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Container Vegetable Variety Trials

The purpose of this program is to trial vegetables that are promoted as compact or container-bred and develop recommendations for gardeners.

Vegetable gardening has been rapidly growing in interest and popularity for the last five years. Even gardeners with little to no land have gotten into the act with container gardening. Whether on a backyard patio, deck or balcony there’s a way to grow fresh tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, greens and herbs in a small space. The demand for locally produced, highly flavored produce seems to be at the base of this movement. Consumers today want more contact with their food. In urban areas, enthusiasts send images of their gardens through Facebook and other social-networking sites.

Starting in 2008, the researcher has held container vegetable variety trials at the Penn State Southeast Research and Extension Center (SEAREC). The purpose of this program is to trial vegetables that are promoted as compact or container-bred and develop recommendations for gardeners.

Vegetables in this program are being evaluated for usable yield, container manageability and flavor. Since starting with less than 12 mixed vegetables in 2008, the program has evaluated over 300 mixed tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and squash.

This program is also hosted at the Franklin County Horticultural Center in Chambersburg, PA. Master Gardeners in the Franklin County Cooperative Extension program assist in the evaluations at that site.

One of the container tomato varieties, Sweet N’ Neat Scarlet Red, has been a consistent hit with home gardeners and greenhouse growers serving that market.

About the Researcher:
Steve Bogash is currently a Horticulture Educator serving Pennsylvania out of the Franklin County office in Chambersburg. He covers vegetables, small fruit, cut flowers, greenhouse vegetables, and specialty marketing as his primary areas of responsibility. Tomatoes, bell peppers, container vegetable, cucumbers, and other specialty crops are regular items in the trial gardens under Steve’s management.   Since 2008, Steve has been doing extensive trials on container-grown vegetables in addition to his high tunnel and field tomato evaluation program started in 2000. Evaluating more than 300 varieties of tomatoes for flavor, appearance, disease resistance and general usability has made Steve very opinionated when it comes to tomato varieties. Steve lives with his wife, Roberta and son, Joe in Newville, PA and is looking to create a vineyard and greenhouse business as a post-retirement form of entertainment.

Contact Information:
Phone:  717-263-9226
Email:  smb13@psu.edu