Breed Your Own Vegetables
Most vegetable varieties are bred with large farms and agribusiness in mind, not the home gardener. Sooner or later as you grow more vegetables, you start wondering about saving your own seed and perhaps making your own varieties that are better adapted to your growing location.
If you are considering that route this summer, definitely check out Breed Your Own Vegetables: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Savingby Carol Deppe (Chelsea Green, 2000; $28). It provides all the basic information you'll need, crop by crop, to save seed and breed a new variety. Deppe writes in a concrete and practical style that's easy to follow. There aren't many photos or drawings in this book, just lots of information that you won't need a genetics degree to comprehend.
If you're looking to stay on top of the gardening happenings this season, check out the GreenInfo pages from the University of Massachusetts' Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Program. This Web site includes fact sheets, weekly news reports, climatic information for the Northeast, and workshop listings. There's also a discussion forum called the Greenboard, where you can post questions to be answered by professional horticulturists.