New England

January, 2009
Regional Report

Web Finds

Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners
Cornell University Cooperative Extension has launched a Web site, Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners, to help home gardeners. Based on a free exchange of information, this citizen science project invites home gardeners to rate how different varieties performed in their gardens. As more and more information is collected, the best vegetable varieties will begin to stand out, helping others make choices for their own gardens.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this project is that it might encourage seed companies to take into consideration the needs of home gardeners, not just commercial growers, when choosing what seeds to offer. Commercial growers value things like uniformity in size and harvest date, as well as tolerance of shipping, at least as much as taste. On this site, home gardeners can have their say.

Favorite or New Plant

Nepeta 'Walker's Low'
Named Perennial Plant of the Year for 2007 by the Perennial Plant Association, Nepeta x faassnii 'Walker's Low' is a favorite in my garden. It's not really low-growing as the name suggests, but reaches about 3 feet high, with silvery green, aromatic foliage. The blue-purple flowers attract bees and butterflies, and with some clipping once the first flush of flowers fade, you can keep it in bloom all summer. It spreads to a wide patch so give it room and a place of prominence.

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