Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners is a citizen science program

How to use this site

The concept is simple: View ratings and read reviews of vegetable varieties at this site to help decide which might perform best in your garden.

While you're visiting, contribute your own reviews and ratings to our database to share with your fellow gardeners which varieties performed best or which performed not so well for you. (You'll need to create a garden profile to rate and review vegetables.)

Just to avoid confusion, when we refer to a crop we mean a type of vegetable, such as tomatoes or beans. When we refer to a variety, we mean a type of crop, or cultivar, such as 'Brandywine' tomatoes or 'Kentucky Wonder' beans.

Topics on this page:

Benefits to Authenticated Users

Click here for a brief tutorial about the benefits of having an account with Vegetable Variety for Gardeners.

Finding varieties

Click here for a quick tutorial on how to use the search form to find varieties.

Regardless of whether you are rating varieties or reading ratings and reviews, your first step is to find the varieties. You have many options:
  1. Search boxBrowse crops. Use explore variety box located in the left sidebar of every page to see a listing of all the crops in the database. Click on a crop and search to view a list of all varieties of that crop. Best used for casting a wide net.

  2. Search crops. Use the search box located on the left side of every page. Best used for locating a particular variety or other specific information.
  3. Hint Use the crop drop down of the search box without any other selected criteria to display all varieties of that crop.

Tip: The default search ("All") looks for each word of the entered phrase in the variety name, crop name and variety description fields. Use the 'in' drop down box to restrict the search to either the crop name, variety, or description field.

For example, searching the crop name field for "tomatoes" will return all the tomato varieties and maybe some other crops that reference tomatoes in their description. Or if you want to find crops that are resistant to verticillium, try searching the variety descriptions for "verticillium."

Tip: The results page supplies summaries of each variety, including Overall Rating (1 to 5 stars), Days to Maturity (usually a range because catalogs don't always agree; NA = not available), and a brief description.

Click on the variety name for more detailed information.

Limiting results

Registered users will have the option to limit search results by their gardens state or frost-free season. You will need to login to use this feature. Once you are logged in you will see additional search criteria in the search menu with these options.

Reading reviews

Click here for a quick tutorial on how to read details and reviews of varieties.

When you click on a variety name on the search results page, you go to that varietyís profile page. There, you will find additional information, including:
  • Taste ratings (1 to 5 stars)
  • Yield ratings (1 to 5 stars)
  • Ease ratings (how easy and reliable this variety is to grow; 1 to 5 stars)
  • Number of reviews
  • Seed sources (mail order companies that sell seed)
Drop down box for ordering reviews.Below this information are additional comments and reviews from fellow gardeners who have rated the variety. When you first view them, they are sorted with the most recent review listed first. But you can use the drop down box (right) to sort them other ways that may be more helpful for you.

Tip: After you read a review, click on yes or no to indicate whether or not the review was helpful. That way, gardeners can sort the reviews so that the most useful ones will rise to the top.

Tip: Note where the reviewers are from. If you garden in the Adirondacks, you might put more stock in reviews from nearby gardeners as opposed to those in Long Island. Click on the reviewers name and you can view their profile and learn more about their gardens and what other varieties they recommend. You must create a profile and be logged in to read additional information about other gardeners. (See below.)

Create your profile to rate varieties

Before you can rate varieties, you need to create a profile. It's quick and easy. Here are a few tips:
  • Your screen name is what will appear as the "signature" to your reviews, along with your county. You can use your real name if you want, or a fictitious one if you want to maintain some anonymity.
  • If your garden is outside of the United States or Canada, leave the county blank.
  • Remember that you will use your email (not your screen name) to log in.
  • If you are a Vvi group leader, the youth of your groups will also use your email address to log in however they will not use your password. They will use a passcode you assign to the group.
In addition to the required fields, please also fill out the rest of the profile information. Gardeners who read your reviews will be able to view your profile so that they can detemine if their gardening conditions are similar to yours. You may also view ratings limited to certain garden characteristics because of this feature. For example, you might view ratings only from gardeners who have the the same growing season that you have.

Be sure to check the box if you would like to receive occasional updates via email about new features at the site and other site news. We will email no more than one per month at the most. (We donít like spam either.) And we will keep your email private. (We have only sent a mass emailing once in the last 5 years)

We will also keep your demographic information private, and only use it in aggregate. We hesitate to ask for this information, however we beleive it is important to ensure that we accomplish our project goals.

Some tips:
  • Click on My Profile in the header to edit your information. Here you can also subscribe or unsubscribe to the email updates if you change your mind.
  • If you don't know your average frost-free season, use this New York map or national map to estimate your growing season.
  • If you're not sure of your soil texture and want to find out, see this factsheet page 8 or try this settling test.

Rating varieties

You must be registered and logged in to rate varieties.

After you register and log in, you need to find the variety you would like to rate. (Tips for searching or browsing for varieties above.)

Click on the variety name on the search results page to go to the profile page.

Click on the review variety link to go to the review submission page to provide a review and various ratings of the variety from 5 stars (best) to one star (worst).

Tip: Overall, taste and yield ratings are self-explanatory. But what about ease/reliability? If a variety is dependable for you, easy to grow, not overly vulnerable to pests or diseases, and one that you might recommend to an inexperienced gardener, rate it high. If a crop is relatively difficult to grow, performs erratically, and you would hesitate to recommend it to an inexperienced gardener, rate it low.

Use the provided review text box to write a review of your experience with this variety or make comments about the variety. Please do not feel like you need to write a comprehensive guide to growing the crop. Instead, use the space to pass along key information or growing tips other gardeners might want to know. Feel free to share any growing, storing, cooking or harvesting tips or anything else about the variety to make the review useful to the next gardener.

For example:
  • "This tomato is great for salads and sauces, but plants need staking."
  • "Doesn't yield very well, but the flavor is so good that it's worth the effort."
  • "Only melon I've grown that ripens in our short season. But I wouldn't grow it without using black plastic mulch."
Note that the form automatically fills in your screen name and county.

You may add to or edit your previously entered reviews from the My Varieties page. We encourage adding to a review of a variety from year to year if the garden conditions used to grow the variety from year to year do not chang.

Now you can search or browse for another variety to rate.

Click on My Varieties in the page header to view varieties you've rated grouped by crop. If you make a mistake or change your mind, click on Edit Rating or Delete Rating to change or remove your ratings and reviews.

Adding a new variety

If you can't find the variety you want to rate in our database, you can add a new one.

Tip: Please doublecheck to make sure the variety you're looking for is not in the database. If you misspell the variety in the search box, you may not find it. Try browsing crops without searching for a specific variety name to ensure it is not entered before you add a new entry.

After you've exhausted your search for the variety, click on the Add A Variety link at the bottom of the search results page. Complete the form on that page (including the name of the company where you can buy seed and the url for their website) and click on submit.

Your addition won't be immediately available on the website. We are notified by email that you've added a variety. But then we need to approve your addition before it becomes part of the database. We don't provide 24/7 coverage, and in fact sometimes are away from our desks, out of town or on vacation. We will notify you by email when your variety is added and ready for you to rate and review.

Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners is a citizen science program, © 2004-2024, All Rights Reserved
Cornell Garden Based Learning, Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Horticulture Section