The Ohio Home Garden Vegetable Trials are wrapping up their fourth year with growing participation across the state of Ohio. The vegetable trials were started to engage citizen scientists in evaluating vegetable varieties grown in real world conditions. The gardeners were directed to plant two varieties of a vegetable and then complete a comparison report on their successes and failures.
Each year, ten trials are offered for gardeners to select. This includes five cool-season vegetables and five warm-season vegetables. Gardeners may select to participate in up to five of the trials. They are required to plant a 10 ft. row of each variety or plant an equivalent number of plants in raised beds or containers. Growing recommendations and garden layout options are provided along with row labels and reporting sheets.
In 2021, an online reporting system was made available. Most gardeners chose to report using this method. Also in 2021, additional questions were added to the survey to find out about the gardener’s experience level and the gardening methods that were used. There were 134 participants representing 35 of Ohio’s counties. Their gardening experience ranged from 0 years to 45 years with almost equal distribution across the years. Additionally, there were a few gardeners that indicted that they had between 46 and 80 years of gardening experience.
Of the 134 participants, 68 reports were submitted. Almost 40% of the trials had a failure because of human error, wildlife issues, or weather events. Almost 30% of gardeners used no fertilizers in the garden, with an additional 26% using only compost. While most gardens were grown using traditional garden rows, many were grown in raised beds and increasing number were grown in containers.
The results and variety recommendations will be posted online so that other gardeners can access the information when they are trying to determine which varieties to grow in their own gardens. The 2021 results can be found at https://u.osu.edu/brown.6000/vegetable-trials/
Recruiting for the 2024 Trials will start on Jan.1 and will run through Feb. 15. If you would like to receive announcements about the upcoming trials, send your name and email address to Ed Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org