by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager
To ensure we are selling the very best seeds, we regularly grow out the same variety from different seed producers to see which is the best strain for our packets. This summer, we've grown "Cherries Jubilee" nasturtiums from two different vendors to evaluate. Now that both are in full bloom, we can see that our current Renee’s Garden selection has the characteristics that we are looking for: plants are very uniform in germination and growth habit and the pretty blossoms are super abundant, and open well above the foliage for a better massed color effect. The other test selection germinated and grew well and the flowers have good color, but the blossoms are less prominent and more hidden in the foliage. So in this case, we will definitely stay with our current seed producer for this variety.
|"Cherries Jubilee" Nasturtium - trial seed in back,|
Renee's variety in front
|The winner - profuse blossoms are set nicely above leaves|
We are also growing out our crookneck summer squash variety,"Sunny Supersett" to comparison to a newer selection of yellow crookneck squash. Our Supersett germinated very quickly with uniform, vigorous plants and abundant, early fruit set and overall it is consistent with what it should be. However, in comparing the varieties side by side, we see that the new trial variety has some very favorable differences. The little sunny squashes have more slender and graceful crooks and somewhat deeper color. Also, the stems of the squash are longer than the current Renee’s Garden variety which makes them much easier to snip from the plant. So the next step, which is always our favorite part, is to do some serious taste testing. If the flavor wins us over, then we may choose to change the variety that we offer.
Current Renee's "Sunny Supersett" squash on the right,
potential new seed on the left.
Another comparison trial is Renee’s Garden ‘Empress of India’ Nasturtium alongside another seed growers selection of the same variety. This classic Nasturtium has beautiful blue-green leaves with rich, vermilion- red flowers. Here we can see that the plants from the other vendor’s seed are small and quite stunted. With this lack of vigor, it is no question that we would stick with our current grower!
|"Empress of India" nasturtium trial:|
Note the poor quality of the test in front
compared to the Renee's variety in back.