1211 research trials. These trials were tabulated and the results can be found in the “North Dakota Home Garden Variety Trials: Results 2022”.

          This publication and results from previous years can be found at

          Data from multiple years of these results have been used to produce the publication “Vegetable Cultivars for North Dakota – 2022”.

          Would you like to participate? All gardeners are welcome to participate. This includes young and old, experts and beginners, commercial growers, and backyard gardeners. Over 200 families participate in these trials every year. The program is focused on North Dakotans but will work with gardeners of adjacent states/provinces who live near North Dakota. Households may select up to eight trials. 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 a red radish trial, you would receive enough seeds to plant two 10-foot rows of red radishes. 

          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. Gardeners must report their results to NDSU. Reports should be submitted after the first hard frost in the fall.

          Is it hard? Laying out the plots is easy. You will receive planting instructions along with your seeds, row markers, and evaluation forms with your order. Ten feet is used 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.  NDSU is not looking for complicated data. 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.

          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. Summaries and full reports will be available on the results page listed above.

          The 2023 participants’ seed catalog should be ready in late February. A link requesting the catalog can be found on the Home Garden Variety Trials web page at