Thanks in part to my career as a seed trial manager and merchandiser, I've been compiling a list of favorite trial varieties (vegetables, culinary herbs and annual flowers) since around 2012. For those who are interested in viewing the entire list, please feel free to check it out via Google Sheets, using the link below:
Keep in mind that I am gardening in mid-western Ohio, on clay-rich soil, with a short unpredictable spring season, warm/hot and humid summers, and a fall season which could bring drought and temps in the 80s OR snow. Varieties that perform well for me may NOT do the same for you, especially if you are gardening in a significantly different environment. In my experience, varieties that do well for me also work in the areas circled in red on the map below (perhaps even skewing a bit further in all directions in the case of some varieties).
I would have liked to include all of my trial notes as well, but since some of that information is confidential (for the breeder's and seed company's eyes only) I was unable to include it on the Google sheet. But in general, I judge varieties on 3 main criteria:
1. Flavor/Eating Quality
2. Overall Plant Health and Vigor
It's a rare occasion where I will recommend a variety that doesn't taste delicious! In the case of ornamental plants, I'm judging based on looks & plant health.
Most of these varieties are available for sale in the United States- a quick Google search of the variety name should bring up several options for those of you who are interested in growing these for yourselves.
As always, I love to hear from you too! Any suggestions for specific varieties I should try are always welcome.
Part of the 2023 trial garden