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Romaine lettuce

Our Project

North Dakota State University (NDSU) is working with gardeners across the state to test new vegetable varieties.

Who can participate?

Everyone! All gardeners, young and old, are welcome to participate. Over 500 families participated in the last three years.

Selecting trials

One hundred and two trials are available in Spring 2013. 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 the broccoli trial, you would receive enough seeds to plant two 10-foot rows of broccoli.

Our agreement

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. Likewise, they must sow, grow, and evaluate the flowers. Gardeners must report their results to NDSU. Reports should be submitted after the first hard frost in fall.

Is it hard to evaluate varieties?

Laying out the plots is easy. You will receive planting instructions (PDF, 80 KB) along with your seeds, row markers, and a 10-foot string with your order.

NDSU is not looking for complicated data. For each trial, we simply 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 (one, both, or none) of the varieties do you recommend to other gardeners in North Dakota. Click here to see a completed evaluation form (PDF, 80 KB).

What will we do with the results?

Upon receiving the results of gardeners (typically soon after the frost), NDSU will compile the results and send a final report summary (for example, the 2012 summary (PDF, 372 KB) to all gardeners along with a certificate to recognize their valued participation. Full reports that include all data and comments from gardeners are available.

The results will be used to develop recommendations for gardeners in North Dakota (PDF, 115 KB) and distributed via University publications and broadcasts.


For more information, contact Tom Kalb, Department of Plant Sciences
Updated 5 March 2013

The catalog is in PDF format. If you have trouble downloading the document, you may need to download Adobe Reader software, a free software program. Photo credits: The banner was available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographer, allowing for adaptation, modification or building upon: Tomatoes #1 by David Restivo. The zinnias were adapted from Pretty in Pink by BlueRidgeKitties; the lettuce from Romaine Lettuce - Week 2ish by Tania Gail.

NDSU Extension Service