By Kimberly Oxley, Research and Extension Associate
Back to Summer 2017 Newsletter
If you have thumbed through seed catalogs before, you’ve more than likely come across the All-American Selections winner logo pictured on the right. This non-profit organization is one of the oldest horticulture evaluation programs that test new or unsold cultivars to decide if they have what it takes to hit the market.
About All-America Selections
All-America Selections (AAS) began trialing flowers and vegetables in 1932. Today, there are over 80 trial sites throughout the United States and Canada. The judges are professional horticulturalists who volunteer their time and are from universities, public gardens, breeding companies, growers, brokers, extension agents, and retailers. This program is geared towards the home gardeners; however, many farmer's market growers utilize these cultivars as well.
The entries must be new to the market and compared with two or more additional cultivars already on the market. Plants are evaluated on characteristics such as earliness, taste, disease-resistance, uniqueness and more. If the results prove significant improvements over their comparisons, then that entry will be awarded as a winner. There are three types of awards: AAS Gold Medal Award (given once or twice a decade reserved for a breeding breakthrough; AAS National Winner (recognized for significant breeding achievements) and AAS Regional Winner (recognized for winners who perform well in specific regions of North America).
Trialing at K-State OHREC
Trialing at K-State OHREC begins in January when the entries and comparison seeds arrive. Planning starts immediately compiling the seeding schedule and trial location. This year, the flowers group received over 20 entries, and the vegetable group received 13. Each entry has two to three cultivars that are currently on the market to compare characteristics. Add all the entries and comparisons together; over 100 cultivars planted in the fields this season!
In addition to the trials, some entries are held over to be tested and evaluated for another season before awarded winner status. This year, there are 11 cultivars.
In addition to the entries and comparisons trialed, the research groups also receive the winners. In 2017, 24 entries were announced winners. Pictured on the right, is a 2017 AAS Winner, Okra Candle Fire F1.
So where can you find these trials at the research center this year? The edible trials will be found in the vegetable research field under shade cloth in addition to an outdoor area. The ornamental trial will be found among the flower beds next to the center.
Visit us during the OHREC Field Day on July 29th and see how the AAS Trials are progressing!