Your goal when selecting varieties is to find those that will perform best in yourgarden. By using some of these proven techniques, you can make variety selection easy andfun. Begin early. Conduct your own scaled-down variety evaluation. Gardeners enjoy talking about their gardens, especially bragging on the high-yielding, high- quality varieties they’ve discovered. A visit with them in their garden during the garden season can prove especially helpful. See for yourself what looks the best to you. The best time to start selecting varieties for the next gardening season is the previous gardening season. Pay close attention to the varieties you plant, and make notes on their performance. Outstanding varieties this year may well be the best varieties for next year. But you will need records, particularly variety name and the seed source. It’s amazing the number of calls county extension agents get from gardeners saying: “Those beans I planted last year were the best ever, but I don’t remember the name of that variety. Help!” Seed catalogs have pictures of some of the most beautiful vegetables you will ever see. In addition, they offer volumns of variety information. Just remember, some seed companies may be biased toward their own varieties. In searching for the best varieties for your garden, find those varieties that havegood disease resistance, yield well and produce high quality vegetables. With a littleeffort, keen eyes, open ears and an open mind, you can select the very best varieties foryour garden. Make your next garden the best garden ever. Get a head start with the best varieties. Call your local countyextension office. A nearby, unbiased source of information is your county extension office. County agents can provide published information on vegetable varieties. In many cases, they may know from experience some of the best varieties for your area. Check out seed catalogs. One of the best “hands-on” ways to learn about vegetable varieties is to try a few appealing varieties in your garden. If your garden is small, you can dedicate a few feet of row to new, interesting varieties. If you have a large garden, one or more rows can be used for trying out new varieties. Don’t forget, for variety evaluations to be very helpful, you must keep good records. How bountiful will your garden harvest be this spring? You can’t be certain since you can’t predict the kind of growing season we’ll have. Butyou can be certain that the better-adapted the varieties you plant, the better yourchances of reaping a bountiful harvest.Identifying the best varieties for your garden is one of the most crucial gardeningtasks you face. How do you go about selecting the best varieties? First, let’s clarify the terms. Both “variety” and “cultivar” arecommonly seen in print. Although in the strictest botanical sense, cultivar and varietyhave slightly different meanings, they are often used synonymously in the popular press. Because most seed catalogs and gardeners prefer to use “variety,” we willtoo. As used here, variety means a group of plants that are so alike they can be easilydistinguished from other groups of plants within the same species.Varieties may have different maturity dates; fruit sizes, shapes and colors; adapt tospecific environments or other fruit or plant characteristics. Discuss varieties with gardening friends and neighbors.